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Jonathan Cluett, M.D.

Walking Boots

By January 26, 2008

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Tom Brady, Super Bowl bound quarterback for the New England Patriots, has made the walking boot a famous site. What is a walking boot?

A walking boot is a way to immobilize the ankle joint, and is an alternative to a cast. A walking boot is useful in patients who have injuries that can tolerate weight being placed on the extremity, but would benefit from immobilization of the joint. Common injuries where a walking boot may be useful include:

No one wants to say what Tom Brady's injury involves, but everyone seems to think that the use of a walking boot is a way to try to quickly settle down the inflammation associated with a relatively minor injury. What do you think the injury might be? Leave your comments below!

Image © Ashok Rodrigues

Comments
May 5, 2008 at 1:28 pm
(1) Britt P says:

I’m thinking a stress fracture…

August 31, 2008 at 5:12 pm
(2) lorena says:

I was told I\m going to have a walking boot after a triple arthodesis….is this boot the one that they use?
thanks,
Lorena

September 2, 2008 at 7:08 pm
(3) orthopedics says:

There are different types of walking boots, but this is a common one, and looks like most other walking boots.

Regards,

Jonathan Cluett, MD

September 8, 2008 at 7:03 pm
(4) Marilee says:

I had surgery last week on my foot to remove a cist from the bone on the outside of my left foot. In the process,the surgeon had to remove 60% of the tendon to get the entire cist out. I can’t put any weight on the foot for about 10 days and I understand I will have to have a walking boot or cast for four weeks. Would you comment on this injury and the repair of the tendon (seriousness) and the benefit of the boot re the cast?

September 9, 2008 at 10:11 pm
(5) orthopedics says:

In general, a walking boot and a cast provide similar immobilization. A cast may be used if the immobilization must not be removed (usually in the setting of a fracture), or if the patient must not place any weight on the extremity (a cast is lighter weight). In most other cases, a walking boot is an option that you can discuss with your doctor.

Regards,

Jonathan Cluett, MD

November 27, 2008 at 3:31 pm
(6) Daniel says:

I think your site is very good and complete, but the information you have here,

November 27, 2008 at 5:10 pm
(7) Becky says:

It’s a very good site !! Very nice work, admin :) Good luck !,

January 28, 2009 at 2:40 pm
(8) Justin says:

My doctor advised me not to use a walking boot to help recover from a high ankle sprain. He said that it’s an outdated practice. Is that true? Or is it still a recommended treatment option?

June 15, 2009 at 9:58 am
(9) Donnie Howard says:

I have posterior Tibialis Tendonitis from running. Would a walking boot speed my recovery?

July 19, 2009 at 6:25 pm
(10) alexis says:

I recently broke my 5th metatarsal and have had a cast on for 6 weeks. Next week I will be getting that off and switching to a short pro walker boot. Will I be able to put weight on that or am I still going to be stuck on crutches?

December 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm
(11) jordan says:

i broke my ankle and they put a screw in it and i was wondering what kind of walking cast would i be in i have been in a hard cast for a month and i go to a walking cast for two months
i was also wanting to know when can i start playing basket ball for my school team again

December 18, 2009 at 4:30 pm
(12) Evam says:

I was diagnosed with stress fractures in my sesamoid bones about 6 months ago and they still have not healed even after avoiding weight-bearing activities above walking. I am wondering, could the use of a walking boot act as a non-weight-bearing method of treatment and aid in the healing process?

February 17, 2010 at 9:14 pm
(13) Dr. Dre says:

It must be from a headache. Believe it or not, walking boots are directly correlated with headache relief.

April 3, 2010 at 6:22 pm
(14) Sandy says:

Question: should a person wear a tensor under the walking boot? What benefits or issues would you see with that?

May 12, 2010 at 12:20 am
(15) mary says:

i broke two bones in my ankle two weeks ago i had my herman munster boot put on today, it allows me to walk more normally with some help of just one crutch, it also allows me to put some pressure on the ankle without accidentally moving the ankle or hurting it i have to keep this on for about six weeks, its pretty comfortable

October 16, 2010 at 9:54 pm
(16) mike says:

if i have a stress fracture in my right foot on the right side, can i walk on it if i have a walking boot? my doctor gave me a walking boot but i still have to use crutches when i wear the boot

February 7, 2011 at 2:21 pm
(17) Mickey says:

does anyone know if nurses, like at school, have walking boots? I really need one.

February 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm
(18) JAMIE KAY says:

I am in a walking cast because of plantar fasciitis. I am so frustrated and in pain all the time. I am overweight and I do have high arches. I have gotten two different cortosione shots. Had relief but it came back.
I have been dealing with this on and off for 2 years now. It all of a sudden came on and left briefly and came back on and off. I am so hoping this boot works. But honestly I am scared. Scared because if it doesn’t then what? I just want to feel beter. Help! :(

February 23, 2011 at 12:48 pm
(19) hilary y says:

I have had tibial tendinitis since last jan.I continued playing tennis,running ,etc until the pain got so bad doing a triathlon in June where it hurt every step>i gave yp running then.In Aug. i gave up tennis,I was put in a boot for 2 weeks,then a cast for 3 1/2 weeks.The tendon was still sore and red when the cast came off. I tried P.T. for 2-3 mo. which helped a little.I really tried rewsting,no running only yoga swimming til Xmas.I then got a shot of cortisone which finally relieved the pain for 5 weeks.I then worked out hard climbing stairs for 1/2 hr.Pain came back.The Dr. said I could have another shot of cort.but I’m reluctant since this masks the pain.I am ready to try accupunture since I’m at the end of my rope.I have really done what the Dr.s suggested and it’s still there.I will be reffing lacrosse in a month and need to get back on th field.Hs anyone heard of this going on this long?Do you think accupunture will work?It worked on me 13 yrs ago when I had severe hip tendinitis when nothing else did.I know I’m active but I just want to get better .Right noiw I only swim and walk my dog.Is this too much?I Any suggestions??HELP.

April 9, 2011 at 12:21 am
(20) Mare says:

After knee replacement therapy, developed tendinitis on the ankle. Aleve and walking boot worked like a miracle in relieving the pain and inflammation. Highly recommend these boots.

May 4, 2011 at 7:51 pm
(21) Tiffany R says:

Hi, I got the results from my MRI today, and I found our I have a mild bone marrow edema involving the medial malleolus,

a moderate sprain with partial tear of the posterior tibiotalar ligament,

a tear of the anterior talofubular ligament,

and mild sprain of the calcaneofibular ligament.

My doctor asked if weightbearing got any better, and I told her that it didn’t, and that I will be sitting down doing absolutely nothing, and pain will shoot down my foot and up my leg. It is from an ankle sprain 3 months ago. I called in requesting a walking boot, and was wondering if it would be a possibility that they would approve it.

June 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm
(22) Maria says:

Would this be a better alternative to orthotics if you have tibial tendonitis? If so, where/how can I go about purchasing? Please let me know asap. I’ve been trying to stay off my feet, surgery is not an option! Any/all info would be greatly appreciated! Best, Maria

June 12, 2011 at 11:33 am
(23) Katie says:

I have had posterior tibial tendinitis for 2 1/2 years. A local orthopedist prescribed a boot called Max Track that was worse than nothing so I stopped using it after 2 1/2 weeks. When I was visiting my brother in Houston, he insisted I see his wife’s orthopedist, who prescribed an orthopedic shoe insert that helped a lot. But about a month ago the pain got worse so I returned to the Houston doctor, who prescribed a new insert and a new boot, an Aircast “cloud walker”. This one is really a marvel. When I have it on, there is no, or very little, pain and I can walk much easier than with the first one, which felt like dragging a ball & chain around and which was a very poor fit as it was built for wide feet and mine are narrow. I am hopeful that my ankle will be rested enough that I can walk normally again with just the arch support. It’s disgusting that I and my insurer had to pay more than $200 for the first boot. I haven’t seen the bill yet for the Aircast but it’s worth every penny. I wear the new arch support inside the boot. A cousin who has had a broken leg below her knee replacement said she had one like it and is keeping it handy because she still is not fully recovered.

June 17, 2011 at 3:56 pm
(24) Katie says:

The boot is actually called “FP Walker Foam Pneumatic” by Aircast of JFO LLC DJOglobal.com

July 7, 2011 at 5:47 pm
(25) Brenda says:

I have a hard boot cast because of plantar faciitis. However it feels like a brick on my foot…so heavy and causes pain around my ankles due to the weight (top of fott at the curve where the foot and lower leg connect). Has anyone else experienced this? Is this boot fitted correctly? I assumed with the boot cast I could still move around some (I’ve gone to the grocery story) but almost any walking causes this pain. In addition at night I have anxiety attacks (feels closed in like claustraphobia…just want the boot off!). Very miserable…9 days in and have 3 weeks to go. Help!

July 22, 2011 at 2:42 am
(26) Gloria says:

I sprained a tendon and was given meds for pain-than I was sent to therapy for a month-still no relief than had MRI where I was diagnosed with tendonitis. Dr. than decided to put me in cast! I had an anxiety attack the 1st night (claustrophobia)-but realized that if I want to feel better I best accept the fact that I have to wear this for a few weeks in order to get better! Just counting down the days =) !!

I’ve been resting my foot a lot but if I do get up to do a little something, like cook dinner I can still feel the pain. That’s not an encouraging sign. So back to sitting I go!

I’m hoping the Dr. will give me that aircast boot-sounds like it could help–at least I could shower properly! LOL! Good luck to all!

August 7, 2011 at 6:07 pm
(27) Rick says:

I am looking for advice on how to stand up and sit down while wearing two walking boots. I’ve been balancing on my toes to do this. It produces pain in my arches.

September 19, 2011 at 12:41 am
(28) kim russell says:

where do i find the answers to these great questions??? especially #9.. im waiting on an MRI. for now i am in a boot for poster.tib.tend.

November 6, 2011 at 9:44 am
(29) renee says:

I was in a walking boot for 12 weeks due to inner ankle pain. I had two steroid shots and seems to be on my way to recovery. But nw aftr not wearing the boot, I am experiencing pain frm outer ankle bone. I think it came frm wearing the boot. The longer I stand the worse it gets. Any suggestions

January 3, 2012 at 4:12 pm
(30) Pamelyn says:

I recently sprained my ankle and about a month later begin to have problems with severe pain in my feet and ankle. I was diagnosed with posterior tibial dysfunction. I was fitted for aircast boots last week and have to wear them for at least 6 weeks. The pain in my feet is so excruciating (especially at night and after walking around the house) that I cry all the time and have to take pain medications. It seems like my doctor does not believe that I am in such excruciating pain and am barely able to walk. I am at a crossroad and am sinking into a depression because of this.

January 18, 2012 at 1:04 pm
(31) bar bara says:

do i sleep in this walking boot i’ve just had for a stress fracture of my ankle as i forgot to ask??

February 6, 2012 at 6:26 pm
(32) Billy says:

I sprained my ankle about3 months ago and never got it checked out. IIt is still swollen on the outside of the foot and hurts sometimes. It isnt as bad swollen as it used to be. What should i do?

February 11, 2012 at 8:10 pm
(33) Jamey Dixon says:

I have Achilles Tendinitis and I know that I have a bone spur growing into my Achilles causing it to tear away from my heal slowly. I also know that I will have to have surgery at some point to repair it. I regularly ice and give gentle massage, but it always hurts. I am trying to hold off surgery as long as possible, so I was wondering if immobilization is an option. I have a small boot, but I am thinking about one to totally immobilize. It seems to feel better if I wear the boot. Just asking……Thanks for any answers.

February 20, 2012 at 8:32 pm
(34) Hockey13 says:

I have ruptured both achilles tendons and they both have been replaced by the FHL tendon. My left ankle is almost perfect but my right has some issues. I tore the FHL /Achilles transfer site 6 weeks after surgery which requires more surgery. I am 6 weeks out from a secondary repair and will once again need a third repair. Moral of the story, stay away from cortisone when it comes to achilles tendon issues. I’m not even 30 and my ankles are pretty much shot.

March 2, 2012 at 6:49 pm
(35) debbie says:

I have had plantar facisitis for years and found wearing crocs and the real ones not fake also never walking in bare feet as well as the ortho inserts properly made for my foot helped immensely. good Luck

March 13, 2012 at 2:14 am
(36) elijah says:

i havent walked for 3 months and i just got my boot, the doctors said i can put full pressure in it now but im to afraid to put pressure on the broken leg ):

May 6, 2012 at 8:25 pm
(37) Cher says:

My Dr says I have PTT tenontis @insertion and says to do physio and get special orthotics, have done that and now it is worse what can I do now?

May 12, 2012 at 12:28 pm
(38) JR says:

Could Be Post Tibular Tendonitus….

May 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm
(39) JFP says:

Hi,

Am in a walking cast (2nd week) from a bone fracture where ligament pulled piece of bone off. Walking boot seems fine, but am having back issues from unlevel walking. Switched to a hiking boot on other foot, but not really helping much…..thoughts? Massage….chiropractor…..have 4 more weeks and am worried my back will blow out in the process of fixing my ankle!

July 28, 2012 at 8:28 am
(40) Fefa says:

Hi one year ago I had a none tumor removed and I had a cast on for a few weeks then they said I took it off too early so my foot didn’t heal correctly. Five months after all of this a had four micro fractures. So after I put on another cast I was recommended to wear a walking cast, but the problem is I don’t feel like I need it. That had taken 60-70 percent of the tumor and it was larger when they were gonna take it out. What do you recommend to do?

October 3, 2012 at 10:25 pm
(41) doloes says:

I have a fracture ankle and the doc gave me the othropedic boot. My ankle is not wrap or in a cast. Was woundering how can I sleep. Knowing tht my ankle is wrap.

October 10, 2012 at 9:27 pm
(42) Spottedkit1999 says:

I had to wear a walking boot to correct the way I walked for a few months. I also had to wear one for when I had tendonitis issues…

October 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm
(43) bob says:

yesterday i twisted my ankle in basketball practice and my teammate landed on it. I was having trouble walking after and today also. Will i need a walking boot or will i need a hard cast

February 20, 2013 at 10:14 am
(44) Tracie says:

I have a lump on my Achelis Tendon. The doctors say I have Tendonitis. It did not hurt and there was no swelling (just the lump). I stopped running and it still did not go away. I went to see a podiatrist and he put me in a walking boot to immobilize the tendon. The tendon NOW hurts and when I removed the boot to change into workout clothes (for upper body), my ankle was swollen! I went 4 months with just the nodule and nothing else and the day I use the walking boot I get the swelling and pain. WHY?

March 8, 2013 at 9:10 am
(45) Alison says:

I had foot fusion surgery 6 weeks ago and I wanted to know the difference between a walking cast VS a walking boot.
Is the reason my doctor prefers a cast because of cost?
Is it because he has concern I won’t wear the walking boot at all times?

I am ready for a walking boot and have checked medical sites; the air boot seems to have great protection but adds the ability for me to shower and have more comfort.

Please adcies

March 30, 2013 at 10:36 pm
(46) nancy says:

I chipped my ankle bone and am wearing a walking boot. The doctor said I can continue my activities but after just a short walk in the grocery store I have a big painful bruise that aches. I am on aspirin and probably bruise easily but the bruises are as painful and the ankle.

April 13, 2013 at 8:02 am
(47) lisa Howlett says:

I had a car run over my foot 6 weeks ago, xray never showed a break, however doctor wanted me yesterday to have a weight bearing xray – i.e standing up that has shown a lisfranc fracture , I have been walking with crutches and around the house on my heel, my ball of my foot is swollen and I have pins & needles in my toes and swelling. Would a walking boot be a good idea – I cant put any weight on my ball of my foot or move my toes very much. I have to go and see the consultant in 6 weeks, what to do in the meantime?

July 8, 2013 at 5:46 pm
(48) leah says:

I have a fracture on the lower part of my tibia. I had a splint on for 3 weeks and the 4th week got the maxtrax boot. I was able to walk with no pain but walked for a couple hours on grass for the 4th of july. Now it hurts really bad to walk on the boot. What should i do?

August 12, 2013 at 2:06 am
(49) Karen says:

I had a ganglion cyst operated on and I had my stitches taken out 14 days later and I still can’t walk on my foot and it still is bruised and swollen and I was wondering if a boot be good for me rather then my crutches cause they are making my other hip sore and the boot would help me to walk .

August 24, 2013 at 5:21 pm
(50) mary ellen says:

I broke my 5th metatarsal with possible separation 2 1/2 wks ago. Dr. gave me a short walking boot & told me I have to start putting weight on it. I never expierenced such pain. Toes and base of the ankle are still black. Is this normal? Will I need surgery if the separation dosen’t close up?

August 26, 2013 at 4:29 am
(51) Heather says:

I broke 4 of my toes in a car accident. They but a cast on 2 weeks after. I’ve had the cast for almost a week. I can’t get sleep it’s very uncomfortable. Do you think if I call my doctor they can but me in a walking boot. I have to get sleep I have a 6 month old.

February 23, 2014 at 11:17 pm
(52) Lois says:

I have a dancer’s fracture in my left foot. I was given a walking boot size medium, but I cannot lift my foot when my foot is in it. My shoe size is a 6.5. The nurses at the hospital that fit me insisted that my toes would stick out too far with a size small and I would be uncomfortable. Please help because I have to go to work and I simply cannot move at all with this boot on.

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