When you have a sprained ankle, immobilization is key in the healing process, and walking boots of all kinds have been shown to be an effective tool. New designs and types of walking boots are constantly in development to improve patient compliance with the removable boot and increase the efficacy of treatment. When you use them according to doctor's orders, walking boots can be extremely effective in helping your sprained ankle to heal.
Walking boots, also known as walking casts, are removable, usually stiff supports designed to immobilize the ankle and provide increased support during walking. They have been proven effective in the treatment and healing of sprained ankles and even minor fractures. They tend to be more comfortable than a fiberglass or plaster cast, and can be removed for bathing or sleeping, according to your doctor's orders.
There are a number of different types of walking boots that have been approved for the use of treating and healing a sprained ankle. The biggest differential is how stiff or soft the boot is. In general, the stiffer the boot, the more support provide because there is less mobility afforded to the injured ankle. A difference in soles, too, can change your experience in using the boot to walk: rocker soles create a natural, forward step, while a flat sole is usually skid-proof and can help you to avoid slipping on wet or icy surfaces.
Duration of Wear
When diagnosed with a sprained ankle, you will likely be recommended to wear the walking boot for a certain period of time pending a check-in on the healing process. Those with more serious sprained ankles accompanies with issues like an Achilles tendon tear will likely be given a longer, stiffer boot and told to wear it almost continuously for months. Those with less serious injuries may be provided with a softer, shorter walking boot and given a shorter expected duration of wear depending upon how quickly the sprained ankle heals.
Because it is used regularly and often for months at a time, take special care to use your walking boot properly. Always try to keep your boot dry – if possibly, avoiding stepping in puddles or getting your walking boot wet. Keep the sleeve – the soft, inner fabric part – clean. Many walking boots come with a removable sleeve that you can launder as needed. Finally, wear your walking boot according to directions. Use all Velcro closures every time you wear the walking boot, because securing it properly ensures an appropriate fit.
Despite the extra support provided by the walking boot, remember to care for the injured ankle. Don't overstress the injury by walking too much or standing too long even while wearing the walking boot. Also note that increased stress is placed on other joints due to your ankle's inability to bear weight, including your knees, hips, and lower back. Remember to get lots of rest to promote healing and avoid injuring other joints or ligaments.
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
- Sports Injury Clinic; Sprained Ankle
- Sports Med Center; Ankle Sprains
- Medical News Today; Below-Knee Cast Or Aircast Best For Faster Recovery From Severe Ankle Sprain; February 2009
- "Foot & Ankle International"; Alterations in Plantar Pressure With Different Walking Boot Designs; F.E. DiLiberto, et al;" January 2007