Foot, ankle, and let injuries can happen quickly and not all injuries will require a full cast. Most often, for sprains, tendonitis, and a variety of other leg and foot injuries, physicians recommend a walking boot. A walking boot is designed to cradle and support your leg, much like a cast, but it can be removed when resting. A walking boot can be a lot less limiting than a standard cast and can be taken off for showering and other essential needs, so they are often preferred by patients while recovering as well. Even though a walking boot is preferred, there is some debate on whether it is necessary to use crutches while using a boot. Here is what you need to know.

Are Crutches Necessary

Walking boots are designed with substantial support throughout the boot, and they can support a lot of weight, but whether to use crutches largely depends on the type of injury. For substantial injuries, where healing will take a lot of time, it is recommended to use crutches with your boot. However, there are exceptions to this notion.

Many people prefer not to use crutches with their walking boot and if your physician says it is fine that’s ok. Depending on your body weight and injury type, the support of the walking boot might be enough to help healing, but generally, physicians will recommend that you do not put your total body weight on the device. There are some things you can do to help assist you in walking with a walking boot without crutches.

Think About Weight Distribution

Weight distribution is a significant factor when walking successfully with a boot. These devices can be remarkably heavy depending on the type you employ and it can become easy to get off balance while walking. The key ingredient is to balance your boot with the alternate shoe. Shoes are successful due to weight ratios. Each shoe ways the same, so it balances while we walk. However, a heavy boot and a lighter shoe can put your balance off significantly, so if you intend on walking without crutches, make sure the shoe you use and the walking boot are similarly balanced.

Considerations for Height

Similar to the weight situation with your footwear, considerations for height are essential as well. Crutches may be annoying to contend with, but they allow you to walk at the same height for both sides. Shoes do the same thing. A walking boot, however, tends to have a larger base and thicker supports than a standard shoe. If you neglect to account for the additional thickness of the boot base, you risk becoming unbalanced. Choosing shoes that have a similar thickness as your boot will allow you to maintain your balance without detracting from necessary support within the boot.

Additional Support is Necessary

Standard walking boots offer some support to your foot and leg, but standard support structures may not be as safe for your injured leg if you intend on using the device without crutches. The rigid support of the frame within the boot is great for some pressure while walking, but placing too much strain on the supports will have a negative affect on your leg injury. It is recommended that you invest in additional supports for the interior of the boot. Extra padding inside the boot will help cushion your leg more effectively, but the main area to target is your arch.

Lack of arch support can slow the healing process and make it very uncomfortable to move around without the help of crutches. Ensure your walking boot maintains ample arch support by adding it in yourself of asking for a boot that supports your arches better. The point of ample arch supports allows for a smooth contact surface to make it easier, and ultimately safer to walk with your walking boot without crutches.

Shorten Your Stride

Walking in a walking boot both with and without crutches will take some getting used to, but the main thing to remember is your stride will be different with the boot. Due to the rocker bottom design of a walking boot, you will have to adjust your stride to take smaller steps. Taking long strides will often catch the boot on the surface and cause you to fall. Taking smaller steps will allow you to have more control over the surface and maintain your stability.

A walking boot can be a bother, but it is an essential part of healing from minor leg injuries that do not require a cast. Whether you choose to walk with the boot while using crutches or on your own is up to you and the guidance of your physician. However, for those who choose to walk freely without crutches, keep these tips in mind to help you heal properly without further injuring your leg.

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