If you do not know what a walking boot is, or have never had the privilege of using one, I am sure you have walked down a busy street and observed an individual walking around in what appears to be a ski boot. This may appear "odd" especially in mid summer, but that person is wearing a walking boot.
Most doctors refer to these devices as "CAM WALKERS" (controlled ankle motion walkers). They are available in hi-top or low-top walkers. The Hi-top extend to just below the knee cap, where the low-top extends just above the ankle joint.
The Hi-top walkers are usually indicated for acute ankle sprains, stress fractures of the lower leg, soft tissue injuries of the lower leg, stable fractures of the foot and ankle and post-operatively.
Low-Top walking boots are indicated for post-operative foot surgery, metatarsal and digital fractures and soft tissue trauma of the foot and ankle.
Your doctor will determine which type of walker is best for you.
One of the unique features of many Hi and Low top walkers is a "pneumatic" feature, which allows the doctor or patient to inflate the liner inside the boot. The purpose of this feature is multifold.
When the patients leg is places in the walking boot and securely positioned, this inflatable feature provides additional compression to the lower leg / ankle and foot. This is an ideal feature for patients post-surgically, when controlling swelling is key to reducing pain, and improve healing time.
When properly inflated, these types of walking boots provide better immobilization by contouring around the extremity and preventing leg and foot movement within the boot. This ensures better healing for patients with fractures that require no foot or ankle movement.
Many manufacturers obtain this pneumatic feature by placing a pneumatic "bulb" or bubble at the top of the walking boot. The patient simply turns a little rheostat located under the bulb to close the tubes and chambers and "pumps up" the chambers. When the patient needs to deflate the chambers, they simply turn the rheostat control and the air exits the chambers.
There is a slight cost difference between a non pneumatic and pneumatic walking boot, but for patients that want additional comfort and fit, it is well worth the additional cost.
Please consult your treating physician or therapist to determine which type of walking boot is best for your condition.