Left footed driving and other tips for a long casted period

I am writing to share a few tips based on my experience of being in a cast for 3 months post op after an AT rupture. It has been a challenge and I know others may struggle with casts no matter the time period. My good news is that I am FWB and walking at a good pace and normal gait now in a fiberglass cast. I am also just 2 days away from getting this cast removed.

Left foot accelerator
I injured my right leg and grew tired of a long, draining commute to work with cabs, shuttles, and commuter trains that turned a one hour drive into a 2.5 hour odyssey. I discovered and rented a left foot accelerator device that is common for the permanently disabled. I switched cars with my wife since I drive a 5 speed manual transmission and the devices only work with automatic transmission. If you go down this path, I first recommend that you check with your local transportation authority (e.g., Department of Motor Vehicles) to make sure it is legal. Second, start with very safe, small tests. I started with a parking lot drive, graduated to a quiet neighborhood street, and then tested highway driving with light traffic conditions. Third, find the right shoe to use with the accelerator. I have an Even Up on my healthy leg and found that it inhibited my feel for the pedal. I wear a flat shoe for driving that lets me manipulate the pedal better. Finally, you may need to be a gentler driver than normal. I drive slower and leave more space for the cars in front of me.

Here is a video of how the driving works with one of these devices: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnulcp8CnLs

Here is the product I rented: http://www.plfa.org/

Other Products
Here are the other products I have used. Many of these are obvious and already accounted for in the “Things you may need” section. But, there might be a few helpful hints here.

1. Iwalk: A crutch alternative was a life saver. It let me use both hands and do everyday activities. I used it everywhere including home, trains, and the office. Just be prepared for a few odd looks and a lot of people stopping you to talk about it.
2. Crutches. You can’t get away from them! Even if you use a scooter or other crutch alternative during NWB, you will likely need crutches to start PWB and progress to FWB.
3. Cane. I used a cane for a day and a half right before going FWB. It might have been mental, but it helped me get to point of being hands free and FWB.
4. Even Up. The multiple recommendations on this site are true. Do something to avoid being a “weeble wobble” and unbalanced. Even Ups worked well for me as the walking cast and cast shoe were very thick and raised my injured side significantly higher than my healthy side.
5. Boot. Clearly, I am not a boot expert since I have been in a cast for so long. But, I do have one ready to use as necessary in my next stage.
6. Baby Wipes. Baby wipes are useful for cleaning your exposed toes at the end of the cast.
7. Cast Cover. When I was ready to take a real shower, the cast cover was great. It kept the cast completely dry. I only had trouble recently (a rip in the top) after using it for a long time.
8. Trash Bags. When the cast cover broke, I reverted to trash bags to take a shower.
9. Painter’s Tape. I found that blue painter’s tape was effective for sealing the trash bags and broken cast cover without ripping off too much skin.
10. Shower and bathroom mats. To avoid slipping and putting unplanned/improper pressure on the injured side
11. Shower chair. Sitting down during a shower is a unique experience!
12. Urinal. A ruptured achilles, or another lower body injury, is a desperate time. I used a urinal as a desperate measure. It helped me avoid those midnight falling issues that can occur getting to the bathroom.
13. Compression Socks. I wore compressions socks most of the time on my healthy leg for protection. My ankle, achilles, and calf on my good side grew very fatigued and I did not want an additional problem. The compression sock felt like it provided some extra stability and relief.
14. Ice and heating pad. I alternated ice and heat therapy on my good Achilles and calf and it started to fatigue in the darkest days of NWB.

Hope some of this is helpful.

One Response to “Left footed driving and other tips for a long casted period”

  1. I really do have to commend you for staying sane through that long casted period, especially the long NWB phase, not sure I could’ve handled it quite as well. At least you’re nearing the end, and good luck with your transformation into two shoes!

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