Boot Walking Tips

I have seen a few comments on here lately on how to walk in an air cast. One thing that I am unclear on is “what is a safe walk”? Currently, I strike on my heel and roll foot forward until flat footed but will not push off with the forefoot. What are others doing?

8 Responses to “Boot Walking Tips”

  1. i had both the moon boot and now the Vacocast. In both, I was told to roll through the foot and push off with the bottom of the top of my foot. I hope that’s okay? I’d love to hear what others say as I haven’t heard of the “safe walk”.

  2. Hi Kevin,

    Boot walking is a recurring theme.

    I think I was a bit of a scaredy cat because for the first 12 weeks I refused to push with my toes or ball of my foot at all. Since this is what caused my injury, I was in no hurry to repeat. I don’t think you have to be that afraid of pushing off with your toes, others do it with no re-rupture .. but I didn’t want to.

    So, instead of pushing, I used momentum and glutes to roll me forward in the boot and in 2 shoes. This gave me a full heel to toe roll with no pushing.

    I found it much easier to walk in the vacocast than the hospital moon boot because of the wedge sole that lets your foot rock forward with almost no effort.

    ryanb and ejbvmi have boot walking demos in their blogs, so look them up. I recorded two quick videos of my boot walking - one with the vacocast and one with the moon boot. You will notice in both that my knee bends at the end of the step, but it is more pronounced with the moon boot. In the moon boot, you really need to bend your knee and drive your shin forward into the boot so that it rolls your heel upward for you. In either boot, your knee should bend a little so that it doesn’t hyper-extend because your heel is stuck on the ground since you can’t lift it with a toe push.

    So that’s the main idea to boot walking - use your knee and shin (and glutes and momentum) to drive into the front of the boot which lifts your heel for you so that you roll up onto your toes without having to push.

    If you “pegleg” or stick your foot out sideways or hitch your step then you are going to get back and hip issues. So try as much as possible to keep an even timing in your steps and relax the booted foot as much as possible to allow it to roll.

    Here’s my vacoped walk:

    Here’s my moon boot walk:

    Here’s a pic that shows the difference in the soles between the vaco and the moon boot which is why walking in the vaco was so much easier for me:×225.jpg

  3. My surgery is today but I tried practicing in my boot the other day just to see. I am “double jointed” and found those first steps difficult because my foot wanted to roll “backwards” to rest on my heel. It took a few tries to realize I had to start off with a slight knee bend and keep it to keep my center of gravity from slightly forward, otherwise my knee kept wanting to buckle backwards.

  4. Kevin, let me give you my 5 cents worth on “safe walking” since I first used the rolling using my calf and knee as the major movers, and now when waking quickly I do use my toes a bit. My boot actually bothers the top front of my calf when I walk a lot, so flexing the foot a little within the boot reduces that top edge’s rub on my shin bone. But that is comfort, not safety.
    As I understand it, the boot keeps your foot in position so the tendon and muscle CANNOT move the foot much. so “pushing with your toes” really isn’t as long as you have your ankle held tightly within the boot.

    BUT the boot is solid, clunky and if you step on a stone or an edge , you could lose your balance and fall. I caught my boot once going up stairs, and it caught on the edge of the step and I was unbalanced and fell forwards. That was also when I was going up stairs with crutches… not safe at all. And going down steps, you need to verify that you are actually well placed on the step. Right now I joyfully clunk my way down the stairs letting the boot hit the step solidly and not getting the end of the heel hung up on the step I’m trying to get down from. this means you start going down stairs with the boot taking the steps down, and the good foot anchoring your balance. later on you will learn to go down normally, using both feet.

    Safe boot use also involves ensuring your other foot is at the same height as the injured foot.
    Another point is that you will trip and knock into things and step on people close to you. Be aware of these risks and avoid them.
    finally, I will point out that, as the song says, THESE BOOKS ARE MADE FOR WALKING… and not for running, jumping, going up stepstools or vertical ladders… unless, of course, you are “amountainclimber” who does all sorts of wild things with a knee crutch already! LOL

    Hope this helps, Kevin. Being safe is mainly knowing the risks and managing them. :-)

  5. I just want to add the importance of working out the rest of your muscles, especially your core. I’m not a huge exercise fanatic and am overweight but this has made me really focus on weight training and working on my core. This helps so much with the uneven walking and I have had no knee and hip pain this second time around. The first time, I was much less active and my knee and hip took a lot more of a beating.

  6. Hello All,

    Just trying to catch up on a week’s worth of posts here! Thanks everyone Holly, Metonia, Manny and Beanie for the insight. Its all helps.

    Things have gotten a lot better walking with the boot. I am pushing myself more and more with rolling my foot from heel to forefoot. I am still pretty conservative on trying to push off with my toe so trying almost roll the leg through.

  7. Thanks Beanie,

    Meant to respond in my earlier post but kids got in the way! I saw the video links and I have to say you are walking much smoother than me. I am still in an aircast moon boot but I am not walking as smooth as you. I think I need to get the piece that goes on my good foot to reduce the strain on the other half of my body caused by over compensation. I am not sure if you ski or not but this experience I have is like walking with a ski boot on one leg…,,

    The vacocast sounds great….but I am hopefully in this air cast for a few more weeks so I will try and just tough it out with this.

  8. Yeah Kevin, getting the feet to the same height is very important, otherwise you’re always dipping down or on tip-toes. That may be why your good achilles is a bit sore now. The EvenUp you see in the video is available online in most countries. It’s usually pretty inexpensive and arrives 1-2 days after order. It’s really great because you can strap it on to any shoe. Before I found out about EvenUp, I duct-taped an old flip-flop to the bottom of an old trainer. Not an elegant solution but it did the job :)

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