4 weeks post op - VACOCAST or AIRCAST???

Hey all - will be four weeks post op this week and have been blessed with little to no pain. Some bruising/blood pooling in the heel, but OS says that’s normal. Anyone have experience with that? Th BIGGER question is what to do in one week when I get the splint removed and go into PWB. I was given an Aircast Pre-op by the ER which I used to hobble around Chicago for my brother’s wedding (yes I was the best man and survived, somehow!)

However, since then have been doing research on whether to stick the aircast back on or spend the $300 on vacocast. Since insurance covered the aircast, they will not pay for another boot, would be out of pocket. Any thoughts/opinions/experience w vaco cast vs aircast??

Like most of us the last four weeks of immobilization has been challenging. Fortunately, my wonderful wife and friends have made life better and to top it off its football season. Good excuse to splurge on NFL Sunday ticket. Thanks for your thoughts in advance!

John

17 Responses to “4 weeks post op - VACOCAST or AIRCAST???”

  1. There are a bunch of comparisons on here, but one that sticks out is…

    http://achillesblog.com/pboltonmd/2011/05/26/vacocast/

    “So I was charged $300 for my standard issue air walking boot. The air bladders put pressure right on my wound and did not restrict my heel from rubbing against the boot. The air bladders also lost their pressure after 30 min.

    So I spent another $300 and ordered the Vacocast and got it yesterday. Holy shit, what a difference. This thing is comfortable. I went swimming and did pool therapy (even though I am still NWB at 9 wks) and it was easy to dry.

    I am going to my ortho tomorrow and will tell him this boot is amazingly comfortable and versitle. It’s got a little adjustment for just about everything.

    As a patient and physician I can say this is a superior boot. Does it help you heal faster as they claim. Probably not, but it’s comfort and ease of use make your mobility an easier experience.”

  2. I have been using the Aircast for about 4 weeks and get around in it no problem, however I don’t bother pumping it up and anything other than walking is probably a non starter. I have tried cycling and it is possible you just would not want to go too far.
    I had looked at the Vacocast, as £240 to keep cycling for 6 weeks would have been well worth the money, however my PT could not work with it as the prerequisite trials in the UK have not been completed, and the Surgeon would therefore not sanction it. I now wish I had bought a vacocast as the lack of exercise is driving me mad, (not a fan of the gym) however only 2 and a half weeks of boot wearing to go….
    You are a young guy to be rupturing your Achilles? at least you should heal faster :-) All the best and enjoy the ‘Football’….

  3. I’m a Vaco fan having used the Achilles Pro for 6 weeks last year.

    It is a great boot, lighter than some others, cool to wear, easy to adjust, good customer service. However, if I were you, with only another 4 weeks or so of boot wearing, I’d probably stick with the boot that you already have but bear in mind that I have never tried an Aircast boot and I don’t know the spec that you have - I’m assuming that it is at least the most appropriate in the range for an atr.

    Alternatively, you could blow that spare cash, buy the Vaco boot now and sell it in a couple of months’ time at a loss. If you do buy one, and intend to swim in it, ensure that you have the spare (dry) liner to hand. An ‘Even-up’ for the good side will help to avoid wear and tear to the hips and knees too (whichever boot you wear).

  4. Spacemonkey

    Something not right here surely. I was treated at Royal Devon & Exeter acouple of years ago (NHS and with one of the leading ortho centres in Europe) and, after 2 weeks in a fibre glass cast, was given Vaco’s Achilles Pro boot. A few months ago, the Exeter team published its rehab protocol and shows just about the best disclosed recovery rates to date - for surgical and non-op. Fascinating stuff.

    Check Suddsy’s 2 week achilles blog at suddsy/2013/06/24/end-of-wk-2-wow-progress/ to see the Exeter protocol and the rehab schedule web link. Suddsy’s own rehab treatment was very similar to mine, although a surgical case and I was non-op. Suddsy was a UK patient too.

    Get your guys to speak to Exeter’s Princess Elizabeth Orthopaedic Centre. As for “UK trials” - really?

    Oped (makers of Vaco) also published info on its Facebook page showing Exeter Chiefs players with the boots - fortunately the boots can mostly be recycled with new straps, liner, etc, especially useful for gear that was apparently ‘tested’ almost to destruction at the training ground. Also, call Oped in Devizes for the names of NHS hospitals where the boots are prescribed.

  5. Whoops, I should have said that they published their report abstract, not the protocol itself. I’ve included the protocol separately as has Suddsy.

  6. I reruptured in the aircast because my wedge wasn’t affixed and it moved under my foot arch and thus my feel went down.

    I can’t say enough good things about the vacocast. I bought it thinking I was going to use it for 3 weeks, but my doctor prescribed 5 weeks just to be on the safe side.

    Besides the comfort, which there are several different ways to adjust the fit, there are no wedges, and there are no pain/pressure points. I am glad I shelled out the extra $$$$.

    Good luck.

  7. Hi fellow Chicagoan. Vacocast is the best. I’ve tried the Cam Boot the Air Cam and the VacoCast. Kobe also has it as well. I teach golf and tennis here in Chicago and need to get back out ASAP, so I picked the VACO because I can walk in it and work in ti. No brainer, spend the $300, and GO BEARS! Great game yesterday.

  8. Yet another vote for the vacocast. The aircast irritated my incision and/or achilles after only about 30 minutes (my OS doesn’t want me wearing it unless I’m up and about), even though I was using a knee scooter and teaching while sitting down. No such problems with the vacocast.

  9. As you’ve seen, most Vaco users love it (though there have been a coupla exceptions here). And I think a hinged boot like the Vaco (& others) has therapeutic advantages, maybe especially in the transition from boot to shoes. BUT, (1) UWO got excellent results with a simple non-hinged AirCast, and (2) most boots can be adjusted or adapted to function properly on most legs. The basic jobs are simple and few: a) clamp the ankle so its immobilized at the righ angle, b) protect the leg, c) be snug enough and stiff enough to support the patient’s full weight on the ball of the foot/boot, transferring that force through the boot to the front of your shin, relieving the AT and calf of its usual job. And d) avoiding friction sores and pressure points and general discomfort. Everything else — even hinge-ing — is an optional extra, IMHO.

  10. Thanks everyone for the responses and thoughtful comments. My thinking is if Kobe’s using it, it must be top notch, right? Comfort to me is as physical as it is mental - having confidence w the different stages of weight bearing, no rubbing on the wound, no fear of re rupture, etc. Though my OS said ‘a boot is a boot’, I think the peace of mind, positive responses and knowing I’m doing the best possible thing for my leg wins out. Will post once I have it and by all means additional comments welcome!

    Thanks all and God bless.

    John

  11. Hi am 11 days post surgery following rupture of left achilles and in a moonboot which I think is the same as an aircast boot. Does any ATR recoverer (?new word) know if I can get a Vacoped/Vacocast in South Africa. My OS doesn’t answer my questions, blah.

  12. Jen
    Hi Jen Welcome to the club!!
    U can get vacocast in RSA, although each country comes up with their own costs! As a comparison, £250 incl pp in UK and $300 US. Best of luck. It’s a good boot if you do go for it! + U can swim in it! See below for RSA options (from Vacoped Internet site).
    Or you could go he 2nd hand route, if someone is selling one on eBay, or you could ask on his forum!! - they are pretty sturdy and normally come from “one careful owner” and then you just buy the liner

    South Africa
    ASA Medical Supplies cc
    +27 215516976

    South Africa
    Prius Healthcare Solutions / Claveguard
    002783 309 2342

    All the best Hoppy

  13. Hi Hoppy
    Thank you for the info, am waiting for someone to call me back from ASA, Prius doesn’t stock them. Only pre-owned one I can find is wrong size.
    Hope your recovery going well.
    Jen

  14. Hi Jen
    Sorry to hear that. You could drop the Oped Hq a line. They are a pretty forward leaning organisation and may find a solution for you.
    Other options could be to buy online and get delivered to a friend in the UK or US. They then send on to you.
    Or post the request on your own blog site (easy to set up via Dennis)That way should get seen by a wider community!
    That said, there are many in other boots who have posted on this site and are happy with their foot ware! Protocol probably being more important than type of boot.

    Second that comment on OS not having a scoobie, hence this site is so useful!

    Hope that helps - regards to the rainbow nation!
    Hoppy

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