The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

This Technologically Advanced SmartBoot Monitors Foot Injury Recovery

Posted by on Friday, July 31st, 2015


Once our foot doctors send our patients on their way, we hope that they are doing all they can to recover from a sprained ankle or broken foot efficiently. We put them into a walking boot and provide detailed instructions on rest and resuming weight-bearing activities, but we really have no way of knowing how they’re doing — unless they call to report ongoing pain or come back in for a subsequent evaluation. However, a new invention created by University of Delaware undergrads could soon change all that, making it easy to monitor foot injury recovery.1

foot injury recovery
Crutches and a boot or other support are normal for most foot breaks and sprains, but a new SmartBoot could make monitoring foot injury recovery easier. Image Source: Flickr CC user Neeta Lind


What Is The SmartBoot?

Like a standard fracture boot, the SmartBoot stabilizes the bones and allows users to rest their feet while resetting the bone and soft tissues. We like putting patients into walking boots rather than casts because patients report less pain and better functionality.2 Recovery also occurs roughly three weeks sooner when patients undergo an active rehabilitation versus a static one. That said, we don’t want patients rushing back into their regular activities before the injured foot is ready to handle the added pressure.

The “SmartBoot” is a walking boot with built-in sensors that collect data on the foot’s movement and provides visual feedback to the doctor. This tool is not meant to punish patients who bear too much weight, but rather to guide their recoveries. The SmartBoot could potentially provide the ability to remotely check the patient’s rest levels and assess the amount of movement in the foot once partial weight-bearing resumes. During recovery, patients often have difficulty knowing whether they’re putting too much weight on the injury. Studies show that patient noncompliance rates are high following foot or ankle surgery in particular.3 The SmartBoot could take some of the guesswork out of rehabilitation and let physicians see how the foot responds.

SmartBoot Prototype Has Come A Long Way Over The Past Year

According to Jill Higginson, an associate professor of mechanical engineering,”Patients are often trained in the clinic on a bathroom scale and then sent home with crutches, with the assumption that they can consistently perform partial weight bearing on their own.”4

“Sensors have become more affordable and smaller, allowing existing protocols to be turned into better tools for clinicians,”  adds Brian Knarr, an associate scientist at the Delaware Rehabilitative Institute says.

Though the first prototype designed in 2014 churned out inaccurate data, their finished product a year later won third-place at the 2015 Summer Biomechanics, Bioengineering and Biotransport Conference Awards in Snowbird, Utah. There’s still no word on when the new product might be available for use in podiatry offices, hospitals, and sports medicine clinics, but our patients will be among the first to hear of any new innovations coming down the pipeline.

About The Center For Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine in NYC is your best bet for foot and ankle injury diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation. Our board-certified podiatrists and surgeons use advanced therapies to facilitate more effective recoveries for our patients. We have invested in equipment like the MLS pain laser, extracorporeal shockwave therapy device, MIX5 laser, cryotherapy, and T.E.N.S. unit. Learn more about these amazing foot and ankle treatment options for New York City patients here.

We have undergone extensive training and performed hundreds of successful platelet rich plasma and biopuncture injections. Our state-of-the-art gait analysis center provides in-depth analytics regarding pressure, foot movement and walking patterns that could lead to injury, and we have all the necessary scanning machines and test equipment needed to arrive at an accurate diagnosis. We have treated professional athletes and Olympians, as well as ordinary folks and children who play sports. Call or stop by to learn more about our two foot and ankle centers in Manhattan and Westchester, New York.


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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.