The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Walking Boots: Which Athletes Are Currently Wearing One and Why Are They Necessary?

Posted by on Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

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When some people hear “walking boot,” they think, “Oh, thank goodness it’s not a cast!” Yet, to others, a walking boot may mean “looking dorky” or hobbling around “like a gimp” for a few weeks. From our standpoint, the design and use of walking boots for active recovery have come a long way over the last 30 years. We recommend the use of rehabilitative walking boots for patients who are recovering from a number of injuries, as you’ll see in this week’s roundup of professional athletes using post-operative boots. You’ll find that many athletes use walking boots as a precautionary measure to prevent the need for more invasive surgery as well.

Pro Athletes Wearing Walking Boots

Currently, the following professional athletes are using walking boots for post-op or preventative weight offloading:

– NFL: Eagles’ Wide Receiver Riley Cooper (minor foot injury)

– NFL: Jets’ Cornerback Dee Milliner (high ankle sprain)

– NFL: Bears’ Tackle Jordan Mills (broken metatarsal post-op)

– NFL Cardinals’ Offensive Guard Jonathan Cooper (toe injury)

– NFL: Panthers’ Defensive End Kony Ealy (sore left foot)

– MLB: Rangers’ Outfielder Jake Smolinski (ankle fracture)

When Are Walking Boots Prescribed?

NYC foot doctors typically prefer to prescribe a walking boot, rather than a cast, whenever possible because walking boots:

– Are more comfortable for patients (less warmth, itchiness, option to modify the fit, etc.)

– Can be removed for patients to shower, sleep, or drive

– Immobilize the foot and ankle in much the same way as a cast,

Prevent the need for surgery (in some cases) by keeping the foot / ankle immobilized, and

– Speed the recovery process by allowing the patient to walk, yet still keeping weight off the injury.

What Types of Post-Operative Walking Boot Exist?

There are several different types of walking boot, from Aircast, to Bledsoe Boots, to the CAM Walker, and varying heights from short to tall. Some boots are hinged to allow some early movement, while others are set in a fixed position for maximum stability. Here in Manhattan, a good podiatrist will discuss which type of boot is best suited for your particular injury.

How Long Should Walking Boots Be Worn?

Again, you will need to discuss the timeline for recovery with your foot doctor. Generally speaking, the time generally ranges from seven days (for neuromas/metatarsalgia) to eight weeks (for a broken foot).

Work with a NY Podiatrist to Heal Using a Walking Boot

Walking boots are great tools for recovery, but you should still use them under the supervision of a podiatrist, as NY Mets’ Ike Davis found out in 2011. A basic ankle sprain turned into a season-ender when the walking boot he was wearing for a bone bruise restricted the blood flow so much that he ended up with cartilage damage! NYC podiatrists at The Center For Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine of Manhattan and Westchester are happy to help fit you with a recovery boot that will aid in your recovery. Our full staff includes physical therapists who will ensure you maintain range of motion and flexibility while you heal. Book your appointment today.

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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.