What does a fracture walking boot actually do? Well, that’s what we’re talking about today on the Doc On The Run Podcast.
I recently got a comment from Michael on a video on the Doc On The Run YouTube channel which was about how fracture walking boots are one of the worst treatments for an injured runner.
He posted an interesting comment which is really a valid question. He said, “What is the boot for? Is it for protection? Is it for immobilization? Is it to keep weight off? I have a slightly displaced less than two-millimeter fifth metatarsal head fracture. One doctor says I need a boot and the other one says I do not. That sounds really frustrating Michael and it’s a great question.
Fracture walking boot is one of the things that’s most commonly recommended for people that have an injury like a metatarsal fracture and it’s called a fracture walking boot. It’s supposed to protect you when you’re walking, when you have a metatarsal fracture or similar injury in the foot or ankle.
This is a good question. So, number one immobilization. Yes, a fracture walking move because it has this plastic upright and a very stiff sole and four or five straps dependent upon which boot you have, it holds the foot and ankle still. So yes, it’s for immobilization primarily that’s the main thing is for.
Is it for protection? Yes, it will definitely protect you. This thing is very rigid. It’s very stiff. It’s going to protect you a great deal when you have an injury to the foot and ankle, which is why doctors want to put you in it.
The other thing is to keep weight off. Well sort of. Here’s the trick is when you look at the sole of this thing, it’s kind of curved and so, what it does is it decreases some loading through the forefoot. It in a sense of decrease in some of the stress or the forefoot but if your other foot is off the ground and all of your weight is pushing down on the boot, it doesn’t keep weight off of the extremity because your other foot is in the air. So, 100% of your weight is on the boot and on your foot when your other foot is off the ground in a normal gait cycle.
Technically speaking, the boot does not keep weight off of the injured extremity unless you’re treating it as a non-weight bearing cast, meaning you’re using crutches, a wheelchair or something like that to actually keep all of your weight off of the foot.
The fracture walking boot whether or not you really need one based on your circumstances if you’ve got a displaced metatarsal fracture, while you do not want that thing to heal in the wrong position and so the more you step on it, the more you move it, the more it’s going to move. And that’s why your doctor may have said you need a boot and the other one says you don’t need a boot. I don’t know what the circumstances are.
If you’re on crutches, maybe you don’t need a boot if you have some way to keep it still, but you don’t want to move it. And so, if you’re in a cast, well then obviously you don’t need a boot because you have a cast. But when you get these circumstances and you’re confused, you leave the doctor’s office and you don’t really understand the full picture, you got to talk to somebody that understands the injury itself, but more importantly, your desired activity.
Given that you found this on the Doc On The Run YouTube channel, I’m assuming that you want to run. So, you should probably talk to somebody who actually treats runners to get a valid third opinion in your case and you really need one if you’re coming on the Doc On The Run YouTube channel and posting questions like this because obviously you’re not sure.
Do you need a boot? Do you not need a boot. It’s a big difference and there’s a risk with both. The whole premise of the video that you commented on was saying that you know you get weakness, stiffness, loss of neuromuscular connections and obliteration of your running fitness, it can actually predispose you to other overtraining injuries later.
If you don’t need a boot, you shouldn’t use a boot. But if you do need one, you really need to use it. So, make sure you get a third opinion from somebody that understands running injuries.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, you might want to check out the metatarsal stress fracture course. But you got to make sure that you understand your injuries so you can get back to running as quickly as possible. If you liked this episode, please like it, please subscribe and I’ll see you in the next training.