Walking boots, also referred to as CAM boots or moon boots, are medical shoes specially designed to protect your foot after an injury such as a sprain or fracture or help you recover faster after foot surgery.
But do you need to use crutches with a walking boot? Well, the short answer is no, you don’t really need them, but it’s advised that you do use them, or at least use another type of mobility aid, so you’ll not put too much weight on your injured foot.
If you really don’t want to use crutches, for any reason, there are some alternative mobility aids that you can use instead.
Check our guide below on how you can walk in a walking boot without crutches. Here we’ll discuss:
- When you need to wear a walking boot.
- Benefits of walking boots.
- How to properly use and walk in a walking boot.
- Using crutches with walking boots.
- How to walk in a walking boot without crutches.
When You Need To Wear a Walking Boot
Walking boots will protect and help keep the foot stable so it can heal faster. Doctors will advise on wearing walking boots if you have any of these injuries and health conditions:
- Achilles injuries
- Ankle, foot, or shin fractures
- Severe sprains
- Shin splints
- Calf muscle tears
- After an ankle surgery
Remember to follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. For some of these injuries, you’ll need to wear the walking boot 24 hours a day as a replacement for the traditional cast. Some injuries require you to wear the walking boot only when up and moving, and you can remove it for showers or getting into bed. ( You could use a waterproof cast cover while showing.)
Benefits of Walking Boots
- Good shock absorbancy: Walking boots are designed to have an excellent shock absorbency to protect your feet and make walking more comfortable and less painful.
- Protection of your Achilles tendon: walking boots usually come with a tendon protector, which will help take the pressure and stress off your Achilles tendon.
- Wider toe box: When you have an injured foot, a wide toe box is essential to provide you with the most comfort while walking.
- Good stability: They’re designed to offer you good stability to keep your foot in place and help it heal faster, and also help to prevent additional foot injuries.
- Mobility: Walking boots are designed to keep you as mobile as possible, while still protecting and keeping your foot in place while fractured or sprained. They provide you with much more mobility than the traditional casts that are usually used for foot injuries.
- Adjustable size and straps: Walking boots come in different sizes. The doctor will check your size to give you a suitable one. The good thing is that the straps are adjustable so that you can fasten them according to your foot size. The user should fasten the straps enough to keep your heel in place.
How To Properly Use and Walk in a Walking Boot
Before we can see which replacements you can use instead of crutches, it’s good to know how to use and walk with a walking boot properly.
The first thing you have to consider is that the shoe you’re wearing on your healthy, uninjured foot needs to be the same height as the walking boot. Some walking boots have adjustable heel lifts that will help you reach the same height as your regular shoe and ensure your body-weight is distributed evenly.
You must wear the right size boot; otherwise, it’ll not be beneficial. If they’re too big or too small, the boot will not adequately stabilize your heel and foot, and the healing process will not be as successful as it would be with the right boot size.
Using arch support inside the boot is also vital if you want to prevent discomfort and add more stability while walking. It’ll decrease your pain and help your foot to heal faster.
Remember that your foot’s mobility with walking boots is limited, as it doesn’t allow you to move your foot inside. So take short and slow steps, don’t engage in any activities using the foot, as this can worsen your injury and cause additional pain and discomfort.
Using Crutches with Walking Boots
Using crutches while you’re wearing walking boots is recommended since they take your body weight off your feet and relieve the pain.
They facilitate and promote faster healing by alleviating stress and weight to your injured foot. You should also be mindful that they’re not a permanent solution.
Crutches can be awkward and bulky to carry around all day. It’s also hard for some people to get used to them, as you have to use your upper body strength to support your whole body’s weight.
If you’re one of those people, who can’t correctly walk around with crutches or don’t have good upper body strength, we have some alternatives that you can use instead of crutches and still promote healing and moving comfortably without pain.
Check this video, explaining why it’s advised to use crutches with walking boots, and how to use crutches properly with minimum and non-weight bearing:
How To Walk in a Walking Boot Without Crutches
As mentioned above, you’ll have to opt for a replacement and other mobility aids if you don’t want to use crutches.
Here are some replacements that you can use while wearing walking boots.
Use a Cane
Canes or walking sticks are great replacements if you don’t want to use crutches. Good canes are designed to give you stability and strength and are much more comfortable to use.
There is a large selection of canes and walking sticks on the market that you can choose from, and they have different innovative features.
Canes will provide you with good balance, grip, and traction. They’re also less bulky and lighter than crutches, which makes them easier to walk around with.
Canes will not take as much body-weight off of your feet, so if you’re walking with a cane instead of crutches, this could initially cause some minor pain. This pain will decrease as the healing of the foot progresses.
Use a Walker
Good walkers are also a suitable replacement for crutches and are generally more comfortable to use. A walker has a lightweight frame that’s about waist high and is a bit wider than the user, allowing you to grab tight and lean on the frame for support and walking.
The movement with a walker is done by picking it up and moving it a short distance ahead. Then you can slowly move forward, making small steps and holding onto both sides that will provide you with good stability and support. They’re actually very safe and easy to use, and not too expensive if you’re thinking about purchasing one.
There are also walkers with wheels that are better for outdoor walking, but these are expensive, so unless you can borrow one, it is not worth considering for a temporary injury.
Use a Wheelchair
When using a wheelchair, you have no body-weight exerted on your foot, and it will also give you the ability to completely elevate your foot.
All you need to do to get moving is to rotate the wheels with your hands or use an automated system if the wheelchair has one.
You should consider that with using a wheelchair, you’ll not be walking around to get any required exercise. If you’ve been in a wheelchair for a long time, you’ll need to teach your legs how to walk again and re-train the muscles to strengthen them. It’s best to discuss your needs with your doctor, as he’ll know the best options for your fastest recovery.
Also, note that wheelchairs are expensive, so, again, think before investing in one. We recommend getting a wheelchair only with severe injuries, where you feel intense pain when walking with the other mobility aids.
Walking boots and crutches go hand-in-hand with each other. But to answer the question ”do you need crutches with a walking boot?” it’s no. Although they are recommended, there are some alternative optional mobility aids that you can use instead.
So if you don’t want to use crutches, whether because you find them too awkward and bulky to walk with, or they just hurt your arms and upper body, you can use any of the options mentioned above.
But make sure you use some mobility aid along with walking boots, as they will help you recover faster by reducing the body-weight put on your feet and relieve pain while walking.
Whatever option you choose, know that this will hopefully not be permanent, and you’ll be back walking on your feet in no time, without the walking boot or mobility aids.