A broken ankle is a common break for people, especially athletes. I myself broke my fibula last week.
A new study indicates that when your surgeon suggests a cast that they may not be doing you any favors. Walking boots (wb) may be king when it comes to recovery.
Its no surprise that walking boots are more comfortable, anyone in a cast can attest to this. Walking boots are padded, offer multiple adjustments and patients can immediately begin placing weight onto the affected ankle. A walking boots rocker bottom and fixed position prevent unwanted motion and rotation to the ankle while walking.
A Shorter recovery can be achieved in a walking boot.
That is exactly what a study in AP-SMART, (Asia-Pacific Journal of Sports Medicine Arthroscopy, Rehabilitation and Technology) concluded recently. The studies analysis of 47 patients, who received either a cast or walking boot during post surgical recovery, concluded that a shorter recovery is possible when using walking boot.
The walking boot group saw almost a 50% reduction in time on crutches.
Reviewing the actual recovery times in a walking boot versus in a cast, while the walking boot group was older in age, their average time in crutches is significantly less. The walking boot group utilized crutches only 2.5 weeks of the 4.5 weeks of the cast group.
The walking boot group experienced almost a 50% reduction in time on crutches. The wb group was also able to stand on the affected side after allowing full weight bearing in less than 2 weeks. The cast group took double the time stand full weight bearing on the injured ankle.
Regardless of the age differences and the severity of the injury, this study indicates that a walking boot offers plenty of comforts over traditional casts and a more rapid functional recovery. If you find yourself in the surgeons office for a broken or fractured ankle, take this study with you and strongly consider the walking boot.