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Transition From Walking Boot to Normal Shoe

Minute Read


Posted 5 months ago


Last updated: 04/12/2022


by James McCormack

How to Transition From a Walking Boot to a Normal Shoe

It is common to wear a walking boot to help you recover from injuries such as a severe ankle sprain, metatarsal fracture and Achilles Tendon Repair. The type of injury that takes place influences the amount of time required in a walking boot and the time it takes to wean out of the boot and into a normal walking shoe.

This article will cover the most common foot and ankle injuries that are placed in a boot, and we will explain in each case how to transition from a walking boot to a normal shoe. 

Transition From Walking Boot to Normal Shoe: Metatarsal Fracture

The most common type of metatarsal fracture is a 5th Metatarsal Fracture, and even so, there are different types of 5th Metatarsal Fractures. The most common type is a 5th Metatarsal Stress fracture which usually requires 4-6 weeks in a walker boot for the bone to heal.

During weeks 4-6, we normally suggest that you begin to Transition From Walking Boot to Normal Shoe if you are symptom-free. The weaning process typically involves walking indoors in the cushioned trainer for a week. If this is pain-free, then begin to do short walks outdoors for 10-15 minutes and increase these by 10 minutes daily if you are pain-free. If you transition to the next stage and begin to experience pain, we suggest going back to the earlier stage for a couple of weeks, but in most cases, the Transition From Walking Boot to Normal Shoe is smooth.

Related Article: Symptoms & Treatment for 5th Metatarsal Fractures

Transition From Walking Boot to Normal Shoe: Hindfoot Fracture

A Hindfoot Fracture to the Calcaneus bone or the Talus bone can be a bit slower to heal, especially a Talus Bone Fracture, as they need to be fully healed before beginning the Transition From Walking Boot to a Normal Shoe. It can take up to 12 weeks for a Talus Fracture to begin this process.

Once permission is granted from your Physical Therapist, you can begin the Transition From Walking Boots to Normal Shoe. Ideally, this would begin with a cushioned trainer or with a trainer that has a heel cushion placed inside it. Begin 1-2 weeks of walking indoors before walking outdoors. A common complication of a Talus Fracture is stiffness and reduced ankle range of motion. A rocker shoe can be beneficial in this instance as it facilitates a normal gait cycle.

Related Article: Treatment for talus Fractures

Transition From Walking Boot to Normal Shoe: Achilles Tendon Repair

After Achilles Tendon Repair, a patient is normally placed in a boot with heel raises inserted in the walker boot. Weight-bearing and walking in the boot is allowed, and over 6 weeks, the heel raises are slowly removed as recommended by a patient’s Orthopaedic Consultant.

Once all the heel raises have been removed, a patient can begin to transition from a walking boot to a normal shoe. We usually recommend placing a heel raise inside a cushioned running shoe when Transition From Walking boots as there is a high stack on a walker boot. We recommend walking indoors for the first week and then 10-15minutes outside as pain allows. Over 2-3 weeks, it is customary to reduce the heel raises in the shoe slowly, and it can be helpful to wear a running shoe with a 12-14mm heel raise in the long term.

Related Article: Achilles Tendonitis 

Transition From Walking Boot to Normal Shoe: Sprained Ankle

In a sporting environment, athletes are usually placed in a walker boot immediately after injury, regardless of the severity of the ankle sprain. The walker boot holds the ankle in a neutral position and provides the optimal environment for a ligament to heal in a shortened position. However, walker boots are generally reserved for severe ankle sprains in the general public.

For mild to moderate ankle sprains, patients usually spend 1-2 weeks in a walker boot, while severe sprains spend 3-4 weeks in a walker boot before beginning their Transition From Walking Boot to a Normal Shoe. Unlike fractures, patients can typically transition to a normal shoe immediately. In a sporting environment, they may wear an ankle brace for 2-6 weeks for additional support, especially if it is a high ankle sprain.

Related Article: Sprained Ankle Treatment 

Physiotherapy with James McCormack

This is not medical advice and you should consult your healthcare practitioners before removing a boot. and we recommend a consultation with a medical professional such as James McCormack before trying any of these exercises. James offers Online Physiotherapy Appointments for £45.

Related Article: Causes of Pain on the top of the foot

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