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What is a Walker Boot?

By Patti Kate
Updated Feb 18, 2024
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A walker boot is an orthopedic boot specifically created to be used to support the foot, ankle, or calf and immobilize the affected part. These specially designed boots come in high-top or low-top varieties. In many cases, a prescription from a medical professional is required to obtain a walker boot, although some online sources and supply companies offer various styles without a prescription.

Also known as a brace boot or boot cast, the walker boot may be used for various conditions or injuries affecting parts of the foot or lower leg. Tendinitis, bursitis, or some forms of arthritis may be helped by the temporary use of a walker boot. In such a case, the patient's physician may recommend using the orthopedic boot for several weeks to let the affected part rest and heal. This is meant as a safety measure to avoid putting stress or strain on the injured area.

One benefit of using a walker boot is the freedom it allows the patient. By using this specialized boot, a patient is not dependent upon crutches, a cane, or walker in most cases. This allows the ability to move above freely and keep one's hands free. At the same time, the affected foot will be supported by the specially crafted brace with which the boot is equipped.

Most commonly made from sturdy aluminum, the walker boot is typically wider than a normal type of boot. Walker boots typically employ Velcro® straps for easy accessibility. It is common to find walker boots available in most sizes for adults as well as children. They are available for use on either the left or right foot.

Walker boots typically come with a removable liner. Most liners are machine washable. Some walker boots also have removable coverings to protect from dirt and moisture. The high-top walker boot is typically used for an injury to the ankle or calf, while a low-top walker boot is generally worn for injuries to the heel or top part of the foot.

Diabetic walker boots are designed for individuals with ulcerated sores on the feet due to diabetes. These boots are made to relieve pressure on the heel of the foot that may be prone to open sores in a diabetic person. The bottom of the boot is specially created to absorb shock. Many of these boots have specially formulated foam for comfort.

Some patients who are recovering from foot surgery may suffer from slight swelling or edema of the foot or ankle. In such a case, a low profile boot may help reduce pressure and offer support while walking. These boots may be custom ordered, although many can be purchased at most medical supply companies.

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Discussion Comments
By Laotionne — On Aug 14, 2014

@Feryll - Your doctor will tell you when the time has come to switch to the boot. The longer you stay on crutches the more your muscles are going to weaken and that means you will have to spend more time rehabilitating before you get back to normal.

By Animandel — On Aug 14, 2014

If you are worried about switching from crutches to a walking boot, it may help to know that the walking boots should offer a good deal of support. As this article says, the boots are often made of sturdy aluminum. I think most people continue to use canes or crutches if they have any concerns about balance when they first start wearing the boots.

By Feryll — On Aug 13, 2014

Transitioning from crutches to a walking boot worries me a bit. After you stay on them a while and are accustomed to having them to lean on, crutches are difficult to let go of. If you misstep with a boot it's a totally different story.

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