A CAM walker boot allows you to walk even after a severe foot or ankle injury. This Buzzle article presents information on types of CAM boots and how these boots promote faster recovery.
Did You Know?
Immobilization of a fracture site can be done internally or externally. The process helps maintain the realignment of a bone over an extended period of time. It promotes healing and recovery. For immobilization by external fixation, doctors use splints, casts, or braces. This may be the primary and only procedure for fracture treatment.
Stress fractures of the foot are common among military recruits, athletes who participate in high-impact sports, and others who suddenly increase their level of physical activity. Cigarette smoking, a high body mass index, and menopause (as it leads to low bone density in women) are some of the main contributing factors for ankle fractures.
Types of CAM Boots and Different Accessories
Some CAM boots come with an adjustable bladder for inflation of the boot. These boots are also known as Air CAM Walkers. The patient can inflate the air bladder until he feels the effect of compression. A snug fit boot promotes increased stabilization of the injury. These boots are useful for leg, ankle, and foot injuries. They come with a rigid plastic cover that encloses the leg and foot, and ensures maximum protection. The swelling pattern in fractures and severe injuries varies from patient to patient. As the swelling reduces, the patient can adjust the level of inflated air.
Patients with minor injuries may use these boots. They have an open design or can be in the form of ‘easy wrap’. Although they don’t have inflatable bladder, they provide required support for all parts, leg, ankle, and foot. They come with a foam liner for ankle and foot protection. They are less expensive than the Aircasts. One can decide whether to buy a foam-padded or Aircast walking brace depending upon the nature of the injury.
One may choose high or low top boots depending upon their specific needs.
Some boots have wide bases while some have memory foam so that the foot fits in it perfectly. They are well-designed to provide stability.
These boots are ideal when the ankle needs to be fixed at a certain angle. With the help of the setting provided, you can adjust the up and down movement of the ankle. You can have a fixed set point for immobilization of your ankle or you can have a fixed set angle for the desired range of movement.
In case of an injury to Achilles tendon, the patient may require a hind-foot wedge. Modern specially designed wedge has peel-away layers. The health care professional can remove the layers one by one as required and can adjust the height of the wedge during the recovery process. This progressive adjustment of the wedge is beneficial for plantar flexion.
Full length (knee high), or shorter (mid-calf high) socks that are universally designed to fit the right and left leg are available in the market. One size fits all.
Some boots are so designed that they fit either foot (no need to choose left or right). The boots have light-weight open frames that promote ventilation. The frame is also designed in a way that it’s easy to insert and remove the foot. Basically, these boots are designed with user-friendly features to increase the comfort level of the patient significantly.
Using a CAM Walker Boot
Since the boot is kind of a medical equipment, the patient should clearly understand the nature, extent, and severity of his/her problem. The boots are usually prescribed for sprains, fractures, diabetic ulcers, Achilles tendon injuries, and surgeries. A person suffering from sprain may have to use the boot for 4-6 weeks, while one who has a fracture may have to use it for 8-12 weeks. As the foot bears the weight of your body, it is essential to take proper care during the recovery process, after a lower extremity injury. A patient with a fracture may initially use the boot as a cast. He/she will be able to remove it while bathing, sleeping or during ice-application. After a few days, when the foot is capable of bearing some weight, he/she can move around with the boot.
CAM Walker Boot Instructions
The boots are designed in a way that one can easily put on and remove them. But one should strictly follow the instructions of his/her physician regarding the use of the CAM boot. Moreover, the height of the boot wedge or the range of motion of the ankle should not be adjusted by the patient. The physician would do this after observing the nature of the injury and the progress during the recovery process.
✦ Choosing the right boot is very important for foot stability and ease of movement.
✦ Wear a mid-calf high or knee-high tube sock before putting on the boot. This helps prevent the irritation caused by straps.
✦ Slowly place the injured foot into the boot. Make sure the foot rests exactly on the brace to fit snugly.
✦ In case of foam padding, wrap it around the foot, ankle, and lower leg, starting at the foot. Adjust the Velcro edges and make sure that the fitting is comfortable and there are no wrinkles. Then fasten the straps on the walker, starting at the foot.
✦ While fastening the hook and loop of the outer frame, see to it that it’s not too tight, otherwise it can hamper blood circulation.
✦ If you are allowed to move around, the injured foot should be put forward first, while walking.
✦ In case of any pain, redness, bruising, or blistering, you should contact your physician immediately.
✦ You can hand-wash the liner in cold water with mild detergent and you can wipe the outer cast with wet cloth or tissue. In case the liner becomes worn, you don’t have to buy the boot again. Replacement liners for CAM walker medical boots are available in the market. The liner comes with a replacement cushion insert.
✦ Follow your doctor’s guidelines regarding the wearing schedule. The schedule will depend upon the nature and severity of your problem and the speed of recovery as well.
These medical boots not only speed up the healing process, but they also allow you to walk before complete recovery. Like other rehabilitation products, they improve the overall functional ability of the patient, and lower the burden on professional caregivers.