Looking for a walking boot for a stress fracture? Here’s one you can rely on.
Most people take their feet for granted. They are so hardy that they require the minimum attention to keep working. That is until you get an injury. You will then find your movements horribly restricted.
Traditional casts are heavy, uncomfortable, itchy, and not much help for helping you get around. Fortunately, there are now semi-permanent walking boots you can use instead for some foot injuries.
What does a walking boot do for a stress fracture
A walking boot for stress fracture works primarily by immobilizing the injured area of the foot but also provides support and protection for your injured foot so you can go about your daily activities without making the injury worse. Stress fractures are tiny breaks in the bone that you may not even know you had. A walking boot immobilizes the foot itself so the fracture will heal faster. While you should keep pressure off the injured foot as much as possible, a walking boot is the next best thing when you have to move about.
How long to wear a boot for metatarsal stress fracture
Metatarsal stress fractures can happen to anyone, although it is most common with athletes in high impact sports. When you get one of these, you need to keep the injured foot immobilized using a tall, not short, walking boot. You need to immobilize the leg muscles attached to the metatarsal region as well. Expect to wear it for up to 4 weeks, unless the doctor indicates otherwise.
The Aircast SP (Short Pneumatic) Walker Brace Full Review
About the product
This is intended for post-op use, soft tissue injury, as well as forefoot and midfoot injuries. It can be worn on either foot and comes with two pneumatic (air) support cells that can be individually inflated for proper contact. This is a short boot, so it is not suitable for metatarsal stress fractures, bad ankle sprains, ankle fractures, toe fractures, Posterior Tibial Tendonitis, or Peroneal Tendonitis. For these injuries, you need tall air boot stress fracture support.
The product description indicates it is “suitable for stable fractures of the foot and ankle, severe ankle sprains,” which is misleading because experts maintain that such injuries require a tall boot. Upon delivery, the boot does not come with the hand pump, which is supposed to come with the package, although you can request for it specifically.
The boot itself is comfortable and easy to put on and take off. It is also relatively easy to clean. The soft interior cushions the foot while walking. However, it is quite narrow, and people with wide feet may have to get a size or two larger for it to fit. It is somewhat heavy when climbing up and down the stairs. The straps also have a tendency to break and after extended use, the padding needs supplementing.
The product works well for support for short periods and for some conditions only. It does not immobilize the foot sufficiently for stress fracture injuries.
If you don’t like wearing a walking boot and you still want to go to different places, a knee scooter or knee walker might help you. Read our review of the Best Alternative to Crutches here.
What Are the Other Options?
While the Aircast SP seems to be the best option for people with foot and ankle injuries, they might not suit your needs. In this case, we recommend you to take a look at the following boots that will help you ease stress fracture healing and keep you on your feet when you need to do the errands.
The Best Walking Boots for Sprained Ankle
When you have a sprained ankle, it’s critical to choose the boot designed specifically for it. Opt for the tall or medium-sized boot to improve the healing process. Typically, it’s recommended to wear it at least for 2 weeks. It all depends on how serious your foot problem is.
1. Mars Wellness Premium Tall Air Cam Walker Fracture Ankle/Foot Stabilizer Boot
Designed to accommodate a variety of swelling patterns, this stress fracture boot will make your recovery process less painful. Not only does it provides great pain relief, but also ensures comfortable walking. This makes the Mars Wellness stabilizer boot an ideal choice for people who have used to live an active life. The great news is they’re absolutely budget-friendly.
- Contoured struts
- Multi-strand polymer material
- Beveled edged sole
- Pneumatic system Quick Release air valve
- Lowers pressure points
- Weight reduction
- Advanced sole
- Promotes natural fluid gait patterns
- Improved pneumatic system
- Good for stable FX, sprains, and other ankle and foot injuries
- Medium arch support
- Can be worn on either foot
- Not too heavy yet sturdy
- Comfortable enough to promote easier walking
- Can be difficult to wear during the hot summer months
2. United Surgical Air Cam Walker Fracture Boot
If you need a tall boot, this United Surgical model is a great mid-priced option to consider. They’re usually recommended for the fractures in the lower leg and ankle and absolutely affordable. If you can’t stay home even with a damaged leg, this boot will ensure safe and pain-free walking. If you need a strong arch support, though, you might want to consider buying an additional orthopedic insole. Consult your doctor if you have any foot problems apart from the stress fracture.
- Low profile, rocker bottom
- Plastic molded uprights
- Steel reinforcement
- Medial and lateral air cell system
- Boosted durability
- Ensures the natural step
- Lightweight construction
- Uprights with steel reinforcement
- Inflates both sides equally
- Size issues
- Trouble washing
3. Walking Boot/Non-Pneumatic
Unlike the two models mentioned above, this short boot isn’t too bulky and is totally lightweight. It provides medium arch support yet absorbs the heel strike shock. The boot has a high level of maneuverability and allows you to live your ordinary life in spite of a fracture. It will speed up your rehabilitation and relieve the pain, ensuring comfortable walking. However, what this boot lacks is padding. You may need to purchase some extra padding inserts, if you feel discomfort around the shin area.
- Low profile rounded sole
- Shock pod
- Adjustable strapping
- Anti-slip lip
- Easy size accommodations
- Foot protection
- Pain relief
- Great maneuverability
- Accommodates the natural gait pattern
- Swelling management
- Absorbs up to 50% of the force from heel strike
- Arch support
- Weak padding
4. MaxTrax Air Walker Fracture Cast Boot
This low profile fracture cast boot is designed to help treat lower leg, ankle or foot trauma as well as aid in post-op procedures. Apart from being highly durable, the MaxTrax Air Walker boot offers incredible comfort and safety levels. Not only does it help to promote natural gait, but also help to lower plantar pressures. This boot also accommodates shorter tibia and fibula.
- Standard height walking brace
- Malleable uprights breakdown
- Soft nylon and foam liner
- Cushioned outer and inner sole
- Low profile, rocker bottom
- Recommended for acute ankle sprains, bunionectomies, metatarsal fractures, stable and stress fractures of the foot
- Accommodates shorter tibia and fibula
- No seams
- Provides great shock absorption
- Reduces plantar pressures
- Promotes natural gait
- Wide foot bed
- Not detected
The Best Walking Boots for Broken Foot
The right walking boot can play a huge role in how fast and effective your healing process will be. Pick your best walking boot for broken foot below but remember to consult your doctor before you make your final choice. It’s critical to choose the boot based on the severity of the foot injury.
1. BraceAbility Short Broken Toe Boot
This versatile short boot is designed for both left and right foot. But what makes this stress fracture boot special is that it features extra foam pads that will help fill gaps in the boot. This feature is particularly great for people with skinny ankles. This boot aids in promoting the healing process of many foot problems, including a broken big or pinky toe or overall broken foot.
- 11 inches tall
- Arched bottom
- Open toe area
- Velcro closures
- Deluxe foam material
- Two straps over the ankle and over the foot
- Arching rocker design
- Toe rubbing prevention
- Enhanced breathability
- Wide foot bed for swelling and bandaging
- Different sizes
- Arch support
- Low profile
- Improved mobility
- Reinforced with metal uprights
- Lightweight yet well-constructed
- Aids with injuries like stress fractures to the ankle or foot, broken toes, sprains of the big toe or ankle, or diabetic ulcers
- Good for wearing after a bunion surgery
- Size issues
2. Aircast FP (Foam Pneumatic) Walker Brace
If you’re looking for an extremely comfortable walking boot for a broken foot, Aircast must be your choice. The boot allows flexibility around the calf for more comfort, fit, and strength. They’re relatively lightweight yet still sturdy, but you’ll need a little time to learn how to walk in it without falling. Overall, it’s ideal for daily activities and even exercises if your doctor permits. This boot might be a bit costly, but it’s worth its price tag.
- Universal fit
- 2 adjustable distal air cells
- Hand bulb air pump
- Low rocker sole
- Customized support level
- Modern design for both the left and right legs
- Pneumatic support
- Excellent protection
- Great mobility
- Provides compression
- Supports malleoli
- Ample room for dressings
- Promotes a natural ambulation
- Recommended for stable fractures of the ankle and foot, soft tissue injuries, severe ankle sprains, midfoot and forefoot injuries, bunionectomies, as well as post-operative use
- Speeds up a healthy recovery
- Weak cushion
3. Ossur Rebound Air Walker Walking Boot
Despite having some size issues, the Ossur Rebound Air Walker walking boot is a great option to consider when you have foot fracture or break. The boot offers extra protection against re-injury and its walker shell accommodates the most of the calf sizes.
- Flexible design
- Variety of sizes
- Rocker bottom
- Trimmable semi-soft toe bumper
- Flexible walker shell
- Flex Edge over mold
- Front placement straps
- Integrated air pump
- Promotes a natural, stable gait
- Extra protection
- Fits more calf sizes
- Relieves pressure points
- Adapts to the anatomy
- Easy doffing and donning
- Provides consistent compression
- Can be used on either foot
- Recommended for postoperative and rehabilitation, foot trauma, stable ankle and foot fractures, and grade 2 and 3 ankle sprains
- Size issues
4. Corflex Broken Foot Metatarsal Fracture Boot
Keep living your ordinary life with this flexible and comfortable boot. Constructed of quality materials, the Corflex boot will serve you and your family for many years. Once you recover from the injury, store it a safe place just in case you need it. It’s a great investment in your health.
- Contact closure straps
- Padded liner
- Rigid malleable metal uprights
- Low natural heel height
- Mild arch support
- Measured by shoe size
- Decreases leg length discrepancy
- Recommended for severe strains and sprains, stable foot fractures, post-cast and post-op removal
- Not detected
4 Things to Consider When Choosing the Right Stress Fracture Boot
Even if your doctor has already prescribed you some stress fracture boot, consider the following crucial things before investing in one. If you buy the stress fracture boot and you experience the pain or/and discomfort, it means you chose the wrong type of the boot.
1. Types of stress fracture boots
There are a great number of different kinds of walking boots for ankle and foot injuries and each type is used to treat and heal a certain trauma. One of the biggest differences between them is how soft or stiff the boot is. The stiffer your boot, the higher level of support you get since there’s less mobility provided. Each type of boot has various soles that ensure a pain relief and comfortable walking. The flat soles are typically skid-proof and help to avoid slipping on icy and wet surfaces while the rocker soles create a natural, confident forward step.
2. Quality and price
Depending on how serious your foot or ankle trauma is, you may end up wearing the stress fracture boot for several months until the recovery or rehab process completes. In this case, it’s better to splurge on a high quality, sturdy boot that will survive your entire healing process. The cheaper boot may provide you the same level of comfort and support but it can fall apart in the middle of your work day. Eventually, you may end up spending more money on two cheap boots than on one expensive but the quality boot.
3. Daily use
Although the stress fracture boot is designed to help you live your ordinary, active life, don’t overdo it. You can walk the same amount of miles you walked before and you can’t work out intensively. Do everything in moderation and don’t overstress your injured foot or ankle. Moreover, be sure to practice walking in the boot at home. It may take a while before you learn how to walk in the stress fracture boot without falling or harming your healthy foot/ankle.
If you want your walking boot to serve you the next time you or someone in your family (God forbid) experience a foot or ankle injury, make sure you take a good care of it. Avoid getting your boot wet and don’t step in the puddles. Keep your boot – especially the inner fabric part of it – dry and clean. If your boot features a removable sleeve, consider laundering it at least once a week. Not only will you keep your boot brand new by cleaning it regularly, but you will also fight any bacteria and dirt that can cause additional foot issues.
How to Wear the Stress Fracture Boot Correctly
In order to keep your second leg healthy, you need to learn how to walk in the stress fracture boot correctly. No worries, it’s not rocket science; just take the following baby steps:
1. Wear a shoe of the same height
Remember your legs should even, so once you get the stress fracture boot, consider buying the shoe with a high platform so that it’ll be of the same height as the boot. The running and tennis shoes often do the trick. If you have trouble finding it though, check out if you can wear the adjustable heel lift. There are a few types of thicknesses to choose from, allowing you to find the most comfortable heel lift for your healthy leg.
2. Protect your hip, back, and knee
If you often experience hip, back, or knee pain, ensure your gait is as symmetric and natural as possible. If a rocker on your shoe doesn’t match the rocker on the boot, consider purchasing the even-up device to protect your hip, back, and knee and prevent any pain related to it. The even-up device straps to the shoe bottom, providing a symmetric gait.
3. Consider arch support
Whether you have flat feet or you face other foot problems, using orthotics will alleviate any discomfort and pain. If you need a strong arch support, look for the orthotic designed specifically for stress fracture boots. Proper arch support will aid in healing and healthy walking.
4. Use a sock liner
Protect your skin from corns and irritation by wearing a cushy sock liner. Some patients wear small towels to save money without sacrificing the comfort.
5. When in doubt, use a cane
If you still have trouble wearing the stress fracture boot, try using a cane in the opposite hand. This way, you’ll decrease 30 – 40% of the pressure you’re putting on the injured foot or ankle. Don’t hold the cane on the same side as the injured leg, though, as it can lead to pain and worsen your healing. Move a cane forward at the same pace and time as the injured leg.
Life is unpredictable and you never know what will happen. Thankfully, we live in the world where most things are designed to help us survive the roughest times. If you break your foot or injure your ankle, wearing the right stress structure boot will ease the burden and speed up the healing and rehab processes. Just because you have an injured foot doesn’t mean you should stay home. Get outside and enjoy your life!