Ankle fractures, even if treated surgically, usually take a long time to heal. For all patients with ankle fracture, immobilisation is a critical part of treatment. Short-leg walking boots (WBs) have been reported to be an effective alternative to plaster casts (PCs) that could shorten this postoperative recuperative period. The aim of this study was to compare the functional recovery of a conventional PC with that of a WB after surgery for ankle fractures.


Forty-seven patients (mean age, 53.9 ± 12 years) who had undergone surgical operation for an unstable ankle fracture from January 2008 to October 2014 were reviewed retrospectively. Either a PC or a WB was prescribed postoperatively, with 25 patients and 22 patients, respectively. The time that it took the patient to stand unipedal on the affected side after allowing full-weight bear and to walk without crutches were used for assessment of functional recovery. The prevalence of postoperative loss of reduction and nonunion was also reviewed.


Both the time of being able to stand unipedal on the injured side and to walk without crutches were significantly shorter in patients using WBs (WB, 2.6 weeks; PC, 4.5 weeks, p = 0.01; WB, 1.4 weeks; PC, 3.1 weeks, p = 0.03). There were no patients with loss of reduction or nonunion.


Patients who used WBs showed a significantly faster recovery. WBs have an adjustable heel lift that allows users to change the ankle position slightly plantarflexed that helps walking in a postoperative swollen ankle. WBs are easy to slip on, and it is easy to adjust the ankle position in conformity with swelling so that the least painful position could be maintained during walking. WBs have good fixity to allow immediate weight-bearing postoperatively, and there were no cases with loss of reduction postoperatively. The Rocker bottom design minimises the sagittal plane motion in the specific joint of the foot, which also facilitates the course of recuperation. An ankle fracture fixed appropriately endures loading when a WB is used. The WB treatment results in faster functional recovery, allowing the patients to return to normal activity at a faster rate.

Original article can be found at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214687316302679

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