A rather interesting photo surfaced in the British newspapers, featuring Chelsea Clinton, whom you all remember as the daughter of the former President and current Secretary of State Bill Clinton, wandering about the streets of Manhattan in a fracture boot. The nature of her injury is unclear, although it may be related to a prior heel fracture that almost made Chelsea’s walk down the aisle a limp down the aisle two years ago. All which brings us to the topic- what is a fracture boot and how can it be used to treat injuries, sprains, and fractures of the foot and ankle?
Some of the more common ailments that I treat in my NYC podiatry practice are fractures, especially in the toes and metatarsals. These injuries as well as sprains, ligament injuries, and stress fractures are usually due to overuse or sports injuries. In most cases, the injury will heal well, given some time and rest. As I often tell my patients, the body wants to heal, we just have to enable it to do so.
One of the best ways to accomplish this is through the use of a CAM (controlled ankle motion) walker or fracture boot. You’ve probably seen these boots- they look like ski boots, large plastic boots with Velcro straps, and extend to the mid-leg or knee. A foot in a CAM walker moves as one unit with the ankle, limiting foot motion and relieving pressure from the joints and bottom of the foot. The bottom is a rocker, or rounded, which limits heel-toe walking and distributes pressure more evenly along the bottom of the foot.
So instead of placing my NYC podiatry patients in a fiberglass cast and requiring the use of crutches, patients who are injured or recovering from certain types of surgery can walk in a fracture boot, maintaining nearly full mobility while healing. This has ushered in a quiet revolution in healing foot and ankle injuries, and in my practice, casts are almost never used for injuries–only to facilitate recovery after limited types of surgeries.
This is great for the active patient, which includes almost everyone in Manhattan-including, Chelsea. So if that injury doesn’t heal, I’ll squeeze you into the schedule; it would be great to have a patient who comes in, rather than leaves, with a Bill.
See you in the office.
Ernest L. Isaacson, DPM