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Paging All Podiatrists:
Pneumatic Boots

Prefabricated static walker boots have increasingly become the gold standard for podiatrists across the country. These walkers have been designed as an alternative to traditional cast immobilization. The indications for use of walking boots include severe sprains, ankle and foot fractures and postsurgical
stabilization after tendon or ligament repairs. These boots offer several advantages over a synthetic walking cast. First, walking boots can be removed easily to allow rangeof- motion exercises and direct visualization of the injured area. Second, the cost of these walking boots has reached levels well below their synthetic cast counterpart. Third, walking boots allow both the injured limb and the boot to be cleaned when necessary. Finally, walking boots have a less adverse effect on kinematic and kinetic gait patterns than a synthetic walking cast.

However, independent research indicates that these devices are not the best solution for reducing shear forces, edema and maximizing patient outcomes. Pneumatic walkers, which have air bladders within their rigid shell, are just as effective as walking casts and static walker boots in healing severe sprains, ankle and foot fractures and post surgical stabilization. In fact, pneumatic walkers maintain a superior contact fit through which patients experience significantly less edema, shear forces, tenderness and joint stiffness; thus maximizing patient outcomes. These boots are also lightweight and convenient to use. Using a pneumatic walker offers a promising off-weighting device and potentially has less risk for ulceration while allowing for local woundcare.

“In fact, pneumatic walkers maintain a
superior contact fit through which patients
experience significantly less edema, shear forces,
tenderness and joint stiffness; thus maximizing
patient outcomes.”

Key Points:

Patient advantage At a minimum, prescribing a pneumatic walker instead of a static walker may lower or even diminish incidence of lower extremity atrophy and osteoporsis and potentially reduce forthcoming physical therapy.

Physician advantage Reimbursement rates for pneumatic boots are almost double the rates of static boots! They offer the prescribing physician an excellent practice building resource while still improving patient care. (please see Reimbursement Table).

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