What is a CAM Walker?
CAM (Controlled Ankle Movement) Walkers, also known as 'Moon Boots', are crucial load optimisation tools. They can be used to decrease the load, the movement and the work done by any number of different structures around the foot and ankle. As such, a CAM Walker plays an important role in a podiatrist or physiotherapist's tool chest for getting you through your injury - and back performing at your best.
Why you wear them?
CAM walkers are designed to immobilise the foot and ankle to allow for offloading & repair in a similar manner to a plaster cast. However, it has the benefit of being removable for showering and rehabilitation.
The rigid sole and supportive sidewalls allow the least amount of load to go through key areas such as the big toe joint, the midfoot, the heel and the ankle.
Indications for use include:
- Fractures of many of the foot and ankle bones
- Post-surgery immobilisation
- Acute trauma eg: ankle sprains
- Growth plate fractures of growing children
- Aggressive load optimisation of tendon and fascia pathologies to allow symptom relief and early rehabilitation
- Nerve compression pathologies of the foot and ankle
A CAM Walker needs to be fitted and prescribed as part of your foot and ankle injury management program. Your podiatrist or physiotherapist will advise you if a CAM Walker is required, or other load optimisation tools such as footwear, orthotics, bracing, strapping, padding or gait re-training.
How to put on your CAM Walker
- Place your leg into your CAM Walker, ensuring heel is right back & making contact with the bottom.
- Close liner firmly around the foot and leg.
- Begin with the strap over the middle of your foot closest to the ankle, feed the strap through the "D" ring and pull it firmly.
- Next, fasten the strap closest to the toes and work your way back up to the top of your leg.
- Ensure that all straps are secured firmly. They should not cause any discomfort but need to be firm in order to immobilise your foot and ankle.
- You can use the pads provided under this to prevent rubbing.
How to walk with a CAM Walker on
- Slowly and carefully at first. Your podiatrist or physiotherapist will take you through your first steps.
- Try to keep the CAM Walker pointing forwards in the direction you’re walking as the rocking motion of the sole will move you where you want to go.
- Take shorter strides on both the CAM Walker and un-injured side.
- Avoid stairs and uneven surfaces, particularly when first getting used to it.
CAM Walker Care
- Wearing a sock helps protect the CAM walker liner from sweat as well as keeping your toes warm. The liner can be washed gently by hand if required.
- A compression sock/stocking might be prescribed or advised as well to limit oedema and reduce risk of DVT (deep vein thrombosis).
- Resting with your foot elevated in it can help reduce oedema as well.
Footwear (for on your other foot)
- Wear stable & supportive footwear (ie runners) on your other foot. As the heel height is similar to the CAM walker.
- You may need crutches to assist walking safely particularly when first getting used to it.
- Walking in a CAM walker is very different from shoes. Take your time, be careful.
As with everything in life, there are a few things you should know about and plan around:
- You can not legally drive with the boot on.
- Your muscles above your knee on the side wearing the CAM Walker will have to work much harder to carry the weight of the boot. Be prepared for some tired quadriceps early, and if you’re wearing it for a period of time, expect some strength to develop in those quads.
- Due to prolonged immobilisation, there is a risk of (DVT) Deep vein thrombosis occurring, therefore if you feel any extreme heat or pain in the back of your leg head to Hospital ASAP.
- As your foot no longer will be making direct contact with the ground there is an increased risk of falls and any underlying balance insufficiency should be taken into consideration with even up devices, crutches and scooters all options to counter this.
If you need a CAM Walker then call and book in with the Podiatrists at one of our clinics where they will assess and fit a CAM Walker if appropriate, as well as guide you on your journey back to health.