A Moon boot AKA CAM Walker, is one of the most useful, misunderstood and vital tools in a podiatrists armory.
They are useful in providing the ideal healing environment for any number of injuries to the foot and ankle.
They are misunderstood as they’re not just for broken bones or ankle sprains. Nor are they boots for use on the moon.
And vital as they can cut rehabilitation times of injuries drastically and allow faster return to play, return to sports and return to life for many injuries.
How you might ask? Let’s learn about the functional style and beauty of a moon boot.
What are the purpose of moon boots?
CAM Walkers or moon boots are a footwear device designed to optimise loading on injured or pathological structures. Optimise here is the keyword as they don’t completely “offload” a tissue, and most times you wouldn’t want to.
Healing of bones, muscles, tendons and joints after injury or surgery requires loading of those areas inside what I like to call, the goldilocks zone. It’s also been defined as the “zone of optimal stress” by a couple of excellent podiatry minds. When thinking of injuries most occur when we overload an area or tissue. This can be either too much in a short period of time like in an ankle sprain, or an bone fracture. Or it can be repetitively as in tendinopathy, stress fractures and plantar fasciitis. In these instances the loading is only slightly more than the tissue can handle, but repeat applications of slightly too much load leads to these injuries.
In both of these cases a CAM walker can be an excellent option to optimise load and allow healing and rehab to progress. When in a moon boot the foot and ankle movement is reduced. The load on tendons is reduced. The load on muscles is reduced and changed in nature from a combination of concentric, eccentric and isometric muscle contractions, to almost purely isometric loads. Joint loading is greatly reduced as movement is decreased. The load on the plantar fascia is shifted away from large compressive loads when the calcaneus inverts and everts.
By loading our tissues in their goldilocks zone we allow healing to occur at our most optimal rate. It also allows us to complete certain specific and targeted rehabilitation exercises for our sports injuries. This will often occur in a structure rehabilitation program, or potentially in an exercise class where the moon boot might even be removed, and then put back on again post to allow that recovery and repair phase to occur.
Should I buy my moon boot online or should I get one from the chemist?
After reading how good a moon boot is you’re probably itching to get out there and get yourself a CAM Walker. But hold on. There are some things to consider when getting and wearing a moon boot that it’s best to see your podiatrist for.
- Do you need a full moon boot that comes up to just below the knee, or only a half moon boot that just covers the ankle? Depending on your injury, your activities, your goals and your medical history your podiatrist will be the best person to advised on this.
- Do you need your moon boot customised? Podiatrists regularly use orthotics and padding inside of moon boots to change the pressure on the plantar aspect of the foot (for conditions like diabetic foot ulcers) as well as soft tissue injuries like achilles tears.
- What are the risks with wearing a moon boot? Blood clots, falls, hip and knee pain as the areas above the boot have to work harder. A podiatrist is the best professional to guide you through this.
- How often do you need to wear a moon boot and how long for? For some people and some injuries a moon boot might be used for 2-4 hours per day, other people need to wear their moon boot at all times including in bed. Best see that podiatrist.
- What about using crutches with your moon boot? Your podiatrist will advise you if this is needed in the short term, not at all or maybe ongoing.
Where can I find a podiatrist to fit a moon boot near me?
If you’re in and around Melbourne, you’re in luck. Our podiatrists at our PridePlus Health clinics stock moon boots in our Collins St, Queen St, Pascoe Vale and Emerald clinics. You can book in now for a fitting (a consultation) where your podiatrist will develop a moon boot plan for you. When you need to wear it, mitigating any risks, and working through any questions you have about using a moon boot.
For those looking for a detailed technical guide and FAQ on moon boots I suggest heading over to our CAM Walker page here to learn a little bit more, including fitting instructions.
Finally, let’s recap:
Moon Boots are useful and healing injuries. Are misunderstood as they are not just a replacement for plaster casts. And vital at healing your injured foot and ankle as quickly as possible.