May 31st, 2024


I’ve been walking around the house in the Aircast boot with no other support for a while now. This was not strictly speaking what they told me to do, because the instructions were “partial weight bearing with boot and crutches” until I saw the consultant six weeks after surgery. But my foot was no longer significantly swollen, the scars had largely healed and I was in virtually no pain, so in the absence of any very clear instructions of what partial weight bearing actually meant, I did this.

From the date of the operation.
Instructions – Two weeks non-weight bearing with crutches. I did the completely non-weight bearing part. I allowed my foot to rest on the floor in the boot when sitting down, but apart from that I used a wheelchair. With our setup it was frankly daft to use the crutches as I was exercising my legs every day anyway and had no problem with my balance. During this time I did not remove the boot even to sleep. I also exercised in it every day – 70 straight leg lifts, 70 bent leg lifts, 30 seated toe touches, 100 various situps plus my usual arm exercises. I did not move my foot at all except for very gentle backward and forwrds movements from the ankle, plus twiddling my toes a bit. I iced my foot for four hours a day by placing an icepack behind my knee (I got this one from a nurse on the Internet who used this technique herself). I also sat with my foot as close to heart height as I could manage for about 80% of the time I wasn’t actually in bed.
Instructions – After two weeks remove dressing (nurse at hospital) then partially weight bearing with boot and crutches for another four weeks. The nurse couldn’t tell me what degree of weight bearing the doctor had meant, so I did this. For the first two weeks (week three and four after the operation) I walked rather gingerly with the boot and two crutches at what I judged might be 50%. At the end of this time I was walking fluently with no pain, so I transitioned to leaning heavily on one crutch (I would estimate 70% weight bearing on to the boot). I would have stuck with this a bit longer, but having to lean behind me with my right arm all the time (not just the crutch but other activities like getting an out of the wheelchair at night) was starting to give me pain in my right arm, so I transitioned to just the boot a bit early (five and a half weeks after the op). Same exercises, still in boot. Added exercise cycle for half an hour a day, also in boot.
At six weeks (which was when I should have seen the consultant, but in practice it was nearly seven weeks by the time I saw him), I removed the front plate from the boot as it was no longer filling any useful purpose. I also started doing the leg exercises with the boot off, although I was still wearing it to cycle. I still iced my foot (now in an ice boot I bought from Amazon) and sat with it elevated for three to four hours a day when possible.

Today I saw the consultant, seven weeks after the op. I was half expecting him to complain about the fact that although I was carrying the crutches for show, I was hardly touching them to the ground at all. I was also a bit nervous that my excessive activity might have caused my foot damage. But in fact he seemed really pleased at how I had come on, examined me, and quite unexpectedly told me to stand up putting my full weight on both bare feet. Bear in mind that I hadn’t done this for more than six months – it was pretty painful but not excruciatingly so.

So in an unexpected move he told me to go home, wear my own supportive shoes, and see the physio for gentle exercises. I am also to walk as much as possible trying to keep my foot straight by deliberately turning it inwards. In six weeks I go to see him again for hopefully the final set of X-Rays.

At home I put my shoes on and walked around a bit. My foot is still skewing outwards, but not half as badly as it was. A bit of pain but not too bad now it is cushioned by my trainers.