If you have recently had a surgery that involves the ankle area or if you suffered an ankle or foot fracture, your physician may recommend that you be fitted with a cam walker. The cam walker mimics that of a traditional cast---with a few perks. Cam walkers can be removed at bedtime and for baths. More importantly, the cam walker can even be removed if you have an itch.
What is a Cam Walker?
A cam walker is a boot that is worn to stabilise an injured ankle or foot. Scheck and Siress Prosthetics, Orthotics and Pedorthics explains that the cam walker has an adjustable ankle joint that can place further restrictions on movements made while wearing the boot. The cam walker has a foam liner that is placed inside of aluminium or hard plastic uprights.
Cam walkers are designed to be worn during the waking hours of the day; however, severe cases may require the cam walker to be worn 24 hours a day in the beginning. How long and how often the device is to be worn will depend on physician recommendations. Most physicians will recommend that the cam walker be worn whenever the patient is mobile. According to Jim Verhoff and Associates, Orthotics and Prosthetics of Rolla, Missouri, the patient's foot should be placed firmly in the foam insert of the cam walker. The foam insert should then be secured around the foot. Finally, the straps of the cam walker should be pulled tightly and secured in order to restrict movement before any type of physical activity is performed.
The cam walker should be removed during bathing or showering with physician approval. If a physician has requested that the cam walker be worn at all times, special accommodations will have to be made to see that it does not get wet. For some people, this may mean taking a sponge bath for the time being or applying a protective covering while showering. According to apcorthotics.com.au, it is important to sit down while removing the cam walker to prevent falls.
Some physicians may require that the cam walker be worn at bedtime during the initial phase of healing. Although the experience can be uncomfortable, it is not impossible. Australian Orthotic Technologies explains that certain precautions should be taken when wearing a cam walker while sleeping. For instance, blisters or bedsores can develop on the heel of the foot due to increased pressure. Therefore, it is essential that the foot be checked regularly to see if bedsores are developing. Any sign of bedsores should be immediately evaluated by a physician.
A cam walker that is worn on a regular basis can begin to develop an odour. Plattners Orthopedic Company recommends washing the foam liner by hand using only a mild soap and cold water. A clean sock should always be worn to help keep odour at bay and if at any time during cleaning a crack in the device is noticed, the physician should be contacted immediately. Also, bed time wearers may want to consider washing the bottom of the cam walker's boot frequently with soap and water.