Pairing a walking boot with an athletic shoe effectively offsets the elevated contralateral peak plantar pressures that can result from the limb length discrepancy created by the boot, according to research from Midwestern University in Glendale, AZ.
The investigators analyzed calcaneal peak plantar pressures in 12 healthy subjects while wearing a high-calf walking boot with a rocker bottom sole on one foot. On the contralateral foot, subjects were barefoot, wore a moderately worn athletic shoe, or wore a modified walking boot. The modified walking boot featured metal uprights that had been sawed off at the medial and lateral malleoli to allow for ankle motion, but was identical to the original walking boot with regard to heel height, durometer, and rocker sole.
Both shoe-boot combinations resulted in contralateral peak pressures that were significantly lower than the barefoot-boot combination. However, peak pressures did not differ significantly between the athletic shoe and the modified walking boot.
The findings were published in the March-April issue of the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association.