Have you rolled your ankle or injured your foot and had to spend time in a boot to allow the injury to heal ?
Camwalkers (Moonboots) are used more and more commonly with ankle and foot injuries to protect the injury in their initial stages. During this time the pain for the athlete will reduce a lot, there may be things your physio or doctor allow you to do while in the boot. For example come out of the boot during the day to move the foot through all its movements, or perform calf work in safe positions.
After a period the boot will be removed. However the muscles in the calf and foot have been sleeping. There is no way to avoid it the muscles will be weaker than when you went into the boot and your ankle and foot will be stiff.
Therefore it is important to do exercises and gym work to prepare for your sport. Making sure the different parts of the calf and different functions it has for the ankle are strengthened. Yes, 3 sets of 10 calf raises are not enough!!!
So what to do when first out of the Boot?
Start with working the calf in all different positions to improve the strength and the endurance for when you get back to your sport. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your calf so keep working on it over your entire rehab with your physio. Start performing tasks to challenge the foot and wake up the muscles needed to control all the movements, your reflexes and ability to manage different surfaces and situations will need re-training.
So when can I run ?
Your physio will have lots of different measures that will guide when you can run based on the injury that has required a Moonboot.
As a rough guide a full week walking without any pain or soreness is a good start then preparing the foot and ankle for running. This is done by gym exercises that replicate running like skipping and hopping.(your physio is an expert at this!!). This will also be guided by the type of injury you have sustained.(Bone/Ligament/tendon).
If the calf muscles and ankle are not prepared for the level of activity out of the boot then soreness or secondary injury can occur and slow down the progression back into sport. This is why the strength & endurance is so important.
What should you do when you come out of a boot!
Speak with your physio about calf and ankle exercises
Slowly building up your day to day walking then going into more sport related movements.
You cannot avoid the muscles in the foot and ankle becoming weaker in a boot, so ensure you have
fully restored their function prior to going back to sport.
‘Wake the system up’ – Exercises to prepare the foot and calf are needed before returning to running
Gradual increases in running distances and sessions per week.