In dealing with a chronic ankle problem for over a decade, I’ve had to learn non-weight bearing and partial weight-bearing tips.
After three surgeries, I don’t think my ankle is going to improve much from what the situation is currently. So I deal with non weight-bearing and partial weight bearing frequently.
In this post, I am providing information I’ve learned about non-weight bearing and partial weight bearing tips and restrictions.
For instance, you might be told not to be weight bearing after an injury or surgery on your foot, ankle, or leg.
Non-Weight Bearing Status:
Do not place any weight through the surgical/injured leg. This includes resting your feet or toes on the ground. While walking and sitting, make sure to keep your foot elevated off of the ground at all times.
What Is Partial Weight-Bearing?
With partial weight-bearing, a small amount of weight is permissible on the affected extremity.
The weight gradually increases so that the patient can ambulate but still needs the use of an ambulatory device like a cane, crutches, or walker.
Technically, physical therapists and surgeons refer to partial weight-bearing as up to but not exceeding 50% of your weight.
Is Driving Considered Weight Bearing?
Yes. It is considered weight-bearing to drive a car. So, you should not drive if you are non-weight bearing.
Being non-weight bearing means you cannot put any weight whatsoever on your injured foot. So constantly moving your foot from the gas to the brake pedal breaks this mandate, and could lead to complications to your injury or surgery.
Not being able to drive is difficult if you live alone with a long-term injury or permanent disability. And also don’t live near a bus stop.
Someone here asked me if it is legal to drive while wearing a walking boot.
Is It Legal To Drive With A Walking Boot On?
Most states have no explicit or specific regulations with respect to driving in a lower extremity cast, a lower extremity immobilization device, or after foot and/or ankle surgery.
Despite the safety risks, patients currently have no legal barriers to driving while wearing a cast on either of their feet.
I searched all over for information concerning state laws about this, and could find no legal barrier information in terms of driving with a walking boot.
How To Shower When Non-Weight Bearing:
It is possible to shower by sitting on a plastic stool or chair. If you must shower in a tub, I advise you to ask your doctor about showering.
I shower in a tub on a plastic stool, but I have no restrictions on raising my leg to get into the bath tub.
How To Bathe With A Cast:
If wearing a cast, it’s important to wrap the limb with either a shower guard or plastic bag to protect the integrity of the cast.
Cast covers can be purchased and come in a variety of sizes. They offer a waterproof barrier between the leg and cast.
Can Your Foot Touch The Ground When Non-Weight Bearing?
Most people cannot accurately gauge how much weight they’re putting on a foot even if they’re just grazing the floor with it. Putting any weight on an operated foot or ankle can damage the repair that’s been done.
Bones need time to heal. Plates or screws that may have been added during surgery need the bones to heal around them. Adding weight too soon can interrupt this important internal healing process.
Equally important, surgical wounds heal better when they are not stressed by weight.
All procedures that involve surgical cutting need a period of no weight so incisions can heal.
In addition, a period of non-weight bearing also helps reduce swelling, which is common after foot or ankle surgery.
Keeping swelling down will help tissues heal more quickly, and sometimes elevation helps control pain.
How Will You Get Around?
If your surgeon has said that avoiding any weight on your foot is essential to healing, there are several options to consider.
Many patients use crutches after surgery to keep their affected foot off the ground. Adjustment is important. You should be able to fit two fingers under your arm when standing with crutches.
With your arms hanging down, the crutch handle should be at the crease of your wrist. For some patients, a standard walker may also be useful.
Also known as a knee walker, the knee scooter is designed with a knee pad and wheels. You place your knee on the pad and roll yourself forward using handle bars to balance and steer. Brakes help keep the scooter stationary when you get off of it.
Accessories can include a basket for stowing your cell phone or medication, a cup holder, and non-skid wheels. Knee scooters can be rented or purchased and may be covered by insurance.
Narrower and lighter than a wheelchair, the seated scooter allows you to roll about from a seated position. And like the knee scooter, you get around using your own power, though some models come in powered versions.
Similarly, accessories such as a basket and cup holder add to convenience. Brakes typically are standard, and seated scooters can be rented or purchased.
Currently I have pain when I turn my right foot inward. So my physical therapist has told me to walk as little as possible for the time being.
If this kind of thing goes on much longer, I am going to have to look into buying a motorized scooter.
Rental rates are pretty expensive. But I would probably rent one first, and then make a decision about whether to purchase one.
The doorways here are not very wide, so I would have to take that into account.
Note: This information about Non-Weight Bearing & Partial Weight Bearing Tips was compiled through research and by my own experience. I am not a medical professional. Always follow the advice of your doctor.