If you injured your leg or foot check out these real life tips on how to survive a non-weight bearing cast – or splint. I didn’t think getting around on one foot would be so challenging, I don’t know what I was thinking! Here’s my story as well as some awesome tips and tools that have made everything so much easier. This post contains affiliate links.
Guess what I did recently? After nearly a year of aggravating pain, I had ankle surgery to repair a torn peroneal tendon. I was pretty nervous about the surgery but it was quick and went well and in the end I know it will help me get back to walking normally again.
What happened? Well I twisted my ankle nearly a year ago and for months thought I had just sprained it or possibly broken my fifth metatarsal. If it was broken, I figured it would heal quickly, since I did the same thing to the other foot back in college and all they did for me then was make an orthotic for the inside of my shoe and sent me on my way.
I was fine in just a few days (through a great deal of stubborness I’m sure) and insisted I could rejoin the volleyball team, but per doctor’s orders I wasn’t allowed – but that’s a story for another day.
So this time around when I twisted my other ankle it felt exactly the same as it did back then so I figured it would it was no big deal. I’ve also found out since, that breaking your fifth metatarsal is a big deal and usually incredibly painful! For whatever reason, I was very lucky back in college. With my recent injury, I went on my way and tried ignoring the pain. I iced and elevated and rested when it got bad, but instead of getting better, it hung around for ages.
Then, it started getting worse. As months went by I found myself hesitating whenever I had to go anywhere where I would be walking on unsolid ground. About 4 months later or so, I realized I was starting to say no to things I would have enjoyed doing because it was hurting too bad.
It was time to see the doctor.
I went to our local urgent care and they took an Xray and told me they could find nothing wrong. They recommended I see an orthopedic doctor. I was not happy. I again tried to go on with life and ignore it and pretend it was fine but it wasn’t.
Another couple months went by and I found that even just sitting in a regular chair hurt. I couldn’t sit at the dining room table to eat dinner or play games with the kids without being in agony. The only thing that helped was to sit on our couch with my feet up.
So I made an appointment with an orthopedic doctor and after many months of seeing him, getting Xrays, MRI’s etc he finally decided surgery was the way to go to fix the tendon.
The doctor told me that after the surgery I would be in a non-weightbearing splint for 2 weeks, the a non-weightbearing cast for 3 weeks, then move to a boot but still be non-weightbearing for another 2 weeks then move to partial weightbearing and then finally full.
As I mentioned the surgery was pretty quick and went well. I woke up in my splint and have been in it for the past two weeks. Honestly, I thought I was going to be be very prepared and that getting around once I got home wasn’t going to be a problem.
Turned out I was wrong.
For some reason I thought I would be able to do everything just fine on crutches. I totally forgot about the part where I wouldn’t be able to carry anything at all unless it was in a backpack.
And even so, since I was non-weight bearing there were times that made even using the crutches very difficult – including transitioning from standing to sitting or vice versa, trying to get anything out of the cupboard or refrigerator, trying to put on makeup or dry my hair, the list goes on.
It wasn’t long after, that I started looking at knee scooters. Dave had suggested getting one prior to the surgery but I blew him off. I honestly thought I was going to be bopping around on the crutches not needing any help.
By the third or fourth day I was tired of having to ask Dave and the kids for everything, tired of how unsteady I was on the crutches, tired of how sore my armpits and hands were getting, and ordered this scooter from Amazon and I’m so glad I did!
Once it arrived, it immediately changed my outlook on things. I could get around much quicker, I could carry my own food and drinks (carefully), I could balance my knee on it and do my hair and makeup. It really made life so much easier and for anyone that is going to be non-weightbearing for awhile I highly recommend it.
The other thing that’s been a lifesaver is a leg cast cover for the shower.
There are lots to choose from on Amazon including one I heard about from a friend who’s daughter who recently had her leg in a cast. With this cast cover you can pump all the air out of the cover and the material is thicker to keep the cast protected. I liked it but it seemed it was primarily used for people who wanted to go to the beach or swimming with a cast.
I just needed something simple so I could take showers. So I went the cheap route and got this one.
It’s easy to get on and off myself and it does a great job of keeping my splint dry.
Another item that I found to be a must have for people who are non-weightbearing is a shower chair.
I need it to put the cast cover on and off, to shower, and to get dressed after the shower. If you have a bathtub instead of a walk-in shower, this shower chair with bench might make getting into over the side of the tub less of a challenge.
Other items that have made life easier include:
A toe sock – it’s been a bit chilly here and my toes have been cold so this toe sock has kept them comfy and warm
Crutch pads – you know how painful crutches can be on your armpits and hands when you use them for a length of time. These crutch pads are a lifesaver
Walking boot – I’m not there yet, but soon I’ll move into a walking boot. This is the one I used for awhile when the doctor thought it will help. I really liked that it has a rocking bottom and an air pump for comfort and I’ll be using it again after the cast comes off.
So if you are planning to be non-weightbearing for awhile check out some of these items to make your recovery easier. Honestly I’m counting down the days until I’m walking again and I’ll keep you updated, but in the meantime I’m happy I have these things to make life easier – I don’t know what people did before them!