The emphasis for orthotic treatment of the foot and ankle following injury has shifted from complete immobilization to allowing functional activity to occur in stable planes. The literature supports this concept of orthotic treatment where tolerable flexibility and normal function with conservative intervention will best lead to a favorable clinical outcome. Specifically, the use of orthopedic ankle-support boots in treating acute and chronic ankle injury has not been studied adequately to date.
In a retrospective study, 180 patients were surveyed who had been fitted with orthopedic ankle-support boots between 1991-1996 following acute and chronic foot and ankle injury. The boots comprise unique features, including medial and lateral stabilizers, firm reinforced heel cups, a patented lacing system, and torsion-resistant sole design. Clinical outcomes were obtained from a survey mailed to patients. An 18% return rate (33 patients) was achieved. Results indicated that 42% of patients were prescribed the boots to replace an existing orthosis, while 29% claimed that the boots were prescribed to avoid surgery. Eighty-six percent of subjects were able to resume their normal activities immediately once fitted. Only 13% of all subjects had surgical intervention following use of the boots. A high level of compliance was achieved; 86% were still wearing the boots at the time of survey and 77% would prefer the same treatment again.
The study indicated positive clinical outcomes with the use of orthopedic ankle-support boots as demonstrated by a speedy return to normal activities; reduced time on disability; its application in acute, chronic, and prophylactic stages; its favorable response over other commonly used modalities; and a high level of compliance