ROM walkers or range-of-motion walkers are extremely useful for patients undergoing rehabilitation after leg injuries like ankle sprains, soft tissue injuries and stable fractures. They are also used for post surgery or post trauma patients who require their ankle movements to be controlled. ROM walkers are very versatile and include the latest technology in rehabilitation care.
Difference between ROM walkers and CAM Walkers
ROM walker boots differ from the normal CAM boots that are also used to immobilize and control movements of injured ankles and feet. The ROM walkers are designed to ensure that your ankle can be fixed at a set angle.
These boots also allow a range of movements within set angles. The ROM boots are equipped with a hinge often referred to as the adjustable ROM hinge which helps to fix the angle at which your ankle needs to be set.
The ROM Walker Design
The ROM walker is made of a lightweight and durable material. The boots open up completely so that it is easy for you to slide your injured feet into it. Most ROM walkers come with a rocker bottom. This makes it easy for you to walk with a very natural gait in spite of your injury. Additional comfort is provided either with foam lining or air bladders. The ROM walkers with air bladders are normally used in case of sprains as they help to reduce swelling.
The boots can be pulled and fastened into a snug fit with the help of Velcro fasteners. The special hinges in the ROM walker allows you to fix your injured ankle at a prescribed angle. The ROM settings can be varied for both plantar flexion and dorsiflexion movements. Plantar flexion is the movement that occurs when you bend your ankle so that your foot moves away from the body. The dorsiflexion movement occurs when you flex your ankles so that your feet move in an upward direction.
The ROM setting is for 45 degree plantar flexion and 30 degree dorsiflexion, which can be varied in 7.5 degree increments.
When to Use a ROM Walker
ROM walkers are usually prescribed for the following conditions:
(i) ROM walkers are used for post-operative care of patients recovering from fibula fractures.
(ii) It is used to aid the healing process in case of injuries to the forefoot and mid foot.
(iii) ROM walkers are required to accelerate ligament repairs and to heal tendon dislocations.
(iv) ROM walkers help to support your feet during ankle sprains, Achilles tendonitis and chronic ligament instability.
The Benefits of ROM Walker
(i) ROM walkers are easy to use. The system of hooks and loops makes it simple to use the boots as compared to the traditional process of making casts.
(ii) They fit comfortably and can be adjusted to size.
(iii) The boots are very stable as they have metal struts or uprights.
(iv) The ROM walker has low profile heels. This ensures that there is no tilting of the pelvis and thus eliminates the chances of developing low back pain.
Precautions While Using ROM Walkers
(i) Always use a bandage or athletic socks before strapping on the ROM walker.
(ii) In the first few days, do check whether the walker is causing any redness in the skin. Some redness is likely but you should consult your doctor if it does not clear up quickly. This is particularly important for diabetes patients.
(iii) Always follow the schedule that has been prescribed by your physician.
ROM walkers with their extensive support system provide stability to the injured joint and helps in faster rehabilitation.