CAM Walkers – Short Walker Benefits and Uses

A short walker is an orthopedic device that is used to treat ankle fractures, sprains, soft tissue injuries and Achilles tendon injuries. The short walker is also known as short cam walkers, low top walking boots and short leg walker. There are a whole lot of brands that are available in the market.

CAM Walker - Short Walker

Here is a quick look at some facts about the short walker.

The Short Walker Design

The cam walker is made of a single piece of foam and the boot opens completely in the front. This allows you to ease your injured ankle easily into the short leg walker. Once you slip on the boot, there are two aluminum supports that fall on either side of your ankle. These are connected to a joint mechanism at the base, which in turn is attached to a hard piece of plastic. The plastic is basically the sole of the boot.

The joint mechanism is the most important part of the Cam walker. It can be adjusted to either completely immobilize your ankle or to allow a specific range of moments varying from two degrees to 45 degrees.

Types of Short CAM Walkers

There are several types of short walkers that are available.

  • Pneumatic short leg walker: This version of the boot has inflatable air bladders and a pump. The pump can be used to deflate or deflate the air bladder to give you a completely snug fit. The air bladder takes up the extra space around your ankle, thus making it extremely comfortable to use the boot.
  • Standard short CAM walker: The standard short CAM walker does not have the air bladders.
  • Other types of short CAM walkers: There can be other minor variations in the design of the CAM walkers. For example some brands have adjustable aluminum supports. Others have a metal rocker attached to the plastic sole.

How to Use a Short CAM Walker

The extent of the injury and the time required for rehabilitation will determine how the short CAM walker is to be used. It will also vary depending on the progress of your injury. For example, initially your short CAM walker may be used to completely immobilize your ankle. However, as the injury heals, more and more movement may be allowed.

A few tips on how to use a short CAM walker.

  • If your physician has given you a specific schedule on using your short CAM walker, be sure to follow it strictly. Otherwise, the CAM walker can be removed when you are bathing or sleeping.
  • Before slipping into the short CAM walker, it is necessary to have an under wrap in place. This could be just an ordinary athletic sock or an ace bandage.
  • When you buy your CAM walker, make sure that it is the right size for you. The short Cam walker should be the same as your normal shoe size. CAM walkers that are too big may cause you to trip and fall. A smaller size will be uncomfortable to wear.
  • Slip your injured feet slowly into the CAM walker. Make sure that your sole is completely flat on the brace of the foot.
  • Wrap the foam padding securely around your foot, until you have a snug fit. Once the fit is comfortable, keep the padding in place by snapping on the Velcro straps. The Velcro straps should not be pulled too tightly as it could impede circulation.

Precautions While Using Short CAM Walker

  • There may be some redness in your skin when you first start using the CAM walker. If it does not disappear be sure to contact your doctor.
  • Patients who suffer from diabetes should be extra careful to ensure that any irritation caused by the CAM walker is quickly taken care of.
  • If the CAM walker looks grubby, you can clean it. The foam liners can be hand washed in cold water. Use a mild soap and allow it to air dry.
  • Contact your physician if your CAM walker suffers even a minor damage. He will advice you on whether it needs to be replaced.

Short CAM walkers are very helpful in treating ankle injuries as they provide the necessary immobilization even while allowing safe weight-bearing by the injured extremity.

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