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Non-Weightbearing Status

Whether you’re an all-star athlete or not, to heal bones, ligaments, or tendons, you may need to keep the weight off of the area. This brings up the post-operative or post-injury topic of weightbearing status. There are a number of statuses that have different meanings to different people and most are very self-explanatory. Weight-bearing status recommendations are made with the backing of research and experience that have demonstrated optimal outcomes in healing and return to activity. One common misconception that I’ve heard from patients recently is that the Doctor is trying to punish you with the treatment recommendation of staying off an area. Yet, I want to clear this up. Doctors want the same good outcome that you do. There is really no reason to believe that doctors want to punish patients. The reason doctors make these recommendations is to achieve the best outcomes.


As the name implies, a non-weightbearing status means that there should be no weight put on the limb. This would mean no weight, in fact, not even resting the extremity on the floor if you can help it. If it isn’t spelled out like this, sometimes placing the foot on the floor then leads to more weight being placed on it and then shifting of healing bones. What options can help you keep non-weightbearing? There are many products on the market. The most common, of course, are crutches. But, not everyone may tolerate using crutches for weeks at a time. I understand. I’ve been there.


Other options to stay non-weight bearing:

Wheelchair – This may seem like a viable option, until you consider what it is like to use a wheelchair to get from place to place. There is still the need for balancing and transfers. There may be times where handicap accessibility has not been established and the patient in a wheelchair may have added difficulty due to this. The wheelchair should be reserved for those who cannot tolerate either crutches or the other options described below.

Wheeled Caddy

Roll-a-bout/Wheeled turning caddy – When this device was brought to the market it provided a great option for patients of all ages. Yet, along with its style and feasibility comes a high price. Some medical supply stores allow for rental options, but after longer non-weight bearing times, the price works out to be similar to the cost of the device. Rough estimate: $250

iwalk free – This new product has won many awards for its innovative design and pricing since 2013, but has been on the market for over 10 years. The premise is simple: hands-free, pain-free ambulation, without crutches, walker, or a wheeled caddy. The top portion is strapped to the thigh and the lower portion strapped to the calf. Patients who chose this method to stay off of their injured limb, say that it is very convenient and somewhat natural, but still requires stamina and adequate energy. One downside: other may jokingly call you a peg-leg pirate. The cost is considerably less than the roll-about, but again, much more than crutches. Rough estimate: $150


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