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The AirCast: Manna from Heaven? Or Harbinger of Hell? June 11, 2006

Posted by ouchmyleg in Advice, Uncategorized.

After my second appointment with Dr. McSurgery (more on that later), he decided to give me an AirCast rather than a second fiberglass cast. Like a traditional cast, the only real function of the Aircast is to keep my ankle at a 90 degree angle while it heals. It achieves this through two inflatable air bladders around the ankle that I can inflate and deflate. Finally! The Nike Pump sneaker I never knew I wanted!

There are a number of happy benefits to this, including the fact that I can take the thing off when I shower, eliminating the delightful process of my mother duct taping a grocery bag around my calf. Plus, it boasts a groovy design that would make Manolo Blahnik jealous.

As you can see from the photo, this is one stylish piece of footwear. If it were six months ago, I could easily create a fuzzy fake fur cozy for it and pass it off as an Ugg boot or a Mukluk. With summer reportedly upon us, I’m considering the possibility of wearing shorter skirts to show off the parts of my leg not currently covered in molded plastic and foam.

Sadly, the flexibility and freedom of the Aircast is somewhat mollified by the fact that it makes it near impossible to fall asleep. I’m not sure what it is: the angle, the height of the boot, the weight of the covers. Whatever the cause, the result is that regardless of what time I go to bed, I don’t fall asleep until two to three hours later when my exhaustion finally outlasts my ankle. I’ve taken to popping allergy medication at night for the sedative effect. Any suggestions to help me sleep?



1. bridget - June 26, 2006

E sent me your blog. I spent way too much time in a walking cast and fiberglass cast last year, so I’ve been through some of this. I wish I would have thought to use the Internet as a resource for something other than “What the hell is a sesimoid? I didn’t know I had bones on the bottom of my foot!”

For sleeping, try putting pillows on either side of the foot of your bed to create a “tent” with the covers. It may not hold them high enough to clear the cast, but it will lift a good portion of the weight.

2. Amy in StL - August 29, 2006

Hey, I broke my ankle in two places August 2nd and I have an aircast. I’ve been taking Benadryl at night to sleep since I have the same problem. If you’ve found anything that works, for the love of GOD let me know.

3. Kelli - October 31, 2006

Does anyone else have the problem of their leg falling asleep when your sitting up in a chair? This is another issue I am having with the air cast other than not being able to position my leg at night so I can fall asleep. If anyone knows of anything that may work, please let me know!

4. hayley - January 12, 2007

I’m spending my first full night in an aircast…I broke my fibula four days ago and thankfully don’t need surgery! However, I can’t find a comfortable way to lie, and so I was relieved to see that others have had the same problem.

It seems like it will be a long night for me. A friend of mine suggested I take some Valerian Root capsules, which are supposedly really great sleeping/relaxant herbal medications.

5. Lynda - April 10, 2007

Heading into week 5 in an aircast, which, trust me is way better than the plaster cast the emerg put on until the “fracture clinic day”. The saw couldn’t cut through the plaster one, so they had to get out a monster thing that looked like ribspreaders. They said the cast weighed 15 lbs. Anyway… I line the aircast with kleenex on the bottom, to keep my foot dry. I’m noticing over time, that my calf muscle is shrinking, so I have to pull the boot flaps tighter, or the boot feels too loose. The back of the boot,at the top behind the knee gets uncomfortable when your leg is on something hard, because it seems to jab you, but I use lots of pillows, so there are no pressure spots.

6. Suzie - May 21, 2007

Put your aircast into a spare pillowcase or plastic bag and secure with large rubber bands. This allows you to move flip-flop around in bed with (some) ease… especially since it prevents the rubber sole of the cast from catching on the bedsheets- and also protects your “good” leg from being unintentionally injured by the straps “boot” .

I’ve also found that sleeping on my back with my legs in a “4” position helps elevate my leg and relieve pressure from the lower back. And if you must sleep on your side, stick a pillow between your (lower) legs.

Good luck!

7. Marti - July 5, 2012

I realize this is old, but if anyone else has difficulty, these are the things I’ve been doing: As Suzie said, if side sleeping, a pillow between your knees, and cushioning between the cast and free leg, help quite a bit. And yes, Tylenol Simply Sleep (aka active ingredient of Benedryl–generic is cheaper!) is a way to help yourself fall asleep; Melatonin (vitamin aisle) is another.

Also sleeping on your back with the casted leg propped on pillows (other leg can be either up or down, or stagger the pillows into “steps” so that the casted leg is higher than the other) works well for me; make sure the top pillow either is or can be “grooved” so that when you relax the casted leg it does not roll too far. Finally, my aircast is following surgery and 3 weeks in a hard cast, and the doctor wants me icing it as much as possible: ask if you can take the front of the cast off when at rest. Refasten the straps gently over your foot and leg, enough so that if you roll in your sleep it won’t fall off. Good luck!

8. KAY - August 23, 2012

I just got an air cast yesterday after breaking my ankle. I am bummed with it in many levels. It is larger/wider making getting around in my wheelchair more awkward. Also I can’t seem to figure out the right way to pump the airbags. I had an awful night sleeping last night because either my heel would feel like it was red hot and exploding in pain…or my toes did…which I deducted may be a circulation problem, so I delfated and undid the toe velcro strap for a little bit…and reinflated later for firm support when I needed to roll over or go to the bathroom. I am now also taking Tylenol and codeine for pain, which I did not do with the temproary emergency room cast. I know the air pumps are there to keep your foot from moving around, but not sure if the circulation is being compromised.My morale is shot as I thought I was improving.

Anna - September 10, 2012

Likewise I am having major red hot burning sensations in my foot as soon as I lay down. I have used most of the above recommendations that helped some nights and not at all the next. I now take the plastic front piece off the cast at night, also the small pad that attaches over the bend on the plastic. I put in just enought air to give some softness at night and can now turn on my side. Get carpet layers slip on boot covers for the cast at night, it is much easier to get to the straps when you have to make your foot more comfortable. Frustrating time for sure.

KAY - September 10, 2012

Anna…I feel your pain! I started doing things to my leg during the day hours which seemed to help the circulation bit I was worried about. I still believe these aircasts, while suposedly a good idea, are needing more doctor and manufacturing hints for use and comfort. We should not have to reach out online etc..just my new pet peeve. Using really fluffy soft pillows much is more comfortable than the big throw pillow I had started with..and one more soft one for between your legs when you are lying on your side. Anyway, I loosened up the toe velcro strap and grey liner a lot before sleeping..pulled the overlapping grey wrap all the way out even..and also all loosened up the velcro on the aircast and lessened the air when lying down. That helped me not feel so much deadness in my toes. I did not have it all that tight to begin with, but my toes were puffy and my foot all purplish red in the mornings.I think the air pums were inflated too much. I also started soaking my foot in a big basin of warm water before I went to bed. Soaped it up, patted it dry and lightly rubbed my hand anywhere I could to help the circulation. That routine made it all so much more relaxing. Then I would go to bed/sleep. The red hot heel thing did return now and then,but did let up … I deducted that was cut off circulation due to the weight of the boot and not turning much. I realized that if I immediately sat up and let my foot dangle at the edge of the bed, the excruciating heel pain lessened faster. Then I would unfasten and refasten my boot and try to sleep again. As of last week, my sports medicine doctor allowed me to sleep with out the thing at all and I am so happy! My foot color is back to normal as it had been so discolored. He also reassured me that the bruising on my shin and my toes were normal..it was the blood trying to work out the damage from the ankle area in both directions up and down my foot/leg. I was relieved as I thought I had turned anemic or was reinjuring it….and he wants me to keep up the massage often. I will have the thing on my leg for another month to two months, but believe me, after about a month, things do feel better. Good luck everyone with healing!

9. Anna - September 20, 2012

Kay – thanks for the tips, all and everything will be tried.

That is great you can take the aircast off at night. My one reasonable night of sort of sleep was, I think ,due to total exhaustion from 2 weeks of no sleep. My next trick that gave a little relief was to put the small pad that went OVER the gap between the top and bottom velcro side pieces, UNDER the grey flaps, not on top as I was shown at the hospital. I also made another strip out of a peice of camping roll up foam, and put it under the middle velcro strap and over the plastic shell, which has helped at night to take pressure off my foot and gives support in lieu of the plastic tongue. Staying warm now the nights are getting cooler is also a challenge as anything on the aircast, no matter how light, makes turning difficult. So 3 weeks down, 3 to go (with only one meltdown !)

10. Uki - October 2, 2012

Thanks all for sharing your experience and providing the helpful tips! I feel so much better now that I am not alone in how miserable I feel about my broken ankle and wearing the aircast. I got my aircast a week ago after being on a splint for two weeks for a badly sprained ankle with a fibular fracture. As everyone commented, sleeping with the cast was painful. I had enough of it last night, so I took it off and slept with my broken ankle wrapped in multiple layers of bandages. I slept OK, but was quite worried that I may injure it all over again or accidentally prolong the recovery time. I think I am putting it back tonight and will try some of the suggestions mentioned by other readers.

11. Claire - October 21, 2012

Amazing. I had surgery (FDL transfer and calceal osteotomy) to my leg on Friday October 12th. Back slab was far more comfortable than this monstrosity which was fitted on Thursday 18th. I seriously cannot sleep. I was told to wear it 24/7 for 6 weeks. My toes go dead due to the circulation being cut off when my leg is horizontal. Top of my foot feels like a knife has been inserted where there are no wounds. Maxed out on painkillers and 3 nights later I am besides myself. I figured-out that as the best angle during the day when resting was for my legs to rest on a footstool with a downwards slope at ca. 30 degrees angle to my hips, then in bed with your legs horizontal – resting the legs on pillows behind the knees may offer some relief – this was about 6am today. I am going to try this tonight. I can only suggest that those who prescribe these things should try them beforehand!

12. AL - December 2, 2012

Same like a lot of people here, I am wearing an aircast for a broken ankle and cannot sleep. I am not supposed to walk on mine. Last night I finally did some searching for other people with problems and seems like a lot of people take off the front hard plastic piece and deflate completely overnight. I find that in the morning, I have to sit and put my foot on the floor for about 5-10 minutes before I can start walking (crutches) because of calf pain. Really, at this point, the ankle feels better but the crutches, air boot, and no sleep are torture.

Claire - December 2, 2012

Hi Al. It is uncomfortable. You may want to check how much you are ‘allowed’ to deflate the supporting cushions – I had to deflate till the circulation came back to my toes. You don’t want your ankle to slip around inside the cast so maybe ask your health provider.

KAY - December 2, 2012

Hi again everyone! Well it has been four months now and I am not using my aircast monster at all anymore. Can actually wear my hiking boots which adds good support to injured leg. I took myself out for a small walk to the corner and back yesterday between rainstorms and felt so free.I want to reassure everyone that this hell will pass. I needed pain meds not for the pain at night as much as just helping me go to sleep. My advice looking back is: Stay up/awake as long as you can at night and then take your meds to help you sleep. And as soon as your heel starts to hurt change positions or sit up and dangle your foot over the bed to bring back circulation in your heel. Undo the boot and then put it back on before you go back to sleep. Oh yeah, and I also bought some clear homeopathic Arnica Gel to rub on my ankle 3 times a day which is a topical pain releiver as well as it helps to reduce swelling and bruising. Massage your sore ankle and foot often during the day to increase circulation and help with healing. Drink tons of water all day and try eating lots of kale. I chopped up raw kale and tossed it in the blender to make a green smoothie with fruits(pineapple, berries, banana etc.) and other yummy stuff like chia and hemp seeds and soy powder for a breakfast smoothie.I also drank a lot of packets of Emergen-C for vitamins and hydration. Don’t neglect nutrition during healing. It makes you feel much better from the inside out. I wish you all a speedy recovery…and hang in there…it does get better.

13. Lilya Sunshine - January 2, 2013

Dear Aircast Comrades,

Two weeks post-surgery for broken fibula (just above ankle) — first week in plaster cast, which I had to get split open in emergency room 2 days after surgery due to excessive swelling, then after one week went to doc and he put me in air cast. Now one week in air cast — sleeping is a torture, as you all have described. And finding the right comfort level with air pumping was difficult, becuz the pressure of the air bladders was excruciating on the still-very-tender incision at the ankle. But a friend came to the rescue with a small piece of sheepskin to pad the ankle inside the cast — it is really cushy and soft and comforting. So I place the sheepskin inside the cast around the ankle, then use the airpump to provide additional support. Sleeping is still hell though, no matter what!

Before the surgery, I was appalled at the idea of having all this hardware — plate & screws — surgically implanted inside my leg. But the position of the bone was so awful after the injury, if it had healed in that position I would be severely crippled for life. So now I am feeling very grateful to have this bone screwed together securely so that it can heal in the right alignment. Never thought I would be happy to have metal inserted inside my body! Big thanks to my surgeon. I also have no medical insurance and no resources, and this wonderful doctor was willing to do this for me on a self-pay basis, with the risk that he may never receive payment. What incredible kindness, no?

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15. Luke - May 15, 2013

Best thing I’ve ever purchased is a bed cradle – You see these things in the hospital all the time keeping the blankets off injured legs and when I tore my achilles 4 weeks ago I sent my Dad straight out to get one. Keeps the weight off your injury and it’s adjustable height means you can prop your leg up on some pillows for extra elevation and still have blankets annoying you. I’ve found a sight online where you can get them here, but I’d assume most chemists/hospitals could also order one in for you.


I’m still another 4 weeks in my aircast FP – as comfy as it is, I can’t wait to be out of it.

16. Geoffrey Simmonds - June 8, 2013

I’m getting a lot of back pain since wearing this Aircast – and I think it’s because my gait whilst walking is now so uneven. I’m thinking of asking a shoe repair shop to stick an extra heel on my good leg shoe – anyone else have this experience and can recommend this? Geoff

Claire - June 8, 2013

Hello Geoff. I had surgery last October and already had a problem with sciatica at the time. Since then my gait has shifted significantly. I started wearing orthotic supports 6 months post-surgery fitted by a podiatrist. I don’t know the reason for you having to wear the boot but just to say that I am now seeing a physio privately (after treatment on the NHS which was compounding the problem). The new physio has diagnosed a forward tilting pelvis on the side opposite the leg which wore the boot – I am now having to do weird and wonderfully painful exercises to correct my gait which was ‘at 2’ O clock (according to the physio). I would suggest seeing a podiatrist to see if they can fit an orthotic for your shoe on the side not wearing the boot. Good luck. Claire

Renee - September 5, 2014

There is a product called evenup, to increase the height of your other shoe. It is only 20 bucks on Amazon. Helps with back, hip and leg pain.

Greta - October 1, 2014

Thanks for the tip about the EvenUp – I just bought one of these and whilst it doesn’t solve the problem totally it is definitely helpful. Only issue is I have a small foot (close to the largest children’s size) and the smallest size this comes in is JUST small enough to go over my fattest running shoe – it fits well enough that I feel comfortable walking around at home but I’m not going to trust going out with it in case it comes lose. Having said that I’d still recommend this product. I found myself walking around the hall with a nearly normal gait though small steps and it felt so good!

17. Linda - August 7, 2013

First day with the air cst and i already hate it. i partially tore a ligament in the side of my ankle……and with this air cast, my whole foot is killing me. My foot is so swollen i cant put a sock on….is this what i have to look forward to 😦

18. Jake - August 13, 2013

Hi all, i broke my ankle a week or two ago and have been on the aircast for about 6 days now. First 2 days were great! I felt no pain at all. And after that whenever i stood up i felt a stabbing, sharp pain in my foot that killed me whenever I got up. That is going away now, but whenever I get up now i have trouble standing still. Walking short distances is okay, but i can’t stand still without it hurting really badly. What should i do? Please help!

19. Tonya - August 14, 2013

I have an acute sesamoid fractured bone in my left foot, had no idea what a sesamoid was until I broke mine. Was fitted with aircast today and already not looking forward to trying to sleep in this thang. Sure hope after reading all the tips here that it will be a better night than expecting.

20. Jacquie - August 27, 2013

Propping on lots of pillows the best way to sleep, as well as one between your knees if a side sleeper. Found best not to tuck in sheets or blankets and just pull them over the upper part of your body. Put a knee sock on your exposed foot if you are chilly. I also found I loosened off on the air and foot Velcro strap at nite. Advil PM or Tylenol nite seem to be the best. Valerian gives me the toots! ;-{ that “burning heel” pain and the twitches are the worse. Going back to cast clinic on Friday for another X-ray so hope I don’t need surgery!!!

21. Alison - August 27, 2013

I was so excited to get my air cast after 2 weeks in plaster following ankle surgery. Today is the day & my joy has turned to horror as every time I try to lie down my toes & bottom of my foot begin burning as though I have permanent pins & needles. Thought I was doing something wrong until I read this blog. 4 weeks of this torture – I’m horrified at the thought!

22. Joannie - September 9, 2013

Oh man! I can’t believe what is ahead of me. Thanks for all the advice and tips. And to think I wanted to take it off at night so I could sleep. I will just try to tolerate this. Has any of you attempted to go on a vacation with this boot thing on??? We are supposed to leave Tuesday evening, and instead of feeling better, I am feeling worse.
Thanks for any replies.

Karina - September 17, 2013

Hi Joannie, I have had the aircast on for almost a week, after a fissure in my fifth metatarsal bone. The aircast is heavy but gives me peace of mind. What I hate most are the crutches, and I get really tired ambling about. I went with my family to the pool on the weekend so that the kids could have some fun before going back to school, and it was hard to walk some distance with the crutches. I can’t imagine going on vacation without being able to put weight on my foot yet (still two weeks to go and then physiotherapy), so I would consider that if I were in your position. It’s not the same being home and able to just plop in bed when you’re tired than being out and about. A trip to the supermarket was also very tiresome a few days ago (10 days after my injury), as walking took a strain on my good leg. I don’t know about you, but for me I think it would be difficult. Better ask your doctor, though, he’ll give you the best answer. Good luck!

Joannie - September 17, 2013

Hi Karina, I am sorry you are going through this, too. I cannot do crutches. I have vertigo, and I am using a cane… But, staying off of it as much as possible.
We decided the trip was ‘off’, and my dear friends decided to move our get together to next month, hoping the cast will be off. They make me feel spoiled and special, and I am so grateful. I am doing everything I can to hurry the healing process so that perhaps the boot cast will be off, and going to our get together will be fun.
I wish you the best of luck, Karina.

23. Debbie - November 1, 2013

Hi, A month ago I broke my ankle in three places. For 16 days I wore a splint cast that rubbed in all of the wrong places. Two days before my appt with the surgeon, I felt pretty good and sat outside for a few hours. That night I nearly lost me mind, no kidding! My foot must have swollen from being down for so long and my incisions were burning and itching. My toes had pins and needles and ..you get the picture. I was sorely tempted to cut the cast off myself but I knew my appt was so close that I calmed myself and have not made the mistake again of not elevating my foot.
I was thrilled when the xrays showed that I could use an Air Cast. I could take it off when I wanted too! Broken foot…Pshaww. By the next day after a sleepless night, I barely wore it. I felt every hard,pokey unforgiveable ridge on the sides. If I didnt have it wrapped so tight that my leg stopped breathing, it would slide up and down and hang heavily from my foot. I was worried that my ankle was getting more action than it needed just trying to keep it in place. I used the pump up support that either slipped and ended up under my heel or pressed into my incisions like a rock not air!. This went on for days and I was so tired and depressed. I was actually looking forward to exhaustion so I could get a couple of hours of sleep.
I turned to the internet in hopes of a solution. Sadly and with some horror I realized that everything I was going through was too be expected. I couldnt take it! I thought about the post with the sheepskin pad and since I didnt have anything like that I cut up a very soft light velour baby blanket. I wear a medium cast and the measurements that work best for me are 20 inches wide and 28 inches long. I set it into the cast with about three inches hanging over the toes . I find that it is easy to pull the wrinkles out once you have your foot settled into it. The extra length at the toes helped me keep them warm with out the need for blankets. I wrap the side and they just cross over so there is no bulk. Once the straps are closed it is held firmly but doesnt feel tight. I dont wear a sock and the velour feels silky and does not irritate my incisions. Now my cast does not slip and I actually can use my crutches without despair. I slept through the night and felt great in the morning!. I hope this works for anyone else that needs some relief.

24. Astrid - November 17, 2013

What a data of un-ambiguity and preserveness of valuable familiarity concerning unexpected feelings.

25. Illa - December 15, 2013

Hi, I dislocated and fractured the first metatarsal ! For two weeks after surgery I had a plaster splint and slept fine, then the air cast! After two sleepless nights I wondered if I was the only one who experienced this, and was thankful to find I wasnt alone! The lazy boy is my only respite at night so may just be here for a few days, but would rather not be here for 10 weeks! May just try the antihistamines…but thanks to all of you for your tips!

26. Kristin - December 19, 2013

Hi! I fractured my ankle exactly two weeks ago today and it has been total hell. I am very fortunate that it was a clean break and that I didn’t need surgery. The Doctor even said putting a plaster cast on it would be overkill. However – I have a boot and have not been able to bear weight for the last two weeks. I have been on crutches and can’t drive bc it’s my right foot. I would not wish this on anyone. However, I would recommended sleeping with a pillow between your feet if you are on your side . Also – you may want to try taking Melatonin to help you sleep!!! Good luck everyone. I go back to the doctor and am hoping I can start putting some weight on it!!

27. Illa - December 19, 2013

I posted a couple days ago and have discovered since then that the garbage bag over the air cast in bed helps so much with the movement, and, Dramamine is amazing to help with sleep deprivation! I will get through this!

28. zimmlylynn - February 1, 2014

Hi all well here it is 2014′ slipped on ice broke fiblia and r in and dislocated ankle. Surgery and 2 posted and 8 screws later. Was in split cast for 2 weeks now a boot. I like how you can take it on and off. Agree hard too sleep. Foot gets hot. So I open the bottom up that helps. 3 more weeks left to start to put weight on it.

29. Ami - March 21, 2014

I dislocated my ankle and fracture my fibula, slipping on ice. Had two screws put in. Wearing the air cast sleeve (it’s a long, loose cotton stocking) is a must to reduce discomfort. If you did not get this at the clinic you can order online.
I reduce the inflation a bit at night for comfort. If There is pain from pressure on the injury point, shin, or on the sutures, you can use large brains aids. I use the ones with antibiotics as this adds moisture and also helps reduce scarring. Odor Eaters powder helps cool off the foot and prevents odours.

30. Kathy - March 21, 2014

What a relief to find this conversation. My aircast entered my life courtesy of a broken ankle. I have my doctor’s permission to remove the “tongue” at night (thanks to you for the suggestion!). A folded washcloth under the velcro straps helps keep them from digging into my leg. I swab out the boot every morning with some dilute PineSol and pat it dry. Also, rubbing some clear Arnica gel onto my foot, followed by lavender massage oil, seems to help with the healing.

Having said all that, it’s still impossible to sleep well most nights. I have a prescription for Ambien, but with all the warnings about sleepwalking, I’m reluctant to take it.

One more week. One more week. One more week.

31. Marge - March 30, 2014

I got my cast off after 3days. The pain was unbearable and my dr said to come in and get fitted for an air cast.this is the first night and my foot is on fire. However, I am relieved that I can get up without breaking into a sweat and nearly fainting. He said I need to b extra careful because the ankle is unstable. I might have to have surgery if the bone slips. Yikes! I am having trouble sleeping and I am taking hydrocodone. I am trying to stay positive but pain and lack of sleep makes it challenging

Kathy - March 31, 2014

Hi Marge — Try removing the “tongue” or top section of the aircast at night, as someone suggested farther up the message thread. It saved my sleep (well, that and the hydrocodone). And my doctor called removing the tongue a good idea — but my break was a very simple one, so ask your doctor before you try it. Good luck!!

32. Nancy - April 6, 2014

Wow! So glad I am not alone. I’m on day 5 of the aircast after bunion surgery, My foot/ankle hurt most of the time in places that are not injured. I am constantly adjusting the inflation levels to try and get comfortable even though the tech that fitted me for it told me I would not need to touch it. Sleeping is a challenge and I also have the burning and pins and needles that so many others are reporting. Good to know it’s not just me. Before finding this thread I also resorted to taking the plastic tongue out of the boot and recommend it if you are able depending on your injury. My leftover pain meds also help me sleep :). Good luck everyone!

33. Marsha - April 10, 2014

Slept on top of covers most of time. Put my boot in silk pillowcase, could move around in bed with not catching blankets. Elevated it on soft pillows. Also stuck one of those softy socks around ankle in between bars on outside of boot to cushion it. Been 9 weeks can start putting some weight on it, still very swollen!

34. Teresa Bearden - April 11, 2014

It’s amazing that there are so many dealing with the same concerns. I dislocated and had a trimalleolar fracture (all three bones) in my left ankle. I spent the first week in a splint and then had to have surgery 6 screws and a metal plate, then I spent two weeks in bandages and 4 weeks in a cast. Now I am in this aircast and I am suppose to be getting off my crutches this week, but I am terrified to try to walk. As for sleeping, I was told that the only time I needed to wear my boot is when I was on my feet, so I take it off when I go to bed, and if I am just sitting around the house. While sitting on the couch I do my directional movements to loosen up the ligaments and tendons. Seems I am ding great at everything but walking…. Still have 4 more weeks to go.

SarahC - February 2, 2016

I have same thing. I hope your healing has gone well. I am at a low point tonight. In pain, with burning sensation on top of foot. Can’t sleep. Reading this helps me feel less alone.

karoline smail - August 13, 2016

I love reading all your helpful ideas I have a trimalleor fracture on my left ankle 2 plates and screws later I had surgery the same day of injury was in a plaster cast 2 weeks in air cast now it’s hell to try sleeping the surgeon said all looks good I can put 50 percent weight bearing on my foot but still swollen alot I do elevate and ice it ….I tried loosened the aircast at night it worked ok guess I just have to pull up my boot straps and deal with it with help of pills for sleep wishing everyone a great recovery . ….

35. Chrissy - April 12, 2014

After 9 weeks of cast hell, and the latter 7 weeks-being in the Air Cast for a broken fibula, I have been experiencing sharp burning pain in the injury site 😦 The bottom of my foot is extremely sensitive now and it really hurts to walk on it as I’m directed by the specialist…he forecasts another 6 weeks.Im getting another opinion from family Dr.Is this a sign of compartment syndrome I wonder 😦

36. Cindy - April 15, 2014

I am 5 weeks post surgery. I slipped on a mud patch and fractured my tibia at the ankle. Have two screws now. I, too, was very relieved finding this blog. I have been wearing the aircast boot since surgery. My heel also burns at night and sleeping is definitely an issue. This has been an experience that I wish on no one. I’m hoping the dr. appt. I have this week will be one where he says I can start putting some weight on my foot. Unfortunately, it’s my right foot. No driving. Thankfully, no children at home. I have a wonderful husband that has been doing everything. I did hire a maid to help with vacuuming and dusting. I have had more sad days that seem to come from nowhere. I know it could be worse but just not being able to walk, drive, stand only for a short period (with crutches of course), going up/down stairs (we live in a 4 story townhouse) has been most difficult for me as I’m usually pretty active. I do know that this is just a phase in life and we all will get through it. I’m just ready to be through it!!! I wish speedy healing for all. 😀

37. Ami - April 15, 2014

My first Aircast was pure torture. After a couple of weeks I used a second one that I had and with much less pain. I think the first one was defective. Also I use the Aircast sleeve sock always. Odor Eaters helps keep the sock and boot fresh.

38. Ellen - May 11, 2014

What a blessing to read these helpful posts. After a severe high ankle sprain 3 weeks ago, Urgent Care gave me crutches for 5 days and a small ankle wrap. That was it. Huge swelling, lots of pain. Have been hobbling around since but it never got better. So yesterday i finally saw an orthopedic surgeon who said i also have a medial fracture, and he has put me now in Aircast for 3 weeks. I went out and got an Evenup leveler for my other shoe and so far Aircast feels good and stable compared to the ankle wrap. My problem is, now I can’t drive. Has anyone driven with an aircast on their right foot?

Kathy - May 12, 2014

Ellen, driving was forbidden until I could walk a block without any mechanical support. And that included an aircast. I’m so sorry you’re grounded. Hang in there!

Ellen - May 24, 2014

Thank you Kathy. Have to report a followup to my earlier post: after 10 days in the Aircast boot it caused a worsening of symptoms and pain and numbness/tingling regardless of inflation level or strap tightness because it compressed nerves and ligaments behind my ankle on both sides. It also caused major pain in my Achilles Tendon, which became inflamed by the flat foot position required in the boot over time. I also found it very, very heavy. I am now in the 6th week after the sprain/fracture. This week I ditched the entire boot and returned to the basic sturdy universal brace I could wear with a shoe. I instantly felt better. I am back on the mend. The Aircast may work for a lot of people but it did not help me.

39. dhoskins74 - June 13, 2014

I have a broken 5th metatarsal and have had the same horrendous experiences trying to sleep. Since it’s my foot, not my ankle, I’ve been able to leave the hard plastic front on the thing, but loosen all of the straps as much as possible while laying down. That helps tremendously with the pain from the pressure of the thing and doesn’t cut off circulation like it was at first.

40. Wade - June 18, 2014

Stable fibular break on right ankle due to a bad roll playing basketball. No surgery needed – and directly into aircast and crutches. Crutches are planned to be on for 6 weeks, and the boot for perhaps a little more time.

First two weeks I took boot off frequently during day. I started sleeping with black ankle brace that laces up and velcros across. Some nights that was uncomfortable so I just slept without anything.

Saw doc today for two-week checkup and all is well. I asked about sleeping and he said I should use the boot. Told him about ankle brace and he told me that I could use that if I thought it provided enough support and if I’m moving around much in the night – just be careful. So I’m going to sleep with that black ankle brace, but I now think it’s unwise to wear nothing at all.

To combat discomfort and inability to get to sleep, I’ve been taking 600 or 800 mg ibuprofen before bed and reading from a mentally dense novel. My real analysis text also does the trick.

I’ve also been left-footed driving. Rather easy, in fact. Of course, driving an automatic car – practiced around the country roads and small town around my house, and I give plenty of extra room when going to work.

In an attempt to keep in shape, I’ve been lifting. Upper body stuff: chest, shoulders, and arms. Some ab stuff. Also bought “Chair Boxing for Everyone” from Amazon. Does a fairly good job at building up a sweat and gives some nice cardio.

Hopefully this can be of some help. Be careful!

41. Susan Gilmore - June 28, 2014

Two weeks into severe right ankle sprain and fracture. I’m wearing a compression knee-high sock and a below the knee air cast, no crutches. The fracture was stable, a piece of bone broke off due to severe tendon or ligament damage. The doctor recommended complete immobilization, i.e a fiberglass cast, but I refused and opted for continued air cast instead. I cannot be unable to drive for 6 weeks. Anyway, I’m hoping all will heal properly. It is improving, less bruised, swollen, painful; but still very tender and stiff. I have been removing the air cast to bathe, drive and sleep. I sleep on my stomach and hang my foot off the end of the bed. I take the boot off in the car and drive by using the ball of my foot, picking it up to brake so I don’t twist the ankle. I can put weight on the ankle to get to the bathroom at night being careful not to twist anything. I keep the compression sock on at all times. Its hard to get on but worth it. More stable, more comfortable. This is probably not right for everyone, but I’m not taking any medication; I can sleep fine; I can get around; I can drive; I can take a shower. If I’m sitting watching TV or eating in a restaurant, I release the air bags. I pump it back up if I’m walking. Also, I only used the front piece for about a week. I’m seeing the doctor again in a month and follow-up X-rays. I’ll post back then. Good luck with your recovery.

42. Nathan - July 31, 2014

wow, so glad i found this page. I have a broken 5th metatarsal and I am going into my 3rd week with an aircast. Currently I have more pains in other areas of my foot than the bone due to the aircast. I am going to try some of the above mentioned tips to see if I can get some resolutions to my pains. It’s mostly right on the top of my foot where the Velcro strap goes over the plastic tongue. I am going to get rid of the plastic piece and replace it with a piece cut from a knee immobilizer (basically it’s thick foam padding) given to me from the ER (broken right 5th metatarsal and soft tissue damage on my right knee at the same time! yippee).

Susan Gilmore - August 1, 2014

Hey everyone – Hi Nathan welcome to the club. I said I would post back after seeing the doctor yesterday. So here’s the good news. I can walk slowly without limping. My ankle doesn’t hurt. Almost all of the bruising and swelling is gone. The ankle is stiff but I have been loosening it up by air writing the alphabet with my foot and doing circles with my toes in both directions and mild stretching pointing my toes down and up. I have been doing that for several weeks because it was not painful and I felt like I could/should. I’m not ready for a marathon but I’m so much better. I still wear the compression sock some of the time (like when I’m vacuuming or go to costco) but I don’t sleep with it on anymore. The doctor wants to see me again in six weeks for follow-up. He wants me to wear an arch support insert in my shoes because of big toe arthritis, stress fracture and flattening feet? Thinking about it but wear mostly sandals. And so hopefully near the end of my ankle/foot saga. That was about seven weeks from start to finish. I was happy to ditch that dang boot. So I’m out of here unless you have questions or comments. Thanks for being there. Good luck!

Ellen - August 1, 2014

Update to all — things do get better. I’m 15 weeks post injury (bad high ankle sprain, nearly every ligament ripped, and hairline fracture of medial malleolus). My ankle still feels stiff first thing in the morning, and going downstairs still gives me twinges, but other than that the ankle is getting back to normal. I had 6 weeks of physical therapy twice a week to rehab it (week 7 to 13); would highly recommend that anyone who has a complicated ankle sprain or break do the same. I credit physical therapy for getting me back on track and boosting my determination and spirits to completely rehab the ankle. I still do the exercises at home – Achilles stretches, theraband, plyometrics. Also finding that dancing steps and cycling are helping keep it nimble. Still cannot swim properly because my foot won’t kick the way it used to. But you have to keep moving to keep from backsliding.
Good luck to all !!!!!. My physical therapist said it takes 6 months for ligaments to smooth out in the ankle and up to a year for it to be back to normal. Hang in there.

43. Chaselyn - August 2, 2014

I hope everyone’s injuries are healing well!

I dislocated my ankle three weeks ago and have been in an Air cast the entire time since. I have a complete tear in three ligaments and severely damaged some on the inside on my ankle along with severe bone bruising, but luckily no fractures! My first couple of weeks I did really well with not moving it and I felt barely any pain. Now all of a sudden the area around my Achilles tendon on either side all the way up my calf is extremely painful! If I massage my calf, it feels almost like a severe bruise deep in the muscle. I was beginning to be able to put weight on my cast, but not the pain in my calf down through the ankle is terrible so I cannot. Did anyone else have calf pain associated with their cast? Is this a symptom of muscle atrophy?

Ellen - August 2, 2014

Yes this is what I had, very similar. Probably need to take the Aircast off often with foot up and massage it, stretch Achilles etc. Also call the doctor’s office If pain continues and see if it may be time to wean off the boot or try another method. In addition, the swelling (and natural cushioning) is probably going down so you are feeling the full aches and pains of your ripped up ligaments. Good luck.

44. Caroline Knighton Carpenter - August 14, 2014

Oh crap, I’ve had my bootee for exactly a week and, in the absence of any advice to the contrary, have been leaving it off at night (fractured 5th metatarsal) – now thinking I need to ring fracture clinic tomorrow to check – after one more blissful slumber night………

Greta - September 25, 2014

Hey Caroline, hope by now it’s much better. I did something very similar to you 10 days ago (fracture in 5th metatarsal up near the ankle). When the physio fitted the boot she said it was okay to sleep without it which I’ve been doing. Saw the doc yesterday and he confirmed that was okay. His big concern was to minimise weight bearing unless the boot was very firmly strapped and pumped up when I walk on it but he’s fine with me doing the basics I need to so I don’t need to stay off my feet totally thank heavens. Also when I am sitting at work or home for a while and know I won’t be getting up I undo the straps, take off the ‘plate’ and undo the velco pads over the foot and ankle, and just rest my foot in the boot with no pressure. It has really helped.

supercario - September 25, 2014

Boot off a week ago – yes, I continued to leave off at night, when at rest and I walked for absolutely miles (when it wasn’t necessarily firmly strapped) and for the last week, actually walked in the house a little with no boot as my leg muscles were so weak and my ankle had seized! This meant that when I cast the cast for good, I was ready to go (and drive)! Broke the rules, I guess but it worked for me. Hope you get through your imprisonment OK!

45. กระดูกทับเส้น - August 16, 2014

Physical therapists can help to relieve back
pain and restore strength to back muscles by instructing patients to engage in active exercise as well
as passive exercise. These electrons then flow into the external circuit
and form the electric current. This not only results in aches and
pains in the heel, but pain may radiate to other parts of
the body.

46. Pam - September 7, 2014

Hi everyone. I just broke my foot 4 days ago. Right now it is wrapped very tightly and that is driving me nuts but the good news is that one more day I am allowed to take all of that off. Yes I do have an air cast also but what is really bothering me is the tight wrapping. My question is did any of you have to take aspirin while in the cast? I am supposed to be in the cast for 6 weeks and take aspirin the enire time. I hate to take meds and wonder if this is necessary. I also can take the cast off while lying down and I massage my leg and foot when I do that. What do you all think?

Susan Gilmore - September 7, 2014

Hi Pam – You need aspirin to reduce inflamation and to prevent blood clots. I bought a knee high compression sock which was comfortable and helped stabilize my foot and ankle. I wore the sock under the air boot and to sleep. It really helped. Just make sure to buy the right size. Good luck!

47. Chris Price - September 8, 2014

Well I’m glad that I found this page ! Completely ruptured my left Achilles on 22nd August 2014 playing walking football ! (Well I am 60 years old so it was never going to be proper footy) My very first match two minutes in and actually heard it snap.
When I had my appointment with the consultant I asked if I could go into an Aircast straight away and he said no, it will be 9 weeks in plaster for you my lad.
Slightly annoyed, I started to look for evidence that would allow me to get into a boot and not have this damn fibre glass abomination on my leg.
Now I have found this page and I must admit I am not so sure that I want to be in a boot very quickly. Seems to me that I maybe better staying in plaster and then after 9 weeks wearing the boot during the day and not have to wear it at night.
Apart from some weird pain on my instep after a hard day on the move, I have no problems sleeping in the plaster and it occurs to me that sleep is one of the most important things in recovery, if only that you feel revived and your spirits are kept up.
So thank you all for your input and I may just stay in plaster now until my Achilles has healed enough.

Trisha - September 12, 2014

Hi, i rolled my ankle, resulting in an avulsion fracture with major soft tissue damage. I was casted for 5 weeks incorrectly, so that when they removed to put on the airboot my achilles tendon had basically seized at the back…took a couple of days for me to be able to put my heel down propey into the boot. Mostly now I’m dealing with soft tissue damage and odema in my foot and ankle due to swelling pooling. Have started physio now and currently doing ‘contrast baths’ to reduce swelling and pain. I’m managing to sleep ok by removing the front plate and loosening the straps. I use pillows between legs to sleep on my side. I’m now allowed to weight bare, but unable to at present. Working towards that at physio.

48. Ashlee - September 22, 2014

So glad I found this site.. I was switched from fibreglass casts to air casts 2 weeks ago.. Extremely difficult to sleep with them on.. The tips are helpful

49. Chris - September 23, 2014

Well, went to hospital for my second plaster. I was armed with all sorts information which I hoped would lead to me to make an informed decision as to whether to stay in a plaster or a go to a boot.
All of that was thrown out of the window before my (somewhat pompous) consultant even arrived.
The lady in the plaster room (who has done all my plasters – including three of them four years ago when I broke 4 metatarsals in my other foot) had a quiet word with me.
She told me about the unreliability of the boot due to the unreliability of people. I wasn’t offended – quite the opposite. It was refreshing honesty. She pointed out how this particular hospital worked with my type of injury and treatment and how the cycle worked.
It maybe different in your particular trust, but her explanation of this hospital’s treatment regime both reassured and determined my decision.
When the consultant came in and said the same things I caught her wink.
How reassuring to have people like this who know what real concerns of real people are.
So another 6 weeks at least in plaster (apparently as I am 60 I’m not healing as fast as I’d like) and then loads of physio.
And no boot. But at least I’ll sleep at night !


50. Greta - October 29, 2014

Hi all, further to my earlier posts, I am coming to the end of my boot-wearing, so here’s my tips and suggestions which I hope may help others.

This site was invaluable -thank you everyone who has contributed to it. It was good to feel ‘it wasn’t just me’ and great for helping me know what questions to ask the doctor, xray technician, physio etc. etc

1. ask if and when you can take the boot off at all to sleep or to rest while sitting, or even just loosen the straps, or lessen the air pressure. When I first got it I was lucky the physio told me all that but I know others who haven’t been told anything; it was just put on and shown how to pump it up, but didn’t know what questions to ask.

2. don’t do what I did and take the boot off the first time to put on a sock, then reverse the plastic top ‘plate’ and wear it the wrong way around for a week. It didn’t hurt, but I couldn’t figure out why it was really hard to do up the Velco straps!

3. ask what are the best ways to keep walking level, so you don’t get unbalanced and end up with pain in one side. This was stressed to me by a colleague who had been through similar a few years earlier and probably is the best piece of advice I got. I bought an ‘Even Up’ (see earlier posts) – it wasn’t perfect but it did help. Also none of my shoes was a perfect height match but I wore one slightly too high in the day and slightly too low in the evening and it worked out ok. The hip pain I got in the first couple of days went away once I started doing this, and I got less aching legs too so it helped me sleep better.

4. just about every day at my workplace in the past 6 weeks I bumped into someone I haven’t seen for a while and they asked about the cast – and nearly everyone either had an injury in the past or knew someone who had, and gave me good tips to get through it. Everything from how to rest it more comfortably when sitting down to what sort of shoes to get back into, or what sort of padding inside the boot had helped them. So ask everyone, people really liked to help!

5. when switching the liner (for washing) it is much easier to place the new one into the cast correctly if you put the rubber ‘sole’ piece into the foam surround first tucking into place securely, then velcro the foot and leg flaps together as if it was on your foot, so it’s the ‘finished’ shape. Slip your hand into it from the toes so your fingers sit inside the heel. Then place that into the hard cast making contact with the back of the cast first and pressing down on the toe part last. Make sure you have completely deflated the air pockets before you do all that – pressing the air release buttons isn’t enough, you have to gently push the pockets themselves at the same time to really get the air all out.

6. a cheap-and-nasty but useful way to make a quick ‘raincoat’ for the cast is to just cut the bottom out of a light plastic bag. Put your foot through and tie the handles around your leg. Just needs to not drag on the ground so you don’t slip on it. Not pretty but it got me to work without ending up with a soggy foam liner for the day. And much cheaper than one of the fancy cast covers you can buy (though I believe they’re pretty good if you do want to invest in one). Keep some spares at work, in your car etc.

7. when you are told you can start to walk in shoes a bit (I’m at that stage now), ask what shoes are okay and what to do if none of them fit. (DON”T think barefoot is okay even around the house – it isn’t for more than a few minutes, at least at first.) I have this problem as my foot is still a bit swollen and I wanted to buy something but had no idea what. I went to the podiatrist for this specific advice, rather than the physio or doctor, and he was excellent – told me exactly what to get and not get, where to buy them (a sports shoe shop that checks your arch and gait, not just a general shoe or sporting goods shop), and how to look after the skin on my feet which has become horribly rough with the cast on.

Hope some of this helps someone – I promise you the first time you stand up straight again on both feet really is wonderful.

Pam Armstrong - October 29, 2014

I agree. It feels great to get the air boot off but I have to say I got so used to it that I didn’t even think about it much. Anyway, I am on my second day of no boot but I am supposed to wear an ankle brace for another 3 weeks part of the time. I broke the bone on the side of my foot but I guess the brace is just to help the ankle get strength back. Not sure but I have to say that it is so tight that I can’t stand it and everytime I wear it even for just an hour my leg swells up and so do my toes. I don’t think that is very good for me so I am tryng to walk very carefully without the brace. I was wondering if you have to wear a brace for awhile?

Greta - October 30, 2014

Hi Pam, sounds like your injury is similar to mine – I fractured the 5th metatarsal. When my doctor said to start getting gradually out of the boot and putting weight on the foot and walking a bit, he said just to wear supportive stable shoes and didn’t suggest a brace. I only have the one pair of sandals that fits as my foot is still a little swollen; while they strap on well they didn’t feel really stable, that’s why I went to the podiatrist to get further advice. (I also have trouble buying shoes at the best of times, as I have quite small feet and many brands don’t make my size – I often get stuck having to buy shoes that are too large and obviously not stable, but quite literally it’s a choice of them or nothing. Ironically, none of those fit me at the moment either.)

The podiatrist suggested that, so long as it does not cause pain, toI try a toeless compression sock (the one I got is called a “foot compression sleeve”) while my foot muscles get their strength back. He said to wear it most of the time; I don’t need to sleep with it on. It’s a bit of an effort to put on, but definitely not as tight as the socks you get for flying to prevent thrombosis. It’s short – only comes to just above the ankle and down to about halfway along my foot. Once I have it on for a bit it relaxes a little and it’s pretty comfortable. Surprisingly, I can wear it with the sandals. I can also wear it with a sock over it, for when I have the boot back on and hopefully for when I buy some athletic/walking shoes next weekend. It definitely gives me support and feels pretty good when I’m gingerly regaining the feeling of walking with both feet again.

Pam Armstrong - October 30, 2014

Thanks for your help. I will try one of the compression socks and see how that works. I am in very good physical condition and I am a person that works out every day. Before breaking my foot I started every morning by walking at least 4 miles and usually a little more. I also have a total gym. The reason that I am telling you all of this is because I can’t believe how weak my leg ankle and foot got. If I put anything on but flat shoes I wiggle around like I am going to fall over. I have a pair of very pretty dress shoes that only have an inch heal but the heal is small and no way can I wear those right now. I also wanted to ask you if your foot feels like it has pressure in it? If I stand on it just for a second it feels like a balloon ready to pop. No pain, just pressure. I have a feeling that will be months before back to normal. I know this could be much worse but I am to the point I am just sick of the entire thing. Want to be back to normal. I’m sure you know the feeling. Thanks for your advice and hope you are back to normal soon.

Cario - October 30, 2014

I’m 6 weeks out of cast now – after a couple of days wobbly leg stopped wobbling – about 5 weeks for full, strength, painless ankle flexion though but not bad. Still residual skinny calf (I walk a lot too) but that will even out eventually – don’t despair, you’re almost there 🙂

51. Jane - January 4, 2015

Thank you for all your post,s advice, suggestions and support.
Trimalleolar fracture Oct 8 2014. Surgery Oct 15, Air Cast fitted Oct 28 and allowed WBAT. Have the Air Cast on for 3 months so until Jan 15 2015, fingers crossed. I have gone through most of the problems listed above. I have residual numbness over outer incision site and the top of my foot and into the big toe. Is this saphenous nerve complication? I did not see this mentioned in other posts. I can only walk short distances and have a lot of back, hip and knee pain both sides from uneven gait. Very little discomfort in the ankle joint. Air Cast has stopped holding air, missing that support. I have fibromyalgia and all this stress has set off flares, must get back into heated pool aquatherapy soon. Fx Clinic Jan 6 2015. What next?

52. Janet - January 26, 2015

Hello everyone! Chopart’s Fracture-Dislocation with all three relevant bones broken and displaced since Jan 2nd…my goodness, things are awful but so glad to find this blog (feel less alone now). The worst part with regard to pain is at night when lying down: burning & tingling in heel, sharp pain across top of mid-foot, can’t sleep with or without air cast, etc. Hate being so dependant on others; sorry for the griping! Any advice out there? This injury is going to take months so hope there are some nuggets of information I can use. Best wishes to you all and thanks!

Hafsa Ahmed - May 5, 2015

Hope u r ok now Janet. I knw exactly how u feel x

53. Kedi - March 9, 2015

09March 2015 – Kedi

hello i twisted my ankle on the 17th Jan – lateral malleolus fracture, i had a plaster cast on for four weeks; on my first check up the x-rays revealed the following – good alignment noticed; no lytic areas noted; tibia is intact; intertarsal joints appears within normal limits; no periosteal reaction; metatarsophalangeal joint appears within normal limits. my doctor prescribed a moon boot; I have been on a moon boot for two week now. i don’t sever pain and i don’t even take pain pills. i sleep with the boot even though its not comfortable. my worry is post four weeks of fracture my bone were not showing any healing progress. on the 20th March i’ll be going for my next check up. i worry too much and i cant stop myself from thinking of my injury. people are telling that the more i focus on it it wont heal quicker. i get scarred and sometime cry when i look at the boot. the doctor said if the bone if none uniting he will have to insert some support. i pray to God it doesn’t get to that. i really wish i could see through my skin to check if the bone is healing or not. i don’t wish this to happen to anyone; its a horrible experience.

54. Josh - April 24, 2015

Hi all, 2am, cant sleep and of course google knows all. Thanks for all the comments and help on this. I broke my ankle, in this stupid moon boot now for almost two weeks. Feel like a zombie. My problem is also the burning more than the “how to lie down comfy” somehow knowing there are other people out there also frustrated and tired makes me feel better! Good luck to all.

55. Hafsa Ahmed - May 5, 2015

Hello all.
Plz help! I hav Achilles’ tendon rupture. I was in plaster cast for 2 weeks which I was fine with. Today went to fracture clinic who sent me to ortho… They put on this air cast on. My feet are soon cold I’ve got pins and needles an heel feels like wen I ruptured it!,, Is this normal??? It’s so heavy! Wish I kept the plaster cast on!

Kathy - May 7, 2015

It sure doesn’t sound normal to me. Sounds like poor circulation. I’d call the doctor and ask if something can be done. Good luck!

56. Amanda S - May 22, 2015

Anyone else have a problem with blister/pressure sore on the heel?

I broke my ankle on April 26th, had surgery 9 days later – plate and screws on outside, 2 screws on the inside. When they removed the splint and staples 8 days later, there was a blister on the back of my heel. Doctor didn’t notice or mention it. It hasn’t changed since then other than looking more bruised around the edges. It is hot to the touch, but not painful. Went to see my pcp today and the PA said to just keep an eye on it, didn’t seem infected.

Amanda S - May 22, 2015

Have been in an aircast since they removed staples. Just adding

Swanny - July 6, 2015

Sounds like a fracture blister . I had one on the left hand side of my ankle and that and swelling delayed my op for 11.days. It did go by itself but like you was kept an eye on

Sarah - July 13, 2015

Hi Amanda I was in a full leg plaster cast for 5 weeks and developed a pressure sore on my heel (grade 2). pain was worse than breaking my fibula and tibia. my heel is purple/black in colour and has to be dressed and checked every other day by nurse which is why I am in an aircast. i do prefer the aircast as i can control the pressure on my leg and foot. I found that when elevating my leg, prop a cushion underneath the thigh/knee area will help alleviate aching. removing the top plate and placing iced gel pads also help with swelling.

57. Sandy - June 13, 2015

Hi all, so glad I Googled this! Broke my fibula two nights ago while on vacation and the local orthopedic walk in clinic gave me an aircast and crutches till I see an orthopedist at home in a few days. The aircast is driving me nuts!!! It’s heavy and makes my ankle hurt more when I move even a little bit. My heel is like pins and needles, keeping me from sleeping. They told me don’t take it off except to shower. I need sleep!!!!

58. Abigail - June 20, 2015

Hi all,
Sustained spiral fracture of mid fifths metatarsal 1/52 ago. Cast now off, half length air boot on. However the pain in my calf is horrendous, although not red/hot to the touch, think it’s prob muscular due to walking on the heel of the foot. Has anyone else had this problem? Also as everyone else, sleeping a nightmare (no pun intended). Any help would be fabulous 🙂

Margie - June 22, 2015

Badly dislocated and bimaelleor fracture on 4/26. Surgery next day. Two “deck” screws on inside of ankle, plate with six pins and one screw on outside of ankle. Two weeks spent in horrible splint, 4 weeks in fiberglass cast- was hoping for an aircast at last visit. Actually walked barefoot across the hall to get X-ray… Thought yoohoo!
Nope. Ortho knew exactly where to put his thumbs and here I am in a fiberglass cast for another three weeks. What are the odds that I won’t need an aircast 9 weeks post surgery? Because I can finally sleep, am ready to drive and yall make it sound like the aircast is the demon from hell!! With the exception that I can shower shave and swim!! Any ideas?

Bonnie - September 28, 2016

Hi I know this is an older post but when I read it I wanted to warn you guys that if you feel terrible pain in the back of your calf it may very well be a blood clot. When I experience this couldn’t find enough info on calf pain and foot breaks so lived with pain until couldn’t stand it. Emergency room doctor confirmed blood clots and said with foot injury’s this is not uncommon. Sadly my ortho doc never mentioned this or I might not have gone through so much pain and will continue to in future.
So please please if you feel terrible calf pain have it checked out asap it could save your life. Blood clots are extremely dangerous. Best of luck my fellow boot wearers

59. Swanny - July 6, 2015

Hi I fractured both ankles on the 1st May and after wearing plaster casts for 6 weeks now have to wear two Air Cast Boots. Whilst waiting for physio I have been walking or rather waddling to get moving after been given the OK that fractures are healed. The ankle with surgery ( screws and plates) is sore with the boot on and waddling around makes my hips feel really painful. Starting physio this week thank goodness as it’s been a long road.

60. Sharyn Morrell - August 16, 2015

Rolled my right ankle 6 months ago – avulsion fracture of lateral melliosis, complete rupture of CFL and ATFL, partial tear of other ligament. CAM boot for 6 weeks, non-weight bearing for three. Took another 3 weeks to be weaned out of boot into air brace. PT from 6 weeks but still extreme pain after being on my feet for more than an hour. MRI eventually recommended by ankle specialist, found OCD in cartilage and stretched ligaments. 5 months after initial injury, surgery to reconstruct ATFL and laparoscopy of the cartilage. Yes, another CAM boot for 6-10 weeks! Am now in week 5, still partial weight bearing with crutches and a long way to go…again!

I have had two different CAM boots and found it next to impossible to sleep in either of them. Probably my biggest drama with “going back to the start” after so many months was the thought of going back to the boot! Definitely loosen the straps to sleep, but remember that the purpose of the boot is to immobilise the joint; pull the sheets and blankets out from under the mattress and drape them loosely over the foot. Prop foot up on pillows, and I found a pillow with a “valley” along the centre is good for stopping the foot sliding off the side of the pillows. I am allergic to pain meds so find it pretty frustrating (have tried so many different types that I could open a dispensary). The worst is the heel pain – almost like a bed sore from the foot being up all of the time and the pressure being on the back of the heel, it seems to get a lot worse at night.

61. Djones - September 5, 2015

Has anyone had athletes foot or sores while in the air cast? I wash my foot daily and spray with secret because it is very hot out then blow dry my foot between the toes etc. but after 3 weeks my skin by my toes is peeling and yellow and bleeding in areas. I’ve been wearing new socks daily so I don’t understand what is happening? Anyone experience this and what did you do?
Can’t wait for this break to be all healed and thus boot off. I’m on crutches non weight bearing. Still a bit swollen and bruised and toes are numb.

62. Fi - September 16, 2015

Post Number 51- How I’d you resolve your problem with residual numbness and pain in your big toe and top of foot? Anyone else had this?
Thank you for posting and sharing and thank you for the useful tips…I feel a lot better for not being the only one!!

Jane McLaughlin - September 16, 2015

It is nearly a year post op. Residual Numbness remains but is getting better (or I have adapted). Others have told me it never returns to pre accident state. Nerves cut during surgery need to regenerate and it takes a long time and maybe never completely. I have feeling now but it is different. Big toe pain is gone. Good luck! P.S. Fell 8 weeks ago and Fx radial head of L elbow joint. No surgery this time and nearly back to normal already.

Fi - September 16, 2015

Thank you. That is reassuring. I will persevere! This is the third op in 9 months after a traumatic car accident. As long as I can eventually walk and manage levels of pain I think I will be one of the lucky ones. Thanks again.

63. Connie Jungmann - October 25, 2015

Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I am a 63 yr old woman & broke my ankle 6 weeks ago — surgery, pin on one side; plate and six screws on the other. Just got my air cast boot and am able to walk fairly well short distances with crutch assistance. Of course now that I am up more, it is swelling more & I also find the nights challenging. Your tips have helped me a lot. I do sleep with the boot on at night (straps loosened) as I am normally a restless sleeper. I have padded the footbed with a felt inner sole made for men’s hunting boots & have found that makes the bottom of my foot & my heel less sensitive.

64. ailsa - November 6, 2015

I am so glad I found this post. I thought it was me going mad with this aircast boot. I’ve got a fractured 2nd metatarsal with possible Lisfranc ligament damage. I started off in a NHS rigid shoe which was great and partial weight bearing with crutches but I’m now in the aircast boot none weight bearing, now 3 days in. I am not coping well with the crutches at present, they are making me hurt where I didn’t know I can hurt. I’m 54 and not that fit due to an arthritis condition. I’ve rented a knee scooter which is going to be a God send downstairs in the house.
I am loosening the boot’s straps at night and leaving off the front plastic plate. I am also leaving the front plate off during the day if I’m not tolerating it well. As my ankle isn’t involved I can get away with it, I am also not using the air valves either as I wan’t told how much air to use and I don’t seem to be getting it right without hurting, a lot!!
I think overall, I still would rather be in this than a fixed cast, at least I can take it off to shower and exercise my foot and ankle.

65. Dan - December 15, 2015

Wow, I’m glad I found this post. I’ve tried begging my orthopaedic surgeon for an alternative to wearing the boot, but the only one was to get a cast put on. After having worn a cast for seven weeks with a busted ankle eight years ago I’m not keen to repeat the experience. Since a Braun Block is a bit too much to spend for a temporary injury (fractured 2-4 metatarsals with disrupted ligaments) I’ve bought a bean-bag ottoman. The plan is to not quite fill it all the way so my foot will sink into it a little bit so that I won’t have my foot constantly trying to fall to either side. I’ve gotta say that this boot has not done good things for my knee 😦

As an aside, thanks to a Facebook friend I now know of the existence of knee scooters/walkers. These things are an absolute Godsend if you’re as useless at crutches as me. It also has a dinky little basket so I can carry things 🙂

66. Neil - December 16, 2015

I love this site, great to see everyone with the same problem coming together! This is my 2nd time in the aircast in the past two years and I have a few comments. The first two weeks, post fracture surgery, just face it, they will SUCK. Nothing you can do but take Tylenol/Advil depending on your preference/body, and acknowledge you will likely never get more than 3 hours of uninterrupted sleep, yes it’s awful but it will pass. I actually preferred sleeping away from my girlfriend to let her get some rest the 2nd time as I knew I was a lost cause (and she was amazing helping me in the day). The next 4 get much better. One simple tip I saw above was I loved soaking my foot in a basin/bathtub/pool full of preferably warm water and let it dangle, it removes all the pressure and feels very relaxing. When sleeping start remove elevation and instead prop pillows up beside the boot to just keep it straight without having to use your leg muscles. If lying sideways always have a good long pillow to slide between your legs from knee to foot. And don’t forget to take the boot off when you’re home on the couch (after 2/3 weeks for fib fracture), it really relaxes the swelling and makes it a little more manageable when you finally strap up and get into bed. Good luck, hopefully it’s over soon. Very sorry to those with longer than 6 weeks in cast, you are a warrior.

67. Harry Guerriere - January 2, 2016

After leaving a medical appointment, i walked down the rainy dark street and stepped on a 3 inch crack and inverted my ankle grade 3. Oh, by the way, there is a large tree in front on that house with branches thick enough to hold dangling homeowners with thick rope by their necks til dead!!! Ha! Ha!..Just kidding. I had just completed my last appointment before the holiday cheer…almost 2 weeks off from teaching. The fiberglass cast lasted less than 24 hours due to heightened senses. Here I am, in this air boot. Its going to take a whole year. This injury is the pits!!! I usually walk 10 flights of stairs 6x nightly 4x a week, This will teach me awareness of the moment big time. Too bad my students will not have their speech therapist for quite some time. If you see a sidewalk that is a hazard, please make a complaint that moment….I will!!!!! It will be a 12 month struggle to walk up those stairs again. Best to all of you,

68. Paula - January 29, 2016

Hi all – I’m so glad I found this thread! I was diagnosed with a partial rupture of my Achilles tendon after dancing a little too heartily at the Christmas party… to cut a very long story short (involving a trip to the States, a DVT and being put on blood thinners) it took another 2 weeks for me to get anyone to look at the actual injury as I thought that limping everywhere and not being able to walk down stairs properly was not right. Eventually, the rupture was diagnosed and I’m now into day 15 of an Aircast boot with wedges in which keep my foot at a flexed downward angle, which will be removed at intervals over a 10 week period. I’m gratified to see that I’m not the only one who is suffering at night, as I thought it was due to me not fastening / tightening the boot properly. I have to keep the boot on at all times and only take it off 1-2 times daily so I can wash my foot and check my skin for sores, etc. The only good nights sleep I had was the first night, for some reason. Since then, I’m regularly woken up with pins and needles in my toes and on the top of my foot. It’s like having Carpel Tunnel Syndrome in my foot. I only get relief if I put my foot on the floor next to the bed but who can sleep like that? Because of the blood thinners (Rivaroxban) I’m limited to what painkillers I can take. I have another 8 weeks of this and I’m not sure my sanity will last that long! I’m currently off work because of the pain and not sleeping, and not being able to drive is just driving me nuts. Arrrgh!!

Anyway, thank you for letting me vent… if anyone has any tips or has found themselves in my particular position, I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Laura - January 31, 2016

This thread is great…especially since it’s been going on for years!
Paula- I had Achilles surgery on Jan. 4 and got the aircast on Jan. 26. I hate the bulkiness, weight & downright uncomfortanle nature of this monstrosity!
I have to wear it at night & keep a semi-fluffy pillow under it. I am so afraid of damaging my incision that I keep my leg turned on its side so the weight isn’t on the back of the heel.
I’ll be non-weight bearing for at least another 2.5 weeks.
The kneewalker was a God-send until I was given the aircast with the pump on the shin. It bruised my shin within 2 days. So, I found that I could pull the pump to the side & I filled the hole it left in the plastic tongue with a sock! :o). It’s not pretty, but it relieved the shin pain.
I get by, but it is comforting to know I’m not alone!
Best of luck as you (and everyone here) recover!

69. SarahC - February 2, 2016

Three weeks ago I slid on a patch of black ice and was rewarded with a dislocated ankle and trimalleolar ankle fracture. They fixed the dislocation right away, but I had to wait a week to get the repair surgery. That was about 2 weeks ago. Yesterday I “graduated” from the splint cast to an air cast boot. It’s now 2 am and I can’t sleep a wink. I’m miserable. The top of my foot burns like mad, as does my heel. I just found this blog and am so relieved to read the stories and tips from others in this horrible club. I have found a tiny bit of relief by stacking small soft pillows under my knee so my foot can dangle down a bit. That works for a few minutes. I am jacked up on oxycodone, which I hate, but the pain is so bad I have to take them. Before accident I was in incredible shape and an athlete, running a few times a week and working out with a personal trainer twice a week. I want my old life back. Trying to stay positive, but it’s difficult. What did others do to maintain weight while convalescing? I am a healthy vegetarian so eating habits are fine. But not moving much scares me. Please keep posting here. You have no idea how much hearing the stories of others helps.

70. Paula - February 2, 2016

Well, I had a visit to the docs yesterday for a review and I mentioned the pain. He’s now put me on Codeine Phosphate to take at bedtime so last night, I had great hopes. However, I was awake in the early hours once again this morning and have found myself with only a few hours broken sleep and a headache once again because of this. I’ve also been signed off work for another 3 weeks, because of the pain and lack of sleep. I feel like my life has been put on hold!

Howe we, I suppose I’m luckier than most, since I am weight-bearing and I don’t have an incision to worry about, unlike you Laura. I really hope you have a speedy recovery.

71. Joey - February 7, 2016

I slipped on ice two weeks ago and broke tibia and fibula , 3 total breaks, dislocated ankle and tore the ligaments . I had surgery that day , and got two metal plates, 10+ screws , and a wire . I was in split cast for first two weeks and just went into the air cast. My ankle is so stiff it is hard to try and get the heel pushed to the back.

This site has helped me as my ortho told me this was the worst break he has seen and I have been pretty discouraged lately. I have no weight bearing on ankle for at least 3 months maybe not walking for 6 according to my last follow up .

The heel pain is awful in the air cast . I’m going go take the advice of several on here and try and loosen the top at night to sleep . I do take it off some while in recliner to ice but it is chore getting the cast back on and I almost pass out due to the pain . Please keep up the comments as if helps me and hope that this helps someone else that they are not alone .

SarahC - February 7, 2016

I am so sorry about your injury, Joey. Mine sounds similar, though not quite as bad as yours maybe. It occurred on January 12th, so I’m a little further along. And I find the same thing, that the ankle is super stiff and hard to get at a 90 degree angle so it fits into the air cast. The PA at my orthopedist said I really need to get it flat. Ouch. I am massaging the top of the foot every night to try and get rid of the swelling and pain, but that’s slow work. I am also carefully bending my ankle for a few reps several times a day, without forcing anything, of course. Then I get the reward of a nice ice wrap. What I’m finding is that little by little the stiffness is loosening. But only a very little at a time. And then it’s back to stiff when I wake up, but at least it’s a little progress.

The heel pain in the boot is awful. Every now and then I position myself on my belly on the couch and then scooch down so that I can put the booted foot over the roll arm. That seems to relieve the pressure on the heel for a little while. This was actually suggested by my PA who coincidentally has a broken ankle, though not nearly as bad as yours and mine. Maybe that would help you a little.

Please keep blogging. I’m finding great comfort in the stories of others. I’d like to know how you’re progressing, especially since our injuries are similar and occurred close to the same time. Wishing you all the best in your recovery. And hoping we’ll be sharing success stories at some point in the future when all of this is behind us.

Joey - February 7, 2016

Sarah ,
Thanks for your comment . I was googling heel pain from the cast when I found this forum , I’m glad I did .
I was having the heel pain last night pretty bad while sitting in my recliner . It was weird that as soon as I put my foot down on the floor it relieved the pain . I would then loosen the boot some and the pain would be gone for about an hour or so before it returned . Is this just from the stretching of the heel or the pressure ? What did your PA say it say it was caused from ?

I finally moved to my bed around 3 am and was able to sleep until 830 or so , so I was very happy . I’m a slide sleeper and the injury is on my left ankle so I have to sleep on my right side with 3 pillows under my foot and one under my leg .

I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel . I just hope that in the future I will be able to golf and enjoy the outdoors once again . It’s depressing sitting inside all day.

SarahC - February 8, 2016

So, sleeping from 3 AM to 8:30 is excellent! I haven’t had that much uninterrupted sleep since this whole thing happened.

The PA tells me the heel pain is from 1) swelling (edema and some plod that hasn’t made its way out yet), 2) pressure from the boot, which is why when you loosen the boot it feels better for a little while. I’m not sure that’s true for yours, though, so you’ll want to be careful to ask your ortho what’s causing it and what to do about it.

The light seems very far away indeed, but I know it’s there. You WILL play golf again. I WILL run again. And we’ll be outdoors again. A lady came up to me at a church function today and handed me her card and said to call her. She had a trimalleolar fracture several years ago and it mended perfectly. She wants to tell me the whole story to give me encouragement. She said no one knows the depression and discouragement unless they’ve gone through it and she’s been through it. Once I talk with her, I’ll share her story. I couldn’t stay to listen to her because my foot was throbbing and I knew I’d overdone it. Sigh. This was my first real outing in a month and after an hour & I was exhausted.

Keep writing. I’m finding my new online community to be the best support. And hope that heel starts feeling less pressure and pain.

Harriet Boyd - July 17, 2016

I broke both my ankles. Plates pins and screws. In left. Cast on right for a month. Now non weight Bering on left. As tolerated on right. Cannot walk. In nursing home 30 days. Now home with air cast on both legs. Sleeping sucks. Have hospital bed.

72. Joey - February 11, 2016

Sarah ,

That was awesome you were able to get out and go to church ! I’m not that brave yet. When I even take a shower (I have a shower seat ) with my leg down it gets purple pretty quick and swollen .

About the heel issue , the nurse told me to keep the pillows behind the heel from ankle toward calf , if that makes sense . To let the heel hang off slightly at the end . It doesn’t help a whole lot ha ha . . But they also told me while sitting in the chair, I can take my air cast off to ice or just to let rest . I absolutely hate the air cast still . I also sometimes just take the top tounge part out . I still can’t get my heel all the way back and down where it needs to be .

Hope you and anyone else reading this is healing quickly . I have several prayer warriors praying for me , and will gladly pray for anyone else with this injury . I’m lucky to have a good wife that takes care of me , but I hate feeling so helpless . It’s hard with a break like this not being able to move for so long .


73. Paula - February 12, 2016

Afternoon all – well, I had my 4-week review at the hospital yesterday and unfortunately, it’s not all going as planned. I should have had one of the wedges in the boot removed but when the Thompson test was performed on my calf, I had no movement in my foot at all. So, instead of removing one of the wedges, they’ve all been left in place and I have to go back in another 2 weeks for another review. What I’m afraid of now is having to have this bloody boot for longer than the initial 10 weeks! I spoke to the consultant about the pain and discomfort that I’ve been having at night and he said to let the air out at night. So I did this last night – no difference at all! I woke up about 3 times, always in pain. Not only that but the looseness of the boot made my ankle feel quite vulnerable and fragile, as though it was going to twist out of shape. So, tonight, I shall go back to having the boot inflated but loosen the toe area just a bit, in the hope that that helps. The consultant also intimated that had I not been on the blood thinners, then surgery might have been an option, which was a surprise – I’m 51 and was given to understand that the Achilles repair surgery was just for youngsters. What does Google know, eh?!

I hope everyone else is coping well with their boots and I’m sorry for rambling on but it’s a sort of comfort to know I’m not alone in this pain.

Paula x

Joey - February 13, 2016

Sorry to hear about your news. I too hate this air cast more everyday. I have never aired mine up due to the swelling in my foot so far . I have metal plates in both sides of my ankle and can feel this stupid cast pushing on them so it’s hard to get comfortable as well . I am thinking about ordering a heel cushion of pad of some type to put in the cast to add to comfort . Not sure if that would help or not .

I hope you get great news at your next appt !

SarahC - February 13, 2016

I am so sorry to hear about everyone’s pain. Together, we WILL get through this. I had a couple of breakthroughs this week that I thought I would share.

First, I met with a chiropractor who specializes in extremities. I got his name from a random person who saw me struggling with my boot and knee walker, approached me, and asked if she could share her story. It turned out that she had the exact same injury (trimalleolar fracture and dislocation) 12 years ago. She had obviously recovered completely. She had a number of suggestions, one of which was to see this guy and experience cold laser treatments. I had never been to a chiropractor in my life before that, but her testimonial about how much he had helped in her recovery convinced me to give it a try. I’ll do anything to get through this faster and get my old life back. My first session was last Wednesday. The laser was actually warm even though they call it a “cold laser.” Because I’m only 4 weeks into this, he went very gently. He concentrated on the top of my foot where the edema and swelling are still very painful, and also on the heel and the fascia between the tibia and fibula. The laser felt slightly tingly and pleasantly warm as it beamed the healing energy into my foot. The whole treatment lasted about 45 minutes. My foot was immediately more flexible. I could do my tiny flexes that the ortho told me to do very easily after the treatment.

The big change occurred that night. Like you all, I haven’t gotten through a single night without waking up 5 or 6 times in pain from either the injury or the boot. Well, that night I woke up only once at 4:30 AM, took a Tramadol, and then slept without waking until 7:30 AM. The ankle felt a bit less stiff the next day, too. The really big change was the second night. I went to sleep at 11 and woke up at 7:05. I couldn’t believe it! 8 whole hours of sleep for the first time in a month!

I went back for a second treatment yesterday. I have noticed some slightly improved range of motion, though I can’t do too much at this point other than my flexing exercises (which aren’t much). The edema is down a little. So, I signed up for a package of 15 sessions. We’ll see if it accelerates the healing.

One last thing I tried that seemed to work a bit. I’m more comfortable in the boot at night for the same reasons Paula described. I feel very protective of my “broken wing” and it feels too vulnerable without the boot. I switched my pillow however, to lengthwise instead of crosswise. I positioned it up to my hip so my heel could sort of dangle off the back. It provided a little relief.

I hope everyone continues to heal and share what you learn on the way. Prayers and affirmations for complete and rapid healing for us all.

Jane Mc - February 13, 2016

My trimalleolar ankle Fx happened Oct 2014. I still receive the comments. I send my empathy to everybody. My chiropractor, and his trusty laser, was a big help with healing as you mentioned SarahC. Too late I learned about getting a foot leveler to reduce the possibility of lower back problems when I was weight bearing. I finally found one 2 weeks before I was out of the aircast so the damage had already happened and was being treated. 16 months later and I still have numbness across the top of my foot, much improved but still there. Keep calm and carry on, it gets better.

74. Joey - February 13, 2016

Thanks for advice . I looked up the laser treatments. What is the foot leveler ? Is that an insole ? What is the purpose and how does it help ?


75. Paula - February 13, 2016

The one I got is an EvenUp (got it direct from their website, it cost about £30 including postage). I haven’t used it much because I find it a bit cumbersome but I shall stick with it as I am fed up of walking like Quasimodo. It’s a sort of sole that you slip on to your proper shoe or trainer and it creates a kind of platform to balance up the depth of the boot, so you’re walking more evenly. You can see a picture on here http://evenupcorp.com/evenup-shoe-balancer-single-unit. It needs to be quite a heavy shoe or trainer, as I found that on a simple slip-on shoe, it tried to pull the shoe off.

I also looked up laser treatments but alas, it doesn’t look like it’s appropriate for my injury 😦


Joey - February 17, 2016

Ok , thank you . I will look into those .

The nurse At my ortho office is not recommending laser treatments at this time. I need to follow their orders since I’m on workers comp .

76. Joey - February 17, 2016

Hello all , I hope everyone is doing well . I’m
Still hanging in there , taking it one day at a time. I noticed something lately. I can’t not bare to see people fall on television now. Of course I got my injury from slipping on ice. It’s like I have PTSD for falling. It’s strange . My whole body tenses and I get chills. it’s like I’m re living my incident . Was wondering if anyone else experiences the same thing, or if I’m just weird ha ha .

Anyway , I wish people would keep posting . I like the support knowing there are other people out there stuck in a chair like me , waiting for their foot to heel.


SarahC - February 17, 2016

I got some good news today. It’s four weeks since the surgery and I’m now allowed to put a little weight on it and walk around the house a bit. I plan to order one of those EvenUp things, so thank you for the recommendation. I will tell you that when I tried to stand on it, it hurt like bloody hell. Be careful what you wish for. They said the pain was normal, so I shall persevere. They also gave me some theraband exercises to start doing 3 times a day. They hurt, but I guess progress is going to hurt for awhile.

Well, you might be weird, Joey, but I don’t know you well enough to say. haha. I, too, experienced a terrible reaction while watching TV one night and seeing a guy break his leg. Same thing you are describing. I got chills and was shaking. My husband was shocked at how violent my reaction was. I guess it is like PTSD, even though my fall was on ice, and the one on TV was not.

I’m taking a bunch of calcium, but the doc said to be careful because too much calcium can cause kidney stones. I didn’t know that, so thought I’d pass the warning along.

Hope everyone is healing and feeling better every day!

Joey - February 18, 2016

Sarah –
Wow ! Getting to put weight already on your foot ? That’s awesome . You must be healing quick . I am non weight bearing until April 21 (injury occurred Jan 21) .

Also , having a strange thing started happening today while boot is off . Last three toes (farthest from big toe ) feels like is pulling down (curving in toward heel) . Just a strange feeling . Not sure if feeling is coming back to foot some because I wasn’t able to bend those toes to well.

I will definitely order one of those even supports as well soon to have ready .
Take it easy on that foot Sarah ! Don’t over do it .


SarahC - February 24, 2016

I think you said earlier that your doctor said your break was the worst he’d seen, so it will take longer to heal, I would imagine. Hang in there!

I’ve been hobbling around for a week or so and it hurts. All the time. But I am walking a bit. I also have four exercises that I do twice a day. They hurt like crazy. This past weekend I actually took 2 steps down from the kitchen to the garage. That felt like wonderful progress!

So now just dealing with the depression of realizing that I’ve not had a single pain-free moment since January 12th, and I’m not likely to have any for the foreseeable future. I’m so tired of being in pain.

Harriet - July 17, 2016

I think about falling I get queasy shaky pit of the stomac pain. I fell and broke both ankles. Pins plates in left right was just cast. Now in air casts. Can’t wAlk at all almost 2 months out.

77. humblepie - March 11, 2016

Hey everybody! I just got moved into an aircast after breaking my ankle. It’s only been a couple weeks since surgery, and I’m not weight bearing, however the pressure the air bags put on my wounds is next to unbearable. When I got home from the hospital, I was crying in pain, even two dilaudids did nothing to ease my discomfort.

It was only by deinflating the cast a few notches on the left and right side that the pain relinquished itself all together and I passed out in relief.

It’s now a couple days later, and I’ve taken to only pumping it 4-5 times per side versus the 10 per they initially set it as at the hospital. I pump it up more if I’m heading to the bathroom on my walker, but otherwise spend 95% of my day with it elevated and not moving.

I’m wondering how important inflation is in keeping the ankle in the correct position versus the straps and the position of my foot within the boot.

I’m paranoid that unless I keep the pressure up around 7-8 pumps or more (thus abrading my cuts and pressing against the bolts in my ankle) that I might be not healing properly.

Please advise as to what “keep the boot firm but comfortable” means in regards to filling the air sacs.

I was under the impression it had to be tighter when mobile and looser when resting or sleeping, but I’m paranoid atm!

78. SarahC - March 11, 2016

Hello everyone
It’s two months since my break and I’m getting around pretty well in my boot. I have to have a chiropractic adjustment every week to deal with the hip misalignment from the boot. I am diligently doing my exercises. But wow is my foot stiff. I’m wondering if it will ever be normal again. I haven’t kept the air cast very pumped for the same reasons, HumblePie, and it seems to be fine. My next post op is on March 23 and I wonder if they might let me do a little cardio on recumbent bike. I’ve lost 10 pounds since this ordeal but I’m not skinnier, so must be muscle mass. My bad calf is very skinny compared to the other one. Ugly!
Hope you’re healing well, Joey!

Joey - March 11, 2016

HumblePie, I might be doing it wrong but I’m just now able to pump mine maybe 3-4 times on each side (1 & 2) due to swelling. Sometimes I risk it and use my knee scooter to the restroom without the boot on and stand on one foot because I’m lazy and don’t want to put the cast back on when I’m letting it rest while I’m in my recliner.

I’m doing ok. I had an appointment at the beginning of the week. I will be starting PT on Monday, 3 times a week for flexibility. I am still non-weight bearing until April 21. My foot is very stiff and it is even hard to bend it enough to get the back of my heel seated in the boot. So I’m nervous about PT since my ankle seems to be “stuck” in its position.

The doctor described my injury as I was attempting to tear off my foot 😦 . I finally learn the term was trimalleolar fx with syndesmosis? I got the actual pics of my x-ray printed off and I wish we could post pics on here. Had two metal plates, wire, and it looks like total of 15-16 screws, since there are 4 screws at each bottom of the plates. I asked if I would have the hardware removed one day and they said only if it becomes bothersome. They told me that usually women have more problems than men if they don’t have enough flab to cover the metal and it starts to rub the skin.

My heel pain went away, Thank Goodness! I still sleep with my air cast but I loosen it so much its barely support. Mostly there from something bumping up against it. I think loosening it so much helped the heel problem.

My main bothersome issue not is my thigh. I guess i’m having nerve issues and the side of my thigh either hurts or stays numb 100% of the time.

Also, my injured foot gets very purple quickly when taken from a elevated position to down on the ground. DOes anyone else have this same problem? I took my iPhone, recorded my foot right when it was placed down and did a 60 second time lapse video. It was very strange to watch! The purple color just rushed down my leg and down my foot , leaving only the tip of my toes white. I asked the doctor and they didn’t think it was a blood clot but that it was normal. It just doesn’t seem normal to me !

Please keep up the comments! Nice to read about others issues and get feedback.


79. Chris - March 25, 2016

I am on week three of a broken fibula and have been in an aircast for two weeks. I am having new dark bruises several inches above my break. Anyone else have this problem? Is this normal? Also, my doctor gave no guidance on how tight to pump up the air bags. I too worry that it is too loose.

SarahC - March 25, 2016

Well, good news from me! On Wednesday I graduated from the Aircast to a neat little brace. Mobility is returning to my ankle. It’s never as fast as we’d like, but I’ll take it. I start physical therapy this coming week, though I have been doing the exercises my doc gave me religiously for the past month. They hurt, but they do seem to help. I took a 1-mile walk Wednesday night, I was so happy. Came home and slept for 8 hours, but felt great that I was walking again without looking like Quasimodo. I limp a little, but doc says that will get better with the PT.

Joey – the top of my foot is discolored and the doc said it may always be a little darker than the other one. I also noticed that the bruise on the inside of my knee is still faintly there. Doc said that may be permanent. All of these are little things.

Chris – I worried constantly that the Aircast was too loose. I tried to pump it up enough so my foot wouldn’t move around a lot but was still comfortable. “Comfortable” does not ever describe wearing an Aircast, though. But I tried to find a happy medium and it seemed to work.

I’m off to PT. Working really, really hard to get back to running soon. But at least I’m walking into spring.

Best of luck to all!

80. Rebecca Dzorevski - March 31, 2016

Hi everyone, first day with Aircast. Ouch! Had surgery both tibia and fibula broken, one fractured, screws and plates. Now into week 5 on fifth cast (Aircast). Was finally able to sleep without painkillers, prior to tonight. It is now 1 am and it feels like the cast is pressing right on the screws and plates. I am over 60 years old and worried these old bones will take a long time to heal.

Anyone out there in my age bracket in a similar situation and can offer any advise on healthy healing of old bones.I have been on the website Institute for Bone Health found the advise on vitamins very helpful. Not looking for a speedy recovery but a healthy one. I have also read drinking be broth helps.

NWB for another 3 weeks, am researching good PT specializing in ortho.

I must say after 5 weeks, being able to see my poor atrophied leg and giving it tender loving gentle massages with moisturizer feels heaven sent.

Mentally, it sucks..housebound and relying on family and friends to take me anywhere. The trip to the salon for a wash and blow dry is a real treat and a pick me upper. Have hired a cleaning lady for the duration of NWB. I found being nice to myself and giving myself little treats really helps with the depression.

Looking forward to any advice.

Jane McLaughlin - March 31, 2016

I had my trimalleolar Fx surgery 4 days before my 66 th b’day. I had laser therapy to speed healing. Wish I had known to get a foot leveller for the shorter good leg when I was WB in the Aircast
to take pressure off fragile lower back.

SarahC - April 8, 2016

I am 57 and recovering from trimalleolar Fx surgery that I had on Jan 21. Agree with Jane about the cold laser therapy and foot leveler. I take a supplement called “BoneUp” and an enzyme called “Fibrenza.” My healing is going much faster than doc or chiro expected. Sounds like you are doing good things for yourself, Rebecca, to keep depression at bay. That’s been a struggle for me. We need to be good to ourselves to help our bodies heal. Best to you.

Harriet - July 17, 2016

I’m 62. I broke both my ankles on May 28. A month in nursing home. Surgury 6 pins and a plate and screws in left. Just reset on r ight. Home now in two air casts. Non weight Bering on left. Minimal on right. Cannot walk. Sleeping not much. Cast are uncomfortable

81. Joey - April 20, 2016

I had my three month checkup yesterday and can now finally put some weight on my bad foot with the air cast on and using crutches . This has been a slow recovery. I went to PT yesterday for them to show me how to walk with the crutches and also to do some more exercises . They have me standing holding on to a railing , with just my socks on and try to shift weight to my bad leg . It hurts so much .

Also , it is strange that my injured leg feels like a robotic leg of sorts , when I’m standing I can’t bend my knee because there is not much flexibility in my ankle . Without putting Weight on it , I am still a few degrees away from neutral (so very limited motion ).

I’m finally going back to light duty work next week (after 3 months off ) so I’m nervous about pain level etc . They are hoping I can walk well with the boot without crutches in 6 weeks . So we will see .

Sarah , great to hear your out of the boot ! Can’t wait for the day I can graduate from it .

Hope everyone else is going great .


82. Tracey - April 21, 2016

Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I am only on my 3rd day in an aitcast after 2 weeks in a plaster cast following tendon and ligament repair surgery. I have experienced heal pain and toe pain others have talked about and have had some relief by loosening the straps and releasing air.
One thing I have found hard is how hot and sweaty my foot gets. The chemist gave me an idea to try sticking panty liners to liner in the base of the book (little unconventional, I know). They should absorb moisture and I can easily change them. I am giving this a go and I will let you know if it works.

83. Bridget Mastrobattista - August 13, 2016

I, too, had a trimalleolar fracture. Got my Aircast yesterday, was thrilled to be out of the cast and into the boot. Last night was excruciating, so I thought something must be wrong, until I found this site and realize I am in the same boat/boot as you all. I had to take an oxy for the pain. The burning, pinching, throbbing was unbelievable, I released the air. What I finally did to help alleviate the pain, I had a sock over the ace bandage that was contributing to the loss of circulation, that helped quite a bit by taking that off. Tonight I will follow others’ suggestions on getting relieve through the night. Namely, taking off the plastic tongue and loosening the Velcro straps. Tend to get paranoid that that’s not the right thing to do, but I think you’ve all experienced this situation and have found ways to get around the pain. Thanks for the insight.

84. Barbara - August 20, 2016

Hello all – like many of you – I too was thrilled to “trip” into this conversation about air-casts. I have a fractured 5th metatarsal fracture. I rolled by right foot getting up from the sofa while on vaca in CA for my granddaughters first birthday. I have a high a tolerance for pain and the only pill I take is to drive because I am an epileptic.(I have not yet found herbs, fruits or veggies to eliminate that pill!) So, for five days I carried on figuring it was no different that a sprained ankle and I know how they feel and twisted knees too. I’m tough.. What brought the urgency of getting it checked was on my flight from LAX to BOS and the swelling that happened. Cabin pressure and all that. So, after seeing the Ortho PA and he said “air cast” and told me what I could do – I was floored! (I’m not a good patient either – avoid all docs and speak my mind when I’m with them.) So, I’ve only had mine now for a week (he says 4 needed) and all your complaints are mine. I will walk on my heel when I need too! Here’s a little chuckle – he said I could sleep w/o it and shower w/o it – then his nurse on a phone call told me that I would have to put it on to go the bathroom in the middle of the night. I laughed and told her I’m asleep for crying out loud – I’m not doing that. So, for the first couple of nights I went w/o it but then I realized that I should sleep with it because I’m a foot curler during the night. Up/down rolling of my toes. I love the idea of the pillow cases and I will try that tonight. I also like the idea of loosening the inside flaps and keeping the top off which by the way, I find myself wearing it reversed! Actually, more comfortable..
I am also having problems with the comfort of the boot and the pain in the A…. that it is to deal with it.Way too much work for me. I have the tingling and all that too. Another issue that I have been having is at the “bend (called wrist on the hand)” of the foot and leg – its beginning to hurt because of the brace and where it is landing. I have also had some trip times and that is not cool because it could cause my knees to twist. They do w/o warning and that is not fun either. Can’t drive which is worse and I hate being home all day and relying on friends. I have no family in the area. I am out of work for at least a week and I’m waiting for the “corporate” approval to be able to return to work. Safety issue on the work side-I’m in retail.
I’m on a fixed income and what I take home from my job is much needed! For those tracking ages on these problems – I’m 62.

Susan Gilmore - August 20, 2016

I took mine off to drive. Wore it to the car. Took it off. Drove with my toe. Then put it back on to get groceries. Then back to the car. Removed it. Drove home. Put it back on. Into the house with the groceries. It would have been better if I’d fractured the left one.

85. PJ - August 21, 2016

Thanks, everyone, for the input, support and suggestions. I’ve experienced about everything I’ve read after scrolling through these posts. I had surgery for trimalleolar fracture on right ankle on July 26, four days after tripping on outdoor steps in my flip-flops. I crawled into the house and started calling people until I found two friends to help get me to ER. (Such great drama!)
I’m 56, and have been in the boot about two weeks. I see doc again on September 7, and have at least six more weeks of NWB and then PT. of course schedule could change. I have good and not as good days. I’ve been taking generic Benadryl at night, but get up two or three times. This is the first time in my life that I’ve slept on my back and am not a fan, but it’s bearable. I was happy to read about people sleeping on their side with pillows.
I use a rolling walker that I sit on and scoot around in, and a wheel chair. It seems to help using different devices to give body a change of stress points. I have crutches, but rarely use them.
I hand-washed the boot lining today, but it took all day to dry. I put soft wash clothes in the boot while lining was drying.
I go back and forth between resting and then trying to do small chores so that I can have some movement and circulation. I’m still not sure if I should be resting more or less. Sometimes I rest flat on my back and sometimes sitting up in reclining futon, again, to change the pressure points.
When my attitude and outlook are positive, then I am fine. Tonight I thought my bum foot looked more swollen than a few days ago, and then I was sad and a little worried. I’m going to rest more tomorrow. For now, I’m quite content to be home and only venture out for doc appointments. It’s 100 degrees where I live, so not bad time to be indoors. I’ve been working on art at home before this happened, so I can actually still do most of what I was doing, but haven’t gotten back to it. I do pray, meditate, read, watch a little TV, accept friends who want to bring lunch, and take naps. I’m trying to eat healthy as possible. I feel better on the days I eat the most fruits and veggies.
Smelling and using some essential oils helps me feel relaxed. I also started putting lanolin on my toes which are very dry.
I was rather busy before this and worked out in the yard about half of each day and worked part-time with a photographer, which I had to quit for now. I did all of the shopping, cooking, yard, etc., so it’s been an adjustment for me and my hubby, but I’m learning to really slow down and he’s learning how to shop and run errands after he gets home from work. I’m thankful that somebody is working and that he can help me in the evenings and weekends. And, I need to remember than I can call friends if I need something during the day.
I guess it’s like all things in life in the fact that we can make it a great or lousy thing. Some days I feel quite fortunate that I can be home and relax and read, etc., other times I’m sad and feel a little sorry for myself, and that I can’t be outside and working in the garage, can’t take care of little grand kiddies, but try not to stay in that negative place very long.
The pain is less each week, but it’s still there and sometimes the boot feels like an anchor. I know this is a long process and I hope everything heals properly, and I hope the same for all of you. For me, this can be a time to slow down and focus on what’s important, and be grateful that it was not worse. (But sometimes I cry and miss the things I can’t do and am concerned about possible complications with plate and crews, etc.) Of course,worrying is massive waste of time and energy. My injury has renewed my empathy and respect for everyone who uses mobility devices and for those who need to use them the rest of their lives. I am looking forward to being in even better shape than I was before the fall. Sorry this is so long! (Way too many insignificant details) Thank you and all the best for all of you!

Melissa Treppa - August 22, 2016

Thank you for your post. I found that after reading your post I automatically felt better, mentally and physically! You’re right when you have a positive mindset you physically can feel better too! You have given me a new outlook on this injury and I couldn’t be more grateful for that. Thank you!
Also thank you to the rest of you with all of your helpful tips and tricks of living with an aircast.
I got turf toe last weekend (torn ligaments of the sesamoid bones) after seeing the ortho doc almost week later I was put in the air cast and told to be no weight barring for two weeks. They told me I could take the boot off whenever except for moving, but when I wore it for a bit and went to take it off I was in SEVERE PAIN! So bad that on Saturday I went back to ER, they gave me codeine (which I hated because I’m more of a natural remedy girl myself, but it worked!) they also told me to now keep the cast on at ALL times for 2 weeks. This feels SO much better, I was terrified of putting back on after that pain of taking it off but with it on it feels pretty good actually (just horribly annoying.) Trying to move back up to college next week might be a bit of a struggle to say the least with not being able to drive or anything. On the plus side, I got prescribed a one leg scooter, which is a God sent! Crutches hurt any way you slice it so ask the doctor to see if you can get this scooter covered!
One question: any tips on how to get up stairs with no weight barring (it’s my right foot in the aircast)? (I also have crutches just hate using them)

Thanks again everyone you are really helping to get me through this, and making me feel not so alone!

pjbeaton - August 24, 2016

Thanks for your reply, and I’m happy if there’s anything about my experience that can help. There has to be good that comes out of this, even something good about these annoying yet protective boots. I wish you the best as you go back to school. You might become a celebrity in your scooter.

Stairs do seem to be a tricky business. If you can’t avoid them, I read to go up with good foot first, and to go down with crutches and bum foot first. You might want to do more research on that. I’m trying to avoid stairs, and I also don’t like the crutches. Also, look for accessible routes, ones that people who have physical disabilities use. I really want to do more advocating for universal access, because any of us could need it.

Thanks for sharing your experience! It also helped me. All the best at school and in your hopefully speedy recovery!

86. Nihan Baker - August 30, 2016

Having fractured my 5th metatarsal bone, I spent one week in a cast. Cramps, pins and needles made me swap to aircast. First night I woke up in the middle of the night with a burning foot. First took the top (cap) off. Released the velcro a bit. Put some ice on it. Went on the Internet and found this page. Later on after hours of tossing around I rolled the bottom neoprene to either side so that my toes were exposed and fastened the velcro over it. So still stable with some ventilation. Putting a fan towards that foot was my next idea but managed to get to sleep without it. Also wrote to the manufacturer a complaint. Let them think of a better way to design it. Don’t these people test these damn things?

87. Jill - March 2, 2017

Hi fellow Aircast sufferers. I fractured my lateral malleolus in a skiing accident 6 weeks ago. Although the pain was terrible, I managed to “ski” down slowly and get off the mountain. Getting my ski boot off was ‘interesting’ but I thought I’d just badly wrenched it, so I strapped it up myself and hobbled round in snow boots for the next 5 days, totally in denial, as I am a 59 yr old nurse and should know better!
Back home, no improvement, I decided I really should get it checked and X Ray showed fracture- miraculously not displaced. So was in back slab for 10 days and fibreglass cast and crutches for 4 weeks non weight bearing, hired a knee scooter which really helped indoors and worth the expense, longing for the cast to be off.
Well, be careful what you wish for!! Aircast fitted 3 days ago for 4 weeks partial weight bearing and can totally empathise with all the other posts, I wish I could go back to my cast. It’s so ugly! feels heavy and cumbersome compared to my neat cast, it’s a pain to get on and off, it rubs in all the wrong places and sleep is out of the question. I’ve had to take pain killers for the first time in weeks. I was told I could sleep without it if I don’t move too much! I feel too vulnerable without it, so deflate it, take off the front plate and use lots of pillows to support it and protect my other leg. Hardly any instruction given on what I should and shouldn’t be doing, so I’m trying to be guided by my ankle, if it’s hurting, rest and keep it on, if it feels ok , take it off for a few hours with my leg up. It takes a while to get the hang of partial weight bearing, especially up and down stairs, but there are some good mini videos on YouTube that demonstrate it well.
I’m not a good patient, I miss driving, looking after my grandson, and just being able to do what I want when I want but, It has been a real eye opener and I have even more respect for people managing lifelong disabilities on a daily basis, reminds me to count my blessings and stop feeling sorry for myself.
BTW re driving, especially right foot injuries need to check with their insurance company, as its likely to invalidate your insurance.
Thanks everyone for all your tips and advice, it has really helped, hoping you’ve all recovered well.

88. Terry - March 6, 2017

I know there are people out there dealing with loss of a LEG and here I am whining about my broken tibia and fibula BUT maybe it can help if I tell my suggestions Would be nice if DR’s gave a INFO sheet to tell you what to do etc.
Would like the ortho people to sleep with a ski boot on THEIR leg so they know what we are going through. The HEAVY sole portion is for WALKING and protection…NOT for sleeping.
First of all, it is impossible to sleep with a “SKI BOOT” aka Aircast on
It’s like having a cement block on your foot. The sheer weight turns your foot outward, is HEAVY to lift your leg off from it being elevated.
Rather than medicate myself, and take Ibuprofen that causes STOMACH BLEEDING,
I removed the LINER from the boot, kept my bandaged foot it and then wrapped another bandage around the liner. Placed it on a down pillow and had the pillow secured with some bands to keep pillow on the liner. It worked for ME
Of course there is risk involved but having a cement block weigh down your foot as your leg tries to turn also risks an injury!
Wrote AIRCAST with a design suggestion
I crawl on my hands and knees on CARPET rather than use crutches! Navigate the walls by using a ‘windshield wiper’ motion with my good leg. Used a chair to rest bad leg on (like a scooter) and pushed it around
Go UP /DOWN stairs on my butt
Had a heavy duty step stool for balancing myself on toilet but decided to pee in jars! There is a P-EZ for women Have fun!
SHOWERING is dangerous! Water, wet hands, water on floor, soap etc BE CAREFUL!
I think all of us need to get our brains going and REDESIGN an ankle cast! any design engineers out there?Good luck every one!

89. Rachel - January 19, 2018

I broke my ankle 6 weeks ago today, had surgery and they put in a plate and 12 screws. Today I got the air cam boot and I am sooooo happy because I can finally walk! My doctor told me to take it off to shower, sleep and if I was going to be sitting for an extended period of time. Everyone is different in the healing process. I’m full weight bearing as tolerated so I have been walking with a cane today no problems. I took the boot off and it felt great! I am having trouble sleeping but not because my ankle hurts but because I can’t seem to find a comfortable position as I have been sleeping with my leg propped up for 6 weeks! Talk to your doctor about taking the cast off at night. This might work for you. Good luck !

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