Mercy's Dr. Clifford Jeng Offers Tips on How to Remain Physically Active in a Surgical Cast or Boot

January 31, 2018

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Clifford L. Jeng, M.D., is Medical Director of The Institute for Foot and Ankle Reconstruction at Mercy Medical Center and an award-winning foot and ankle surgeon. In this response to a U.S. News & World Report query, Dr. Jeng offers tips on how people can remain physically active if they have to wear a cast on an arm/leg or a restrictive boot on their foot.

When it comes to staying active when dealing with a restrict boot, it depends largely on the patient’s weight bearing status as prescribed by the orthopedic surgeon.

It is important to be very clear with your orthopedist about how much weight you are allowed to apply to the booted leg (non-weight bear, partial weight bear, full weight bear, weight bear as tolerated) and for what duration/distance you are allowed to ambulate on the injured or operated limb.

If weight bearing is permitted, then walking with the boot can be good exercise. It is often beneficial to get a lift applied to the outer sole of your opposite side shoe to even out your legs so you do not irritate your hips, knees, or back.

The boot makes a great ankle weight and so leg lifts with the boot are always a good idea and rarely harmful to your healing. This can be done even in patients who are not allowed to bear any weight on their leg.

Some patients that are allowed to bear weight by their physician find they are able to ride a stationary bike or use the treadmill or elliptical fitness machines while wearing the boot. 

Mercy’s Dr. Clifford Jeng has been recognized as a Top Doc by Baltimore magazine multiple times. Board Certified, Dr. Jeng has specialized training in advanced surgical techniques, including minimally invasive surgery and arthroscopy. Dr. Jeng established the prestigious Foot and Ankle Fellowship program at Mercy Medical Center and has trained peers and elite orthopedic surgeons.

About Mercy

Founded in 1874 in Downtown Baltimore by the Sisters of Mercy, Mercy Medical Center is a 183-licensed bed, acute care, university-affiliated teaching hospital. Mercy has been recognized as a high-performing Maryland hospital (U.S. News & World Report); has achieved an overall 5-Star quality, safety, and patient experience rating (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services); is A-rated for Hospital Safety (Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade); and is certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet™ hospital. Mercy Health Services is a not-for-profit health system and the parent company of Mercy Medical Center and Mercy Personal Physicians.

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