Keep weight off your foot is important to the healing process. After a foot injury or surgery, your doctor may tell you to be non-weight bearing. This means that you are restricted from placing any weight on your foot whether you are standing or sitting down. Weight should not be placed on the foot for any period of time, not even for a minute. It is important to follow this advice or you may delay your recovery, interfere with the healing process, and cause more trauma to your foot. This restriction may last from weeks to months depending on your injury.

Non-Weight Bearing Restriction

Since certain injuries require time to heal, your doctor may have restricted you from placing any weight on your foot. Some surgical wounds also take time to heal and putting your weight on them can interrupt the incisions from healing. Your doctor will advise you on your personal restrictions and limitations.

Some reasons to be non-weight bearing after a foot injury or surgery include:

  • Reduce swelling. Tissues can heal faster without the stress of weight being applied. 
  • Control pain. Elevating the foot can help control pain and aid in healing.
  • Promote healing. Bone and tissue need time to heal after an injury or surgery.
  • Protect hardware placement. If you had surgery and hardware such as a plate, pins, or screws have been used, they need time to heal into proper position. 

Maintaining Your Mobility

If your doctor has ordered you to stay off your foot for an extended period of time and you still need to get around, there are several options to consider that can help you maintain your mobility without placing any weight on your foot. These include:

  • Crutches. Crutches are readily available and are commonly used to help take the weight off your foot. Wood or aluminum crutches can be used under the arms to help you move around. Crutches help keep the foot off the ground and aid in balance. Proper size and adjustment of crutches is important before using. 
  • Walker. A walker can be used to help with stability and to take the weight off your foot. A walker is harder to transport than crutches but may be easier for those who are elderly to use. Walkers can be equipped with wheels to make them easier to use.
  • Knee scooter. A scooter with a knee pad and four wheels can help you roll yourself around using handlebars equipped with a brake. Using one helps you move around without applying weight to your foot. This method is easy to use and transport but is not ideal if you need to use the stairs or a surface that is not level. Knee scooters can be purchased or rented and are often covered by your insurance.
  • Motorized scooter. A motorized scooter keeps you in a seated position without placing any weight on your feet or legs. The scooter can be steered by the driver. A motorized scooter can be heavy and difficult to transport. It requires help from another person. A scooter can either be rented or purchased.
  • Wheelchair. A wheelchair can be used to keep you in a seated position. This method requires the assistance of another person and can be cumbersome to transport. 

Putting Weight on Your Foot

If you have accidentally put weight on your foot and are experiencing problems, consult with your doctor immediately. The following can happen if you are weight bearing too early: 

  • Swelling 
  • Increased pain in the injured foot
  • Redness
  • Pain when moving
  • Reinjury to foot

Contact Us With Questions

If you have questions about recovery after a foot injury or are experiencing foot or ankle pain, Greater Washington Advanced Podiatry can help. We offer a free initial consultation and can create a customized plan to address your concerns. To set up an appointment, fill out our convenient contact form or call us at (301) 515-FEET.