Dr. Richie explains how the Richie AeroSpring Offloading System can improve patient compliance.
Comparing Walking Boots to the AeroSpring Offloading System
Both the walking boot and the AeroSpring Spring Offloading System are prescribed for severe recalcitrant heel pain that is not responsive to conventional treatments. Walking boots often relieve the pain of severe plantar fasciitis and may resolve the condition with weeks and even months of daily use.
Different Diagnoses Leads to Differing Levels of Compliance
The problem is that walking boots are very poorly tolerated by patients, even when they are required for healing fractures and surgeries. In those situations, patients know that if they do not wear the boot, they will not heal. When walking boots are prescribed for heel pain, patients are less likely to be compliant as they see very little downside if they choose to not wear the device.
Walking boots are heavy, bulky and difficult to walk with. They create a limb length discrepancy and cause pain in proximal joints such as the knee, hip and low back. When prescribed for the right lower extremity, the walking boot must be removed to drive an automobile.
Improving Patient Compliance
The AeroSpring Plantar Fascia Offloading System addresses the main deterrents of walking boots to improve patient compliance.
- This brace system is extremely lightweight.
- There is no pressure on the tibial tuberosity or patellar tendon. A relief notch at proximal contact zone avoids pressure on the tibial tuberosity and patellar tendon.
- Minimal skin contact. The only skin contact occurs at the proximal portion of the tibia.
- The thin footplate does not create any significant limb length discrepancy. Gait studies with the carbon fiber footplate of the AeroSpring show minimal disturbance compared to walking boots.
- By releasing the two proximal straps, the patient can drive an automobile without removing the brace.
- Compliance with the AeroSpring may be better simply because the foot is supported better and pain relief will be faster compared to wearing walking boots. This has certainly been my own experience when testing the AeroSpring System in clinical practice.