Patrice 6:54am Jul 2 2010
I haven't seen any recent discussion of the VACOcast on here, so decided I'd start a thread for any new people who will be going into a walking boot (or fiberglass cast). I first learned about VACOcast when I was googling swimming with a walking boot (to see if it would be possible as I'm an avid swimmer) and came across a YouTube of someone swimming in one. These same google searches led me to mybrokenleg.com (thankfully). There was some VACOcast discussion on here earlier this year that I found and some blogs. I read some reviews from people on mybrokenleg.com that are posted on their website under "Praises" and became enamored. Did some more research, called the company (fantastic customer service, btw...so helpful) and decided this would be the walking boot for me when the time came, even though most doctors in this country have never heard of it.
What is awesome about the boot is not only the fact that it has a removable, washable terrycloth liner and is lightweight enough to swim in, but it also has range of motion settings, providing functional rehabilitation when in use. It's based on a vacuum microbead system. Literally wraps your foot and leg in comfort (molds to your foot and leg using a little bulb that sucks the air out through a nozzle on the liner) and is then encased in a lattice plastic frame system with a removable rocker sole. The boot is German engineered. I found a detailed study on their European VACOped website and a shorter version on their American VACOcast website that showed people who were put into a VACOcast went back to work, on average, 24 days earlier than normal boots. So I printed off the studies as well as the page detailing the benefits of the VACOcast PRO. My OS had never heard of it, but was sold on it when he read the materials and was willing to let me try it, wrote a prescription for it, which I e-mailed to the company on a Wednesday and the cast was delivered to me that Friday. VACOcast is billing workers' comp. So I didn't have to front any $$$.
My experience so far is nothing short of amazing, IMO. I had my fiberglass cast removed this past Tuesday and was immediately put into the VACOcast Pro. I did have to hobble out on two crutches, going very slowly and experiencing a lot of shooting pains up through my heel. I was freaking out because I thought, "I'm never going to be able to walk again...ever." That was Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon I was walking with one crutch. Yesterday, Thursday, I still use one crutch for longer distance walking, but just around my bedroom or kitchen I don't use the crutch at all. Went out and got my hair done yesterday. I actually walked up and down my foyer steps...no crutches...just holding the handrail. First time I didn't have to slide on my butt on stairs since my BL.
The first night I slept without the boot and woke up in pain and put the boot on. The second night I slept with the boot on, still woke up in some pain. Last night I decided to sleep in just the liner part that wraps your foot. That was just right! Pain-free night of sleep. It feels real, I dunno, comforting wrapped around my foot and calf.
The increased range of motion in my ankle from Tuesday to this morning is, to me, miraculous. I can move it all around and I attribute this to the range- of-motion settings on the boot. My husband was walking behind me and he said he can see the range of motion "thing" slide up and down on the back of the boot as I'm walking, and I'm almost fully flexing now.
I promise you I AM NOT BEING PAID for this. I just want everyone here to be aware that this product is available...it is awesome...and workers' comp and most insurances pay for it. It is evidently the leading boot in Europe. My OS was so impressed with it when I brought it in Tuesday, he said, "This office doesn't stock durable medical goods, but depending on how you do with this, I may stock this one."
He told me I'd most likely be off work for 4 more weeks. The way I'm progressing I have a feeling I'll be able to go back earlier. I will let you know.
I also have to add that the VACOcast can take the place of the fiberglass cast. I wish I had known about it sooner. I would have skipped the fiberglass and just been in this from the beginning.
I'll keep you posted on my progress. It'll be interesting to see if I get released to drive and back to work sooner than the 4-week timeframe my OS indicated this week. He also told me I'd need to wear the VACOcast for 6 weeks. We shall see. I'm at week 5 1/2 since my BL. Starting day three with my VACOcast. Oh, one more thing...besides a washable liner, the book says the VACOcast frame can be put into the dishwasher. I don't feel the need...but it's just one more advantage with it.
5/25/10 Fractured RT Tibia (posterior mal) and Fibula--soft cast NWB
6/9/10 Fiberglass cast NWB
6/29/10 VACOcast WBAT
7/13/10 Released to return to work on 7/19/10