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Footwear Guide

Do I Sleep With My Walking Boot On or Off? Let’s Find Out The Facts



You have suffered a fracture to your leg, and are told you are going to need a walking boot. The primary function of this boot is to stabilize the foot and allow it to heal. You need to wear them until you’ve fully recovered. But what do I do with the boot when I need to sleep? 

Steps to Know More About Sleep With My Walking Boot On?

This is one of the most common questions among patients who have just started to put on one. Keep reading to learn more. 

Walking Boots

These are prescribed boots recommended by a physician to help redistribute weight evenly to an injured foot or an ankle. Usually, when one gets hurt, the bones or the tendons separate. Without the boot, you will experience slow recovery. 

Most people stay with them for as long as the leg feels painful until recovery. People with injured legs barely take them off during the day since they do a lot of movement. At night, the body needs to rest, your doctor may decide to let you sleep with it or not. You may decide to stay with it 24/7 but other times if you want to shower you will be forced to take it out or even have it covered.

Types of Walking Boots

Walking boots are available in two types. The difference they have is in the length. There are tall and short walking boots that help heal with post-operative surgery. The tall one extends up to the knee area while the short boots reach halfway; between the foot and the knee.

Walking boots can be worn for various medical reasons. These include broken bones, sprains, and injuries, on the tendons, among others. The shoe protects the foot and the ankle from too much pressure after going through an injury or even surgery. Your foot can take a shorter time or longer period to heal. The boots are there to help you go through the healing process without experiencing any discomfort.

Removing the Boots

Most people wear them during the day. However, during the night many people are unsure whether to have them on or remove them. Foot injuries take time to heal and if the boots make you feel better, it is worth sleeping with them during the night.

Foot injuries can be mild or severe. Depending on how hurting it may be, your doctor may recommend you either take them off at night or sleep in them. When sleeping, you can accidentally hit the foot on the edge of the bed or in the wall. All these can cause you serious pain and cause you to hurt more. The boots are there to protect you from possible injuries during the night. At night people experience more pain when the body is at rest.

Sleeping with shoes on the bed can get messy if they are dirty. You need to maintain your hygiene and have clean bedsheets as well. Walking makes our shoes get dirty and that’s why sometimes it is better if you remove them before sleeping. Taking it off also makes the feet breathe.

Editors Note: The Best Shoes for Physical Therapists

Sleeping With Walking Boots

Keeping your walking boots on can help maintain the alignment. Any slight leg movement changes the healing position of the injured area. The bones need to maintain the same position to heal quickly.

If you remove them while sleeping, you will need to put them on anytime you get to go to the washroom or anywhere. That gets tiresome especially if you have to get up frequently. Due to the added weight on one leg, it can be difficult sleeping but here’s how to ensure comfortability. 

1. Adjust the Straps

It is not advisable to sleep with tight things. Tight shoes bring discomfort and slow down blood circulation in your foot. If the straps are too tight, loosen them before going to bed. This will give you a comfy and peaceful night. They are very lightweight and you wouldn’t feel any weight while sleeping.

Loosen the straps a little bit, about an inch. If you let the boot become too loose, it will hinder the healing process. You do not want to create any room for movements inside the boot. Any movement on the affected area forces the bones to loosen their positions. 

2. Add Pillows

Pillows give support to our heads while sleeping. You can also use them to support your injured foot. Place them around the leg with the boot for additional support. This helps to protect the leg from possible injury especially when you have loosened the straps. It also helps to prevent you from turning and tossing.

Placing pillows around will also keep your foot from getting displaced and from any impact. It also protects your bedsheets from getting dirty after a long walk with the shoes. The pillow also separates the injured foot from the other one. Take a large pillow and put it in between the boot and the other leg. It elevates you.

3. Displace Things or People

Remove people or things from the bed that can accidentally bring injury to the leg. If it’s pets or children you are sharing a bed with to protect yourself. You could also ask your partner to sleep in a separate bed until you heal or find a good sleeping position. Unless you feel comfortable sharing a bed, you could sleep alone for a while to avoid disturbing the leg.

4. Lie on Your Back

The best position to sleep with the boots on is by lying on your back. Keep yourself elevated and try sleeping in the middle of the bed. You have fewer chances of falling off the bed. If you get tired from sleeping with your back your mind may say the same thing: do I sleep with my walking boot on then try adjusting yourself to the sides until you find a comfortable position that doesn’t interfere with the foot.

When you lie on your sides, you can use the leg that’s not affected to act as a cushion to the affected leg. Another tip would be to place the bad foot outside the blankets. This way, you do not risk getting stuck in the middle of the sheets or blankets. When the legs get tangled in the blankets, you will need to struggle to get them out. 

The leg that isn’t hurt takes in a lot of loads to ensure it stays balanced with the other one. It’s best if you do not strain the leg that’s non-hurt. Remember you do not want to put force on the foot; a strong impact isn’t good for the recovery process.

5. Add a Cover to the Walking Boot

To avoid getting the sheets dirty, it is better if you get a boot cover to avoid having dirt on the bed. Cover the walking boot with a silk satin material or purchase covers locally or online. Cover it when you also need to get a shower. If you are DIY savvy, why not improvise your boot cover? You can also use old towels to protect your beddings from getting dirty in case the walking boots aren’t so clean.


There is no harm in sleeping with walking boots. You shouldn’t sleep with them without loosening the straps a little. However much they are made for walking, you can have them on while still resting on the bed. It is best if you follow your physician’s guidance on whether you should sleep with a walking boot or remove them. The answer on whether or not do I sleep with my walking boot on following instructions and advice given by the podiatrist.


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