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Recovery

The amount of weight you can place on your foot is called weight bearing. You may also hear it called weight bearing status. How much weight you can put on your foot depends on the treatment. The weight bearing status states how much weight you can put on your foot. There are three types of weight bearing status.

Non-weight bearing status (NWB)

This means that you cannot put any weight or pressure on your foot. You must keep your foot in the proper position to heal right. Any pressure of weight may cause damage to your foot or delay healing. You will need an assistive device since you cannot walk on your foot. These include:

  • Wheelchair
  • Walker
  • Crutches
  • Knee walker

You will need to use one of these at all times while you are NWB. You may be been by a physical therapist to decide which is best for you. You can get them from physical therapy, a medical supply stores, or from a community service organization. You will either have to rent or buy these products. You will need to check with you insurance company to see if they will cover any of these items. If not, you will need to pay for them yourself.

Partial weight bearing status (PWB)

This means that you may put some weight or pressure on your foot. You may need to wear a special boot or shoe to help protect your foot. Your doctor will decide if you need this. The doctor will tell you how much weight you can put on your foot. It may be based on:

  • Pain
    • If it hurts to put too much weight on the foot, put less weight on the foot.
  • Number of steps you walk.
    • Such as, you can only walk 100 steps per day.
  • Pounds of pressure
    • You will use a scale to measure pounds of pressure.
    • If your doctor orders 50 pounds PWB - Place your foot on a scale until it reads 50 pounds. That is the amount of pressure you are allowed to apply.

The doctor will often let you increase your activity based on your pain and swelling. If you have pain and swelling:

  • Decrease your activity.
  • Elevate your foot above your heart.
  • Put an ice pack on your foot and ankle.

You can resume your activity once these symptoms have resolved. You may have to continue using the assistive devices during this time. This is to help with your balance and keep you safe.

Full weight bearing status (FWB)

This means you can put as much weight as you want on your foot. There are no limits. You may have to wear the special boot or shoe to protect your foot. Do not wear your normal shoe wear until your doctor says you can.

Safety

Safety is a huge issue when you have a foot injury or surgery. You are at an increased risk to fall if you use assistive devices. You must be extra careful or you will fall. Practice with you equipment before you have surgery. Remove rugs or cords that may make you trip with the walker or crutches. Be extra careful when you use these devices.

Contact information

8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays:

    For questions and concerns
    If you are seen in La Crosse, Onalaska, Tomah, Winona or Sparta, call:
    (608) 775-2073 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 52073

    In Decorah, call:
    (563) 382-3140 or (800) 865-3140

    In Viroqua, call:
    (608) 637-4776 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 74776

    To make an appointment
    To be seen in La Crosse, Onalaska, Tomah, Winona or Sparta, call:
    (608) 775-2427 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 52427

    In Decorah, call:
    (563) 382-3140 or (800) 865-3140

    In Viroqua, call:
    (608) 637-4704 or (800) 362-9567, ext. 74704

After hours, weekends and holidays:

    Call Telephone Nurse Advisor
    (608) 775-4454 or (800) 858-1050. Ask the nurse to page the podiatry resident or podiatrist on call.

8 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays:

After hours, weekends and holidays:

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