Personal Injury Care: Caring for a CAM Boot
A CAM boot is a removable orthopedic device commonly used to treat sprains and fractures. Persons who are injured in a car wreck, fall, or suffer other personal injuries are often provided CAM boots if they have a broken foot, ankle, or lower leg.
The CAM boot is made up of a sturdy plastic exoskeleton that provides stability and protection of the injured area. Inside this exoskeleton is foam that provides padding, additional support and comfort to the injured area. The boot is secured to the injured leg with Velcro straps that can be adjusted to tighten or loosen. The boot can be advantageous over a cast in that it can be removed if the injured person is allowed to bathe.
When a person is injured in an accident and suffers a fracture in the foot or lower leg, they can be confined to a CAM boot for weeks or months. During this time, the CAM boot can become rather unpleasant to wear due to sweat, dirt, and odor. If the injured person does not have severe swelling (likely only if weeks have gone by since the accident), or does not have bandages from surgery, a long sock can be worn inside the CAM boot and removed daily and washed. At some point, however, the only way to eliminate discomfort and odor is to clean the CAM boot itself. The CAM boot can be cleaned by using the following method:
- Remove the CAM boot from the injured leg carefully.
- Remove the foam lining from the CAM boot’s exoskeleton.
- If the physician does not permit the injured person to spend time without the CAM boot, the injured person can wrap the injured leg temporarily with a beach towel and then replace the exoskeleton onto the injured leg. This will provide a temporary replacement for the foam.
- Fill a bathtub with lukewarm water and add a small amount of detergent. Add approximately ¼ cup of baking soda to the tub (to help control odor). Submerge the foam into the water and gently rock back and forth for about 5-10 minutes until clean. Drain the water and rinse the foam with clean water.
- If possible, run the foam through the “spin” cycle only in a washing machine to wick away excess water. If not possible, allow the foam to drip dry on a rack.
- Place the foam on a rack or drying line preferably in a warm and sunny location to allow drying completely. Foam dries in about 6 hours if water has been wicked away, but can take longer if drip dried. Do not dry the foam in clothes dryer, as the foam may melt.
- Replace the foam into the exoskeleton of the CAM boot and replace onto the injured leg.