Air casts or boots are big and cumbersome. It’s already miserable enough to walk around with them on all day, and if that wasn’t enough, they can quickly become quite uncomfortable at night while you are trying to sleep.
But is that enough reason to remove them when you sleep? In short, the answer is no. You should never, under any circumstance, remove your air cast or boot for sleep.
I know, you wish the answer was yes. After all, you are sleeping right? What could be the problem?
Actually, there are a couple of reasons. We are going to see them in this article. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about sleeping with air cast on, and what risks entail removing them.
The Risk of Removing the Air Cast/Boot
You might not realize it fully, but you absolutely don’t stand still when you sleep. Most people move around a lot. Have you noticed sometimes that you wake up in weird positions? That’s because you move around a lot.
Moving around a lot means risking to worsen the injury that caused you to wear the air cast.
Even if you are one of those people who don’t move at all when they sleep, there are external factors that come into play during your sleep. If you have dogs, children, or even a sleeping partner, they might be the ones moving, and let me tell you, you don’t want to inadvertently hit your recovering foot with the boot off.
I understand that sleeping poorly is awful. Poor sleep makes you moody and tired, but you aren’t going to wear your air cast on forever. It’s a small sacrifice to make for the greater good.
If you’re still not convinced, I’ll make it clearer to you in the upcoming section, so keep reading.
How Does Sleeping with an Air Cast/Boot on Help?
There are multiple reasons to keep your air cast on while you sleep.
First off, it’s safer. Most people tend to move a lot while they sleep, especially if they’re having an intense dream. These movements risk making your injury worse, which would mean you’ll have to wear your air cast on for longer.
Even something as simple as rolling in your bed while you’re asleep is risky for foot injuries. That’s why you should keep your boot on at all times.
Another reason is that your muscles relax while you sleep, but their relax position is different than the position they’d have if you kept the boot on. This can be a problem, because if your muscles are relaxed and put your boot on, you risk causing harm in your foot.
6 Ways to Make Sleeping with an Air Cast/Boot on More Bearable
I’m aware. It’s hard to sleep with something as cumbersome as an air cast. These things are massive. And it can also get quite hot in them.
However, there are some tips and tricks you can implement right now to sleep better and make yourself more comfortable.
1. Loosen the Straps
You don’t have to keep the straps tightened when you sleep, since you aren’t going to walk anywhere. Most people will find this enough to give their foot some breathing room, and enjoy a more comfortable night.
However, if you wake up in the middle of the name to go to the bathroom, please remember to tighten the straps.
2. Assume a Good Sleeping Position
In this case, the good sleeping position is sleeping on your back. Place a pillow under your cast so that your foot is on an elevated position compared to your body.
If you are a side sleeper, you theoretically can sleep on your side with an air cast on, but it’s very hard, and usually not recommended. If you absolutely must sleep on your side, place a pillow between your legs.
Sleeping on your tummy with that thing on is impossible, but if you really can’t sleep any other way, you can try.
3. Take the Boot off an Hour Before Bedtime, and Then Put It Back On
The problem of keeping the boot off during sleep is that you don’t have control of your body, meaning that you could make a sudden movement and ruin your recovery.
However, if you know you won’t be moving at all for a bit before bedtime, it’s best to keep the boot off, to give your skin some breathing room. I suggest keeping the boot off for about an hour before bedtime. Read a book or watch TV or talk with someone while you sit, and you’ll feel refreshed.
This is also a great time to ice the injury if necessary.
Generally, it’s always a great idea to keep the boot off as much as possible. I’m just specifying to do it before bedtime because it’s where it has the most impact on your sleep comfort. Keep your boot off every time you are resting and aren’t planning to go anywhere. It’s better for your foot. Fresh air and sunlight will do miracles for your recovery.
4. Try a Different Air Cast/Boot
Sometimes you are simply wearing a boot or air cast that doesn’t fit as well for whatever reason. Perhaps your foot is swelling a bit, or maybe your boot is just a poor fit.
Whatever the case, it is worth considering trying a different boot. It could very well be the solution to your issues. However, before buying a boot, please make sure it works for you. Consult a doctor to make sure you are purchasing something that will actually be beneficial to you.
Our suggestion: Aircast AirSelect Walker Brace/Walking Boot
5. Take Pain Medication Before Bed
This isn’t directly related to sleeping with the air cast on, but it’s still great advice. Take pain medication before going to bed, this way you won’t wake up in the middle of the night because of the pain, because then you’d be making it harder on yourself.
Imagine this: you wake up in the middle of the night with pain in your foot. You have to reach for your medication, take it, and wait for it to take effect. That’s a big no for me.
6. Give your Leg more Breathing Room
It can get damn hot inside these boots, especially during the summer. But it’s not that much better during the winter. What you can do to avoid excessive sweating and feelings of claustrophobia is sleeping with your leg outside of the sheets.
This coupled with loosening the straps should let enough air flow in and out of the boot, making your foot a little more comfortable.
You’ve learned why you should never ever sleep without your air cast. It’s just too risky.
You will read on the internet stories of people who slept with their boot off and encountered no issue whatsoever. Yes, some people can sleep without any issue (specifically: those who don’t move during their sleep and face no risks of external things running into their foot), but they are a minority.
It’s a big risk, and it’s not one I’d ever consider taking. Think about it: you are risking doubling or tripling the time you have to keep that monstrosity on, and for what? A couple nights of better sleep? Is it worth it?
I can’t answer these questions. What I can tell you is that I would never recommend anyone to sleep with an air cast/boot on for all the reasons outlined in this article.