Full weight bearing means having the ability to walk on crutches or with a walker while lengthening your legs. It does not mean walking without crutches or a walker while lengthening. Full weight bearing on crutches is the closest thing to the normal body function of walking. Walking with weight on your legs using aids helps reduce muscle atrophy, helps to maintain flexibility, and helps maintain proper circulation. Lengthening your legs is traumatic enough, and being able to maintain some semblance of normal function helps the body maintain itself better through lengthening, and to recover faster after lengthening. While full weight bearing does help recovery, many of the positive benefits of weight bearing can be mimicked by doing diligent physical therapy every day. It is difficult, however, to stave off muscle atrophy if no weight is being placed on your legs.

Patients who choose to do their leg lengthening with a weight bearing rod or with weight bearing external fixators are advised NOT to walk without crutches until enough they have enough callus formation to form a bony bridge. They should confirm this with their doctor and not walk without crutches until given permission to do so.