Fact check: Biden is not wearing an ankle monitor, but an orthopedic boot after suffering hairline fracture

In the first week of December 2020, social media posts showing President-Elect Joe Biden stepping out of a car with an orthopedic boot on his right foot falsely claimed that he was wearing an ankle monitor. Having suffered hairline fractures in his foot while playing with one of his dogs, Biden will likely require a walking boot for several weeks. Users alleging that Biden is hiding an ankle monitor with his boot provide no evidence and are likely tied to conspiracy theorists QAnon.

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden, wearing an orthotic boot to protect his injured foot, arrives to announce nominees and appointees to serve on his economic policy team at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., December 1, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

With nearly 3,000 shares at the time of this article’s publication, one post shared footage of Biden exiting a car and walking with his new boot with the caption “Well, there it is. #AnkleMonitor” (here). Similar claims can be found at here and  here .  

As reported here by Reuters, Biden suffered hairline fractures in his foot while playing with one of his dogs and will probably have to wear a protective boot for several weeks, his personal physician said on Nov. 29. 

The incident happened on Nov. 28 and the 78-year-old Democrat visited an orthopedist the next day for x-rays and a CT scan, Biden’s office said in a statement. Doctors initially thought the former vice president had merely sprained his ankle but ordered an additional scan of the injury. A “follow-up CT scan confirmed hairline (small) fractures,” Biden’s personal physician Kevin O’Connor said in a separate statement distributed by Biden’s office. “He will likely require a walking boot for several weeks.”

Taken on Dec. 1 in Wilmington, Del., Reuters images of Biden stepping out with his boot can be found here , here and here . Provided by The Recount, footage of the scene is available here .  

As reported here by Newsweek, the claims seem to have originated on Twitter among followers of QAnon, the unfounded and sprawling conspiracy theory espousing that U.S. President Donald Trump is secretly fighting a cabal of child-sex predators that includes prominent Democrats, Hollywood elites and “deep state” allies (here).  

For QAnon adherents, a Biden arrest is an essential part of “the storm” – “the great revelation where Trump would arrest his enemies for their crimes,” according to Foreign Policy (here).  

Social media posts linking the boot and alleged ankle monitor to “the storm” can be found at here , here and here .  

The Reuters Fact Check team previously debunked similar claims stemming from QAnon that Ellen DeGeneres, Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton were also concealing ankle monitors ( here ,  here ).  

Social media users claiming that Biden was arrested, that he is concealing an ankle monitor and that his injury is not real do not provide any evidence for their allegations.

Some have argued that someone with foot fractures would not be able to put weight on his foot ( here , here ) without noting the express purpose of a wearing such a boot.  

As explained here by the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, a walking boot “is made for weight bearing (putting weight on your foot) and walking.” It lists common reasons for using the boot as “fractures, foot/leg injuries and Achilles tendon repair/injury.” 


False. After suffering hairline fractures on his right foot, President-Elect Joe Biden is currently wearing a walking boot, not an ankle monitor. Claims that he is using the boot to conceal a monitor are unfounded.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .