I too had OATS 8 months ago (and the drilling 10 months before that) ... I agree with Abby that it is too soon to try to walk without the boot, I wasn't allowed to begin PWB with the boot until 8 weeks and gradually began to FWB with the boot for quite awhile more.
Sounds like you are doing great though, but I wouldn't rush it and jeopardize the success of the surgery. The boot irritated my incision too, kinda felt like there was something in the boot that was sticking into my leg, but that went away after week 10 or so for me. If it does bother you, I would loosen the boot but only if you are sitting/lying down.
I too had the sharp pains in my knee, on the inside not on the side of where the plugs were taken and mine went away after a few weeks of PT. It still makes some insanely loud cracks, but my OS said that is normal and just scar tissue filling back in.
Just a last word of advice to leave you with regarding your 'pushing through the pain' - my OS said 'if it hurts, stop doing it' .. and I have to agree as I tried to push through some of the pain at times and it's causing me a few problems now. Better safe than sorry!