Monday, November 19, 2012

Braced for Day and Night: Part I

The shoes Ben is wearing are especially for use with AFOs.
Every six months, Ben is allowed to receive new braces (ankle foot orthotics), shoes and socks through insurance and Medicaid. If for some reason his foot should grow too quickly in that amount of time, we could ask for special permission. We have not had to do that yet; luckily six seems like the magic number.

After being cast, it takes about 2-3 weeks for the braces to be made. We use Level 4, a company that makes its own braces. Our orthotist, Steve, is involved throughout the process, to ensure Ben gets the best fit.

This time, before we went in for casting, Ben visited an orthopedic surgeon. I wanted a new set of eyes on Ben's pronated feet, which seemed even more pronounced lately. The surgeon suggested Botox, something he did not do, but our neurologist certainly would do.

After the trip to the neurologist and a very definite "no" about her office injecting the Botox, we were sent to a physiatrist. At this point, I felt like, "If You Give a Mouse a Cookie...", but I persisted and Ben allowed himself to be poked and prodded.
Ben's new PT shared with me that in some places, they are not aware
of the special shoes and socks that can be used with orthotics.

Although the physiatrist's office offers Botox injections, she first suggested a few other things that are less invasive. The doctor wanted to start a dialogue with Ben's physical therapists and orthotist about Ben's walking issues and how to make them better. A novel idea - talking with other people who work with Ben on a regular basis to determine a treatment plan. I was quickly impressed with her team approach and Ben loved her long hair and doting staff - we were hooked!

The result of the discussion with the PTs and Steve was harder plastic on Ben's AFO's and adding braces to wear on his legs while he was sleeping. One of Ben's issues is that he bends at the knee when he walks. This is a result of weak and tight hamstring muscles. The harder plastic is supposed to give more stability and the night brace will stretch the hamstring muscle.

There are special socks specifically made for use with AFOs. 

From afar, I watched Ben walk at a church family gathering on Friday and felt sure his heels touched the floor most times he took a step, and he was not slouched in the knee either. A+ for the team!

1 comment:

  1. Go Ben! (for walking so well!)
    Go Fam! (for taking him to doctor appointments and sticking with the night splints!)


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