Thursday, March 13, 2014

AFO, Leg Braces and Inserts

Years ago, when we took in our first child with special needs,  we learned from a specialist that she had Cerebral Palsy.  Even though she could not walk and did little weight baring she would need to have her legs and feet put into braces to ensure they did not deform as she grew.  To keep her feet and legs in proper alignment.  To keep her ligaments stretched and to keep them from tightening more. 

An order was written for them from her pediatrician and a report as to technically why she needed them by her physical therapist, for insurance purposes.  We were then sent to a specialist to have her feet and legs cast to make her a perfect fitting pair of AFO's. (Ankle-Foot Orthotic). 

Thru the years we have had many children that have needed them.  Zeke has floppy tone Cerebral Palsy and he needed the full leg and ankle hinged AFO's for many years till he  built  up the strength in his legs to have them cut lower and lower.  Eventually, he just needed the SMO's (Supra-Malleolar Orthosis)  Then down even more to just what was refereed to as a paddy bob.  Basically an insert to throw his feet into balance because they caved in as he walked.  He now no longer needs any at all!

Over the years we have had many foster children require them.  Zeke needed them, Elizabeth still needs the sole inserts, Carolyn will need some kind of full support for her whole life  and Antonio will need AFO's his whole life.

Part of having any child is advocating for their needs.  Most times, it is a constant part of life when you have a child with any special needs.  Finding a good specialist that works with you is often difficult.  After many years of having a wonderful Ortho guy to handle all my children's leg braces and hand splints he is gone.  (with out going into details he was put in jail for a long time!)   What a way to loose a specialist!  So the hunt was on.  All of the Ortho people in our area were clambering for this mans customer base.  The first people I was referred to and I tried made these for Elizabeth and Carolyn:


I have seen and used A LOT of these type braces and these were the worst ones we have ever had.  Most of the time they ask what print our children might want on them and although that does not add to function it sure makes them much more willing to wear them all their waking hours.  But these, if you look at them closely, had sharp ruff edges all over them, were of a very hard heavy non-giving plastic.  They did not fit well to their foot and were so big and bulky I had to buy a huge shoe for them to fit into for Elizabeth.  I might have been able to do a better job with a pair of scissors, a plastic milk jug and a heat gun!  No seriously, I had to find another company.  But, insurance would not pay for another pair we had to wait.  Our physical therapist was very displeased with them as well and the company made another pair but they were not much better.  So we waited the allotted time and was referred to company number two in our area.  This is what they made.  We decided Carolyn needed to go back into a taller AFO so hers are taller this go around.


The new company used a much softer plastic and rounded and polished the edges so they are not sharp and cutting into tender feet.

We are all much happier with this new company and will be using them from now on.  :)

1 Peter 1:8-9  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.




No comments:

Post a Comment