April 26, 2009

AFO update

Posted in multiple sclerosis tagged , at 11:37 am by melissasummers

Now that it has been some time with the brace, I have noticed some great changes.  Not only is my gait normalized since I do not have to have that “hip swing” to allow extra ground clearance on the right side, but my gait is much better without the brace also.  I was not expecting a better gait without the brace.  My theory on that is that by the brace preventing my foot from dropping, it is allowing my other muscles to be used and strengthened. 

Some things are still awkward with the brace.  The first one is getting my shoe on without the brace sliding off my foot!  Then when leaving the house and climbing in the car to head off for work, I had to learn to work the accelerator pedal without having that downward flexion on the right foot.  Descending a staircase also requires a different technique, either I carefully make sure my right foot overhangs the step so my foot can pivot as I step down, or I plant my foot normally on the stair tread and clumsily bend my knee.  The last option is probably safer, but it really offsets my body and shifts my hips quite a bit.

Overall, the brace has been of benefit.  I do wish there are some design changes to overcome some of the awkwardness of the device.

Between the brace and my pup that just turned a year old, I keep moving.  I was told that the brace might help lessen the fatigue, but it’s really hard to say since my fatigue hits hard and fast.  While I do still have foot and ankle pain, it’s nothing like before the brace!  The annual MS walk is coming up in a few short weeks, and I am ready…brace on..and no cane this year!