Exactly how much do these things help you? I'm still having trouble walking, they aren't the cure all I was hoping for, now isn't that a bummer. My little green "UFO's" that were supposed to fly me around at a fast pace with a new walk.. well, they didn't pan out.
What I mean is that I still have a strange walk that is a combination of the shuffle-dance and the tin-man walk from the Wizard of Oz...my not so cute penguin walk is gone and has been replaced with a clicking mechanical walk. And yes, you are permitted to laugh if you can at all picture it, I laughed so hard I almost cried. :) I have the hinging type of AFO's that is hinged and SUPPOSED to create a lift that will pick my foot up when my weight is off of the brace when I lift the foot to walk and then be at a 90 degree and no more when I am standing on it. Actually, it doesn't work that well.... I still drag my toes when my foot swings forward, I have to mentally think "ok, bend knees, lift, swing forward, set down" and if I for once minute forget... well, you can forget the tin-man walk and start thinking... humpty-dumpty and how many pieces can she break into. :)
Also, have you guys with AFO's noticed this too?? my balance is even WORSe with them on, if that's possible. I've had to laugh so much, I'm so used to tipping over backwards just a little when I stand or walk, and in the AFO's when you tip you just fly over backwards becuase of the stiffness so I was clunking here and there today, I finally grabbed two canes to wobble around with. If nothing else, I got a good laugh and tomorrow I shall go at it again. :)
I believe, as most stories say at the end, the moral of this story is... that it will just take time to get used to, right?
If you have any tips or wonderful advice, let me know!!
And, everyone have a wonderful evening... you are in my thoughts!!
Thanks for the visuals - yes, you made me smile with you. My thinking is it will take a while to adjust to wearing these, but I don't have first hand experience. My only tip is keep smiling, but you obviously already know that trick! Lulu
Thanks for the smile. I really needed it after today's ordeal. Actually it reminded me of when I first got my cane. It seemed like forever before I stopped tripping myself with the darn thing. Like Lulu I suspect it is just a matter of getting use to it.
Great visuals, but I understand what you are saying.
I can think of two things. My PT watched my gait for a long time to see what the problem was after I got my AFO. She made a change in the cadence of my stride and it made a world of difference. No one should be given bracing and then be unleashed upon the world. You should work with a good neuro gait specialist.
Now I only have the AFO on my R leg. My PT told me to bend my right knee earlier than seemed "normal" in my stride forward. She referred to it as "popping" my knee earlier. I had to practice this a long time before I became natural, but it worked. I also had to slow my stride a lot.
Second, if you have significant weakness of the "hip flexors" then just being able to bring your toes up won't be enough to keep you from dragging your foot. The hip flexors are the ones that allow you to raise your knee up when you are standing. They allow the "marching" step. As my hip flexors have weakened, my AFO helps me less and I still drag my toes.
I guess, my advice is to find a good physical therapist. Also you may need specific strengthening of the hip flexors. They gave me exercises to do.
Quix, my hip flexors are weaker, according to my neuro and PT, and I've been doing excercises for two months. However, another PT has been concerned (she's not on my case) as it seems that possibly the amount of excercises -1 hour focused on the hip flexors- are not tailored right becuase of my lack of a diagnosis, as it doesn't appear that those excerices have stregnthened anything when my muscle stregnth is tested recently, and when I do my excises, I am hardly able to walk/talk/think for the rest of the day. My speech gets slurry, my walk is terrible and so is my balance and my legs shake, and I'm quite the sight. Very similar effect happens if I try to walk a long ways, such as shop for 2 hours in Walmart. This is rather disheartening, is there any ways to build up these muscles once they are lost? Or is this an effect of whatever strange thing I've got rather than the lack of muscle?
As far as a PT working with me to help me... my mom actually helped me, and we figured out that I must bend my knee tighter, faster, when I am lifting it, and then think "high step" and then swing forward. This is work, and creates a rather slow, mechanical walk but is working. (much like you have said in your post) I tried the same step pattern without the AFO's and could tell that they do help lift the front of my foot so it doesn't drag as badly on the swing forward. However, it still takes extra effort in the AFO's to get a clean step, it's not that miracle cure. If I want to walk fast to get somewhere without much thought, I still drag quite badly... hence the tin man/ shuffle dance walk. :)
I'm going to one more session of PT on tomorrow and maybe they can help a bit more to.
Thanks for the input!
JULIE, AFO IS AN ANKLE FOOT ORTHODIC LIKE BRACE THAT USUALLY GOES UP THE CALF,THE AIDE IN WALKING WHEN A PERSON HAS DROP TOE OR FOOT.
WHEN I FIRST GOT MY AFO IT WAS HINGED AND I HAD COMPLETE HAVOC,MY BRAIN SEEMED AS IF IT WAS NOT CORASPONDING TO MY LEG NOR FOOT.IT WAS HINGED,AFTER GREAT DIFFICULTY,MANY PHYSICAL THERAPY VISITS AND TRIPS TO MY REHABILITATION DR.,WE SWITCHED TO A STATIONARY AFO AND A KAFO.THIS HELPED A GREAT DEAL.
MY ANKLES DON'T BEND ANYMORE WHEN I WALK,I KNOW LONGER HAVE TO DEAL WITH FLOPPY FEET,TRIPPING WHEN WALKING.
IT CAN TAKE A GREAT DEAL OF TIME TO GET USE TO THEM,PT HELPS A GREAT DEAL.
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