Oh, I'm happy that you are getting a pair. These made a big difference for me, but do beware, they aren't a miracel cure! :) What I mean is that when you strap them on the first time don't expect "lift-off"... it will take a few weeks to get used to walking in them and develop a walking pattern. ie retraining your brain to walk correctly. Everyone does this differently but i walked behind someone who could walk correctly and learned how to mimic their walking pattern. I had to "think mentally" for a long time "lift leg, bend leg, lift higher, swing under body while lifting, swing foward, set forward... repeat" This took a while and of course was becuase my walking was pretty bad before I go my AFO's. I was also told that AFO's help the best when your weakeness is due to drop foot and NOT hip flexor weakness.
Also, a few tips- first, they will give you a pair of rather ugly long white socks to wear underneath of them. These are nice- and EXPENSIVE. Buy a pair of them, of course, and then go to the closest Target and get as many knee legnth socks as possible. THey have the coolest pairs of colors and patterns. :) (Target has the best selection at the best price, but they may be out of season so shop around).
Also, this summer I live to wear skirts and dresses so I'm going to get a few pairs of fun leggings and wear them under the AFO's and then wear my fun and bright colored socks over the AFO's and pull it off with style and laughter. :)
Also- when buying shoes- it IS possible to get a few different pairs of fun shoes. I often hear that this is a hang-up with a lot of people but I found that this wasn't that hard. Just swalllow a bit of pride and take your AFO's with you into the shoe store and buy shoes that they fit into, that are 1 size bigger than your "old" shoe size and a size wider, and then remove the soles inserts. Be sure to try each pair of shoes on in the store with your AFO's inside them. No one cares, really. I personally found a pair of Dr. Sholl's at WallyWorld that fit great and were really lightweight, and i left the soles in these, but my other shoes I bought I took them out.
Lastly- be sure to develop a GOOD relationship with the folks who fit your AFO's, they will be needed for a while. Becuase you may develop sore spots with your AFO's, or places that rub or are uncomfortable, and all you have to do is go back in and they will adjust or pad those places. Your AFO's should be super comfortable.
My AFO's changed my life for the better, so I hope yours help you just as much.
Let me know if you have any other questions...
Thanks so much Sunny!! Very helpful advice. I was amazed at what a difference the cheap AFO's my PT had. I am anxious to get to my fitting for the custom made ones.
My PT has to send her note to the orthotic store and then I can set my appointment.
I have foot drop but unfortunantly I do have that hip flexor weakness too. I can not cross my right foot over my left. The PT says it is my hip causing that problem.
I am so frustrated with how my ability to keep mobile is getting so difficult. I went out side today and wanted to do some raking and help spread wood chips. We have an open house coming up this Sunday.
I was so off balance. It was difficult to rake and not fall but I did manage to get some of it done. I hope the AFO's provide enough support to help me balance.
I guess I can speak to this on two fronts - someone who wears an AFO and a PT.
I have left foot drop and just tried an AFO on in class one day and when it really helped my gait - I got one of my one. I was actually surprised that even though an AFO cannot specifically address my hip weakness, I was less fatigued since I was getting help with my ankle and my hip weakness was a little better. When you have foot drop - you have to clear your foot from the ground somehow and that usually makes your hip work overtime. The AFOs and balance may take some getting used to. In some situations they make it harder to keep your lateral balance because they don't allow your foot to turn and adjust, and in some ways they can help.
As to wearing shorts - with my old AFO people hardly noticed I was even wearing something. You just have to wear what you want and not worry about it looking perfect or right. I have gotten some stares for wearing tennis shoes with a fancy outfit to a nice restaurant, but I don't have another option. New balances work well because they are wider and often you don't have to increase the size. I've liked saucany also and they come in a lot of colors. If you don't want to go to the store and actually try things one - Zappos.com is free shipping both ways so it is another option.
Thanks so much for the adivice on shoes. I have been wearing Addidis.
I apprecate the help! I am honestly looking forward to getting these braces because I want to stay active and anything thing that will help me is great!
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