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645800 tn?1466864555

I can finally walk normally, Almost!

Let's see it was about 3 weeks ago I was sent to see about braces for my knees and AFOs for my drop foot at the VA. Evidently there is a new type of AFO available that doesn't rub my ankle or side of foot like the others one they have tried in the past. So now with the aid of these I can walk normally, at least on level ground. Though it does feel like I'm wearing lead boots due to the weight of all of the hardware on my legs, SO I'm not sure if I can walk any long distance without getting totally worn out. LOL

It has become kind of a real procedure to get dressed with all of this stuff. First I have to put sleeves on my legs that are kind of like Nylons without the feet. These go from just above my ankles to the top of my thighs and are to keep the seems of the knee braces from digging into my legs.  

The knee braces are a pain to put on. They extend from mid calf to mid thigh with plates that sit on either side of the knee to prevent lateral motion of my knees. They fasten to my legs with Velcro straps which tend to stick to everything including each other and the sleeves.

So now I can finally put my pants on, but I then have to pull the legs up above the bottom of the knee braces as the top of the AFO attaches over the bottom of the knee braces. Of course the AFOs attach with Velcro straps as well and they stick to everything as well. Finally the struggle to get the pants legs down again past the AFOs. So far the fastest I have been able to do this is around 10 minutes. Oh and getting undressed is just as involved.

So is all of this worth it? Even though I still can't walk up or down slops or stairs normally I would have to say yes. The hardware has already saved me from 1 fall when I felt my left knee give out. It gave my mind enough time to respond to the knee giving out to have it tell them to get back to work.

9 Responses
987762 tn?1331031553
Hey Dennis,

Hmmm should we be calling you cyborg now you've got all the new hardware :D it actually sounds exhausting to put on but if it helps you walk smoother, that's probably not a bad trade off.....its fantastic to here you think its worth it and it's actually helping!

5265383 tn?1483811956
I would love to figure out how they've set up both for you.  I have to wear a knee brace on my weak leg 24/7 -- the foot drop assist afos that were approved by my insurance wouldn't work with the knee brace.

The one that does work with knee brace?  Insurance has denied it twice now.  They won't cover it.

I'm incredibly frustrated and not sure what to do next.    What sort of afos are you using?  

I am so glad that the set up is working for you though!!!  Must feel pretty good!
645800 tn?1466864555
I guess the Cyborg would be appropriate since I have them on both legs. Also that is probably what it looks like when I go up or down sloping ground like I have between my driveway and the front of my house.

Actually it isn't exhausting as most of the time while getting into or out of the hardware I am sitting on the edge of my bed. But I do have a better appreciation for what a woman goes through when wearing Nylons. LOL

I couple of things did surprise me after starting to wear this stuff.

1) A while back there was a discussion on here about arms not swinging when walking. I was one of those that had that happening. Well no sooner did I put on the hardware when I noticed that my arms were swinging again when I walk. The only thing I can think of is that with the foot problems my mind was too busy trying to get my legs to work that it didn't have time to send the signals to my arms to make them swing. LOL

2) I am walking a lot faster now. I've always walked pretty fast even with the foot problems, probably why I would trip over shadows so much. It seems like I'm now walking at about the smae speed I did when I was a teenager and there is a noticeable spring in my step as well.

645800 tn?1466864555
The AFOs I got are from a company called Ottobock. The model is a "WalkOn Reaction Ankle Foot Orthosis". There web site is: www.ottbockus.com

My knee braces are from a company called corflex. I couldn't figure out from the pictures on the site which model I have though.

The AFOs aren't really designed to work with a knee brace, but they have a very long Velcro strap at the top. So the tech just placed the upper part of the AFO over the bottom of the knee braces and tightened the strap there. The tech had a sample AFO to try it out before he ordered the real ones for me.

Oh and the sleeves I mentioned are from a company called Breg and are called a bracesox. they are 86% supplex 14% lycra. There web site is Bracesox.com

Hope this helps.

5265383 tn?1483811956
Thank you, Dennis!

The AFO that my insurance company  covered (Dynamic Walk) was similar
to yours.  However I'm wearing a Donjoy ACL brace (keeps my weak leg from hyper extending) and it has more of a frame.  The high cuffed AFO's don't work in tandem with it.

What does work is the small Dictus Band.  But not covered (even though a whole lot less expensive lol).

I might try to rig something ...

645800 tn?1466864555
After checking out photos of the Donjoy braces they look like they are pretty much the same as mine as far a the actual frame.

The tech had also tried out having the AFO under the knee brace and that also worked, but they thought it would be easier to get dressed with the AFO over the knee brace. So that might also be an option.

The main key to having this work is a long Velcro strap (both knee brace and AFO on my set have that feature).

I hope you can figure out something to get yours to work.


PS I think that the combination of the two braces is why a squeak when I walk now. LOL
5265383 tn?1483811956
When the orthotist tried both together, the AFO shoved the knee brace upwards ... Interfered with my knee movement and hurt.

This was strapped up UNDER the knee brace.  the AFO still works if strapped over top?  Not sure whether they would reorder in again to try

Thanks, Dennis!  Happy squeaking ... er walking ;).
198419 tn?1360245956
Hi Dennis!

I had not been on in so long, I did not even know how bad your walking had gotten! This is awesome news! Getting your stride back - arms and all :-)

5265383 tn?1483811956
So with the help of my ms physiotherapist via phone, I rigged a foot up device (sort of like the Navigait).  And it works!!!!!  So excited :).    Half inch elastic attaches by a loop to the set strap of the knee brace, and by a small hook to one of a row of small hooks I sewed on the tongue of my running shoe.

I walk almost normally! Haven't tested it on a long walk yet, where I have the most trouble, but I can now share in your walking joy :).
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