Friday, October 3, 2008

The Brace

We finally have it! It took 3 months but now it’s here. So far we’re pretty much at the stage where we’re trying to get him used to it a little bit at a time. He doesn’t seem to mind and it doesn’t affect his crawling. However, it’s flat and plastic on the bottom so he can’t pull to stand with it, which is frustrating for him as he likes to stand up everywhere. As a result, I don’t like to leave it on him too long even though our goal is to have him eventually wear it for most of the day.

I just bet some of you are wondering to yourselves: “Why doesn’t that woman just have him wear a shoe over his brace?” Well I wish we could. However, it seems that just might be impossible. I don’t know how easy it is to see in the picture but there are huge knobby things sitting very low on the brace that prevent it from fitting in the shoe properly. I will admit that I haven’t scoured the earth for shoes, but our physiotherapist agrees that it may not be possible to get a shoe for the brace. We have a call in to the guy that was responsible for making it but when you consider that it took three months to get it, it may take almost as long to hear from him. In the meantime, we keep trying to stretch out the sides of the shoe that we found and have him wear the brace when he crawls. Our physio suggested putting a large non-slip sock over the brace to help when we practice standing but we can’t use it to walk which was the area that the brace was supposed to be most helpful.

So, really, I don’t know if we’re much further ahead than we were. We’ve been told that it should be very helpful to him when he walks but I can’t say yet. I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, if anyone who reads this blog has had a similar problem and solved it, I would love to hear from you!



North Dakota Ward's said...

Daniel found a non slip sticky material, made for high heels. He cut it to fit on the bottom of his AFO. It works SUPER well. I know that you are supposed to not wear the brace without shoes, but it is near impossible like you said because of the nobby things right where the shoe is supposed to be. I think shoes should just come with the brace. I can't wait to get the hinge in ours though. But I feel like even with that we will have months of working up to him being strong enough to walk without the brace. We are still working on walking with shoes on.

Bonnie said...

Hi Barbara & Jim. When I had a cast on, there is a non-slip kind of boot that fits over a cast and is attached with velcro. If you check Shoppers' Home Health, they might be able to help you out. I worked with the Guardian Pharmacy Home Health on Lasalle. The cast tech sent me there, and they were very helpful.

The other option is to call the cast tech at the orthopaedic clinic at Memo and ask him about options. I'm sure they have kid's non-stick boots that fit over casts - because I don't know how I would have managed as an adult with a cast. Those fibreglass casts are like being on a skating rink! Best of luck! Love,
Auntie Bonnie

Dawn said...

Sorry can't help with the shoes but I can sympathize. Every morning it's a battle with righty. Our AFO maker says we have to use them with shoes though or they'll be damaged. Austin just has very long shoes and sometimes early on I thought he was getting tripped up by the extra length. No fun.

Anonymous said...

There's an online shoe store, brand name Hatchbacks, shoes made specifically for children who wear braces.

I tell parents to take the brace to the store with the widest selection of inexpensive shoes, and try the shoes on the brace - without the child.

Whoever decided on style-of-brace decided he had to have a hinged brace - those knobby things. So the shoe needs to be lower cut on the sides - sandals will do for inside as the brace provides all the support he needs.

Also, and sometimes the simplest and real solution, be sure to pull-out the insole on the shoe with the brace. Very important. Barbara

Barbara said...

Suze: I'm going to ask our physio about the non-slip stuff. With that on, does it still fit ok in the shoe?

Bonnie: I'll ask our physio about the boot but I think there will be a problem with the hinge which is supposed to be able to bend. Bennett's AFO was made at Laurentian by the only guy in Sudbury who apparently has pediatric experience. We're still waiting to hear from him.

Dawn: Bennett wears a size 6 shoe right now - for the heck of it, I got a size 9 for him. It was WAY to big on his foot even though the brace kind of fit inside. How much bigger did you have to go for Austin?

Barbara: I've taken your advice and bought a pair of sandals that we can try inside the house -we'll try tonight. We've also tried with the insoles out - it helps a bit but not much. Our physio. has said she has never seen a brace with knobs that have flared so wide.

Anonymous said...

I'm looking closely at the photo closely. A question - not to give me the answer, but for you to use to make decisions. How important is it to you that his feet look nice, that he wear 'matching' shoes, that his shoes look a certain way?

He will not wear this particular brace forever (in the long run, you may barely remember it when he is a teen). However, the importance for him to have proper foot position while he is learning to walk is a forever-kind-of-thing. Learning to walk without the brace could set him on a course for needing a brace indefinitely or for walking noticeably different for the rest of his life. Using this brace now does not promise neither of the above, but provides the potential for preventing both.

Let the knobby-things stretch-out the sides of the shoe. Cut the sides of the shoe if you feel it is necessary. The larger size is primarily for the width. If the brace extends well beyond his toes IN STANDING, ask if the toe of the brace can be trimmed (requiring smaller size shoes).

If you can afford it and it matters to you, buy 2 pairs of shoes, size 9 for R and size 6 for L. Or, if you can manage the other adjustments, perhaps you can get sizes 7 and 8 so as to have a smaller difference between feet.

The person who decided on design should have been the MD who wrote the orders, but the Canadian system may be different. Keep this in mind for the next set so that you can ask if he can have a solid AFO (no hinges). Consult your physio on this. Another consideration is a supramalleolar orthosis (SMO). No matter what I leave here, take the advice of your physio.

And if you haven't already, please visit my site this week. Nice stuff. Barbara

Mummu and Poppa said...

One thing for sure - Bennett can really travel with the walker.

Hopefully, the 'brace and shoe' will give him added stability. Bennett certainly finds his own 'means of transportation' - from the bunny hop crawl to walking with the walker and walking with the holding of hands. Bennett, you are truly remarkable. We are so proud of you.

There is surely a shoe or boot that will fit his needs with the brace, but for now, he is stopping for no one!

Look out world here he comes!

We all look forward to the day when the brace is not needed but for now we look forward to finding a fit for shoe and brace for Bennett.

Love you lots.

Mummu and Poppa
xxx ooo xxx ooo