a blog about raising a daughter with cerebral palsy and learning unexpected lessons along the way

Monday, March 22, 2010

New Right Brace

After 3 weeks of waiting, Oia and I finally picked up her new AFO today. It's been at least two months now that she has been walking 'free' without her orthotics. It's time to get back into them.

The new brace is different than her previous pairs. Previous pairs were very limiting in regards to ankle movement, functioned much like a ski boot (but this is the kind of support she has always needed for stability). These pairs kept her ankles positioned at 90 degrees which kept her heels as close to the floor as possible. These are the braces that Oia learned to stand, cruise and walk in. They were life changing.

New AFO is for the right foot. Lefty is a free spirit these days. Lefty has developed enough 'natural' movement that her orthotist felt a brace on that foot would hinder any more natural movements to develope as she grows. Left heel can come to the floor while right heel can not at all. New AFO is different than older versions because it is hinged to allow Oia's ankle more range of motion. She will no longer feel as though she is walking in a ski boot and her gait will not be as heavy in the new, hinged brace; shown below on the right.

Unfortunately, getting shoes to fit over braces is no easy task to say the least and now getting just one shoe to fit is even more of a challenge. Know of any shoe stores that sell only a shoe? We found a shoe (rather a pair of shoes) today to fit over the new brace but they didn't have her size in the store. Imagine that. Waiting on the ordered pair to arrive and then we have to take the right shoe to our local shoe repair shop so that the shoe's velcro straps can be lengthen to fit over the bulk of the brace. Hopefully, if all goes well, she should be peelin' out in her new AFO and shoes by Easter.

Tiniest AFO's in the first picture were Oia's very first pair, worn around 10 months of age.


  1. Hi, I tagged you for an award over on my blog!

    I never thought about having to find shoes for one brace only. That must have been almost impossible to do.

    That is a pretty brace though!

  2. I know hatchbacks are really expensive, but I'm pretty sure you can special order each shoe--but dont' quote me on that!

  3. I don't know what shoes Katy is referring to but the folks at Shriners, where we get my daughter's brace say Nordstrom will sell you a pair of shoes in two different sizes. I don't know if you have a store near you, otherwise how could you know the size? My baby is younger that yours, and we need only one as she has hemiplegia, so far I have just stretched a Robeez shoe to fit. We get a new brace next week and I am foxed by what to do, let's keep each other posted.

  4. We've never had to fit only one of her feet with a shoe that works with a brace, but we really like the converse low-rise sneakers from Target. They have a cloth upper, so they can bend down where the hinge of the AFO is. And they are only about $15 (? don't quote me), so if need be, you could even buy two different-sized pairs for probably less than one pair of special needs shoes.

    We usually buy shoes about 2 sizes too big to fit the AFO base comfortably, and remove the insoles. If you have ever seen Pediped shoes, they come with 2 insoles which you can use together or singly depending on foot growth--you could take that concept and put in an extra insole in the non-brace shoe. Hope you find something that works!

  5. Oia's first set of AFO's with the hearts are IDENTICAL to Chloe's! I swear, Oia & Chloe are souls sista's!

  6. I just came across your blog as I was googling "hinged AFOs". My daughter Naomi has bilateral clubfeet and we've dealt with casting, surgery and braces since she was 2 weeks old. She's worn AFOs (we call them her "boots" since 6 mos and, now that she's cruising, is moving on to the hinges to aid her movement. But I digress... thank you for sharing so openly your life with sweet Oia (her smile lit me up as the page was loading!). You must have strength I can only imagine - I thought it was the end of my world when Naomi was born with crooked feet! I'm a little intimidated by the hinges since I've gotten used to her original , but I'm inspired by your courage.