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

Monday, February 3, 2014

Righting Righty

From the age of 9 months on, our girl has worn some form of a "dancin' shoe", "boot" or "glass slipper". The need for such orthotics has never changed but the function of each pair over the years certainly has. All that is missing from the following picture is her KiddieGait, which is a form of orthotic that can be handed-down once out-grown. We gladly passed it on.

Seems we are in a constant battle with Oia's tight right calf muscles. There are brief periods of time when we think we've caught up in the game with Botox or casting but the spastic Beast is really bigger than us. Our December bout with Botox followed by casting made very little gains to Oia's dynamic range but from a passive stand point, she is more relaxed. At least a little bit. In English, her ankle can be stretched and held at a neutral position of 90 degrees (while stationary) with relative ease. However, when in motion (walking or running) she is still positioned on her toes. The prolonged toe-walking, due to pulled and tight calf muscles of the right leg, has slowly worked her ankle into a precarious position. It's something we have been watchful over for a very long time.

Typical stance. Weight shifted to left side, flat left foot. Right heel up.

Typical right ankle position, sans AFO. Poor thing. Righty bears very little weight while stationary. (Left heel is slighly raised here only because she is reaching for chocolate.)
That poor ankle looks like a broken ankle waiting to happen. I cringe watching her walk barefoot even though I know Oia is in much more control over her body and limbs that it looks. But even still, the time has come for Righty to step out of the lower fitting orthotic and into a more supportive and taller brace. The taller brace doesn't keep her flat, but flatter, and that ankle is snug and more appropriately aligned which makes for a healthy change. And it makes sense. Oia's legs function differently from one another and both are in need of two very different braces to accommodate the need of each. Such a simple (temporary) solution for such a complex little body.

Oia has been using the new brace for about 2 weeks now and in true Oia fashion, she is tolerating it beautifully. Her gait is solid, and more stable now. This change in brace was the right recommendation. Her sweet feet will be in this arrangement of bracing until something changes again... because it always does. It's just a matter of when.

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