Monday, June 18, 2018

AFO Update

As y'all well know, I've been having issues with my new and old AFO. It's been a maddening adventure trying to get the new one to fit without causing pain when I wear it longer than three hours.

I just have too active of a lifestyle even living post stroke. I suppose it would be different if I was the type of person that didn't strive to be active and push for recovery of what I lost. But, that's just not me. If nothing else, I'm true and totally honest with and about myself.

The main problem is two fold. The new AFO straightens my foot and ankle the way it should be, aka normal, and my old AFO doesn't do this, but causes stress fractures. It's a no win situation. I strongly dislike those types of situations. It feels like losing, but really it's not because I walk better with the new AFO.

I had another appointment with my orthotic specialist. This is going to be an ongoing thing until the Baclofen pump can be installed and adjusted. Every month, I'll be making my way into the "big" city for consults and adjustments until then. After much discussion, we decided to keep doing minor adjustments to the AFO over time because it is actually doing what it is suppose to do. This new AFO will look like it's been through a war just like my other ones by the time they are finished. It's a good thing they are not charging me for these appointments, but I still have to pay for the gas for the 60+- mile round trip.

I'm still waiting on a date for the Baclofen trial. So I'm stuck trading out AFOs when I can't tolerate one or the other to get the things done that need to be done. I'm still doing more sitting than I need to be doing. I guess we all do what we have to do even when it involves stopping in the middle of doing something to change out braces.

It looked similar to this shutterstock pic
I'm glad I bought two pairs of shoes last year too. I had a major blow out of the sole of my affected side's shoe. The entire tip to the mid sole non slip cover came loose. It flapped with every step. Talk about a fall waiting to happen. While I was in Gainesville visiting my orthotic specialist, I dropped off the shoe at the shoe repair shop. They were the ones that did all the adjustments to my shoes. Because it was one of these adjustments that blew out, there was no charge. Of the six years I've had to have specialty shoes, I've been extremely blessed not to have an issue like this before. I'm also thankful that the sale of my lower Georgia property allowed me to buy an extra pair of shoes so I wasn't having to try and walk with my shoe like this.

The news about the new AFO is not all bad. The new AFO is easier to put on and the hard plastic shell is narrower than my old one. This is a major plus in the summer. It slides in and out of my shoe easier instead of having to use a shoe horn like the old one which is also an advantage. But most of all, it's holding my foot in the proper alignment. My back is ever so grateful.

I have developed arthritis in the first MP joint of my affected pinky toe. The numerous x-rays I had on this foot during the fractures healing confirmed this. The pain and swelling isn't  helping matters in pain threshold department. In case you didn't know, the pinky toe is in constant use keeping your balance with each step. Having sustained several crushing injuries and fractures to the foot in the past, and now the AFO, I'm not surprised. Even with the strap across my foot on the new AFO, the toes move and are pulled out of alignment with the spasticity. The new AFO straightens my foot for a more evenly distributed weight across my foot so this joint is now getting an even greater workout. This relatively new diagnosis is a kick in the pants.

It's s-o-o much fun getting older.


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