So my girl and I have spent the past week wallowing in yuck. She had strep and I had the black plague of death. We managed to muster our strength yesterday and make to trip to pick up her new AFOs. My sweet little bean pole was born with severe club feet and she needs to wear special braces to stabilize her ankles and prevent her feet from returning to their curled position.
Now in theory these braces are great, but sadly, they create additional problems. Most kiddos that have to wear AFOs have compromised ability to walk either in strength, stability, or both. The AFOs are supposed to provide for these kids the support and stability to walk on their own, or at least walk better on their own. And the AFOs, by themselves, do that. But the shoes, you still need shoes. And nobody makes reasonable, appropriate, practical shoes to wear over AFOs. In order to find shoes to fit over my daughter’s AFOs I have to buy shoes 3-4 sizes larger than her actual size. Will someone PLEASE explain to me how wearing giant clown shoes is going to help my daughter learn to walk when she already struggles with tripping over her feet and maintaining her balance?!
And don’t tell me about the hatchback brand shoes that are supposed to be made for AFOs. They are exactly the same as regular shoes, but easier to put on. The size is still a huge issue.
So I came up with my own solution. AFOs are made from hard, formed plastic. In my daughter’s case her entire foot is encased and protected except for the toes in front. She doesn’t need a “shoe” for protection. She does need grip in the form of a sole and she needs some toe protection. The hard plastic is very slippery so she can’t just walk on the hard plastic.
Not glamorous looking by any means, but completely necessary. My first attempt at “leather slip covers” turned out pretty well I think. I will continue playing with the pattern and perfecting the fit. I would also like to make a trip to see our local cobbler about putting and actual rubber sole on these so she can wear them outside!!!