Foot and Ankle Strengthening Exercises. Rehabilitation Program For Pain Relief
My Left (Drop-)Foot
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There is little doubt that the MS world is a small world, indeed. I’ve come to accept that I may – at nearly any time or place – run into someone from the MS community who recognizes me for the work we do for the cause. It was a bit outside the normal realm of the MS small world when I sat down to get a new leg brace to combat my on-again, off-again drop-foot.
The hulk of a mustachioed man who fitted me had an accent thick to match his arms and I knew it immediately to be Ukrainian. We began to chat as he measured me from heel to toe, from toe to toe and so on. His wife, we came to understand, came from a village right next to the one where I was stationed with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 1997.He, in fact, shared a last name with one of the families with whom I stayed during my deployment to work with farmer-bakers in the far southwest of the country.
Come to find out, he was distantly related to that family… Small world!
We got on with the fitting after having a laugh and I was quite surprised at how far technology had advanced since my last brace was fitted, over a decade ago. That nylon monstrosity had been custom-made for me at well-respected orthotics and prosthetics lab which was part of a local university.
The way that one fit (or didn’t), I could only guess that it had been the project of a struggling graduate student.
The man who worked me up for this one, however, assured me that many advancements in orthotic braces and implants had come along in the past several years and, come to fine out, they have very much to do with work being done for wounded veterans returning from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Someone asked me, in the comments fromlast week’s interview blogsto explain more about my brace. This post is my way of explaining.
I do not use a brace every day. Not thatmy drop-footisn’t enough to use it most days. Rather, I want to keep those muscles as toned as possible so I stretch, exercise, and use my leg and foot as much as possible. There are times, however, when it’s just safer and I could use with a reminder of my limitations (if you know what I mean).
I’ve tried the electro-stimulating walking aids and was very surprised by how they work. Were my drop-foot to progress, I may consider adapting to these very expensive but quite interesting pieces of medical gadgetry. For now though, a good brace is enough.
I mention expense.
My last brace cost me nothing out of pocket (though I can’t say that it was much of a bargain as I wore it far, far less than I would have had it a better comfort to value ratio). Even with decent insurance this brace sucked nearly 0.00 out of pocket (about one-tenth the cost of the electronic versions and my insurance would pay none of that).
Still, with the thickness of a dime and strength beyond aircraft aluminum, my new brace fits into my shoes (most of my shoes – my beloved boat shoes must be relinquished to the “good days,” and my custom-made Swedish chef’s clogs are a thing of my past anyway…), it hides beneath my trouser’s leg and it keeps me from tripping on the odd stone or flooring transition.
We’ve not spoken about such braces before on the Life With MS Blog, which is something of a surprise as we’ve been at this for coming on seven years now. I – as always – invite you to chime in with your experience with (or need for) such a supportive device.
I also want to thank everyone here andespeciallyJeff and Rose from Everyday Health for your continued patience as we get settled into our new home. No Internet yet, five hours’ time difference, and the all the difficulties of a move have made it difficult for me to get things in on time and in proper order. We hope to have all of that settled by the end of next week… We hope!
Wishing you and your family the best of health.
You can also follow me via our Life With MS Facebook page, on Twitter, and in our group on MS Connection.org. Also, check out our bi-monthly MS blog for the United Kingdom, and don’t forget to check out TrevisLGleason.com.
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