I told my Dad i'd help him find some new ideas for a brace, so I was hoping people on here might have some thoughts.
Background: When he was 21, dad was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease. He had large amounts of radiation, but I believe he was largely normal for a number of years. Fast forward to 1993 (?? Forgive me, I was 7 then, it could have been '95?). Due to the chest radiation Dad had to have quadruple bypass surgery. They took veins from each leg and his arms (he had 135 staples!!), and within a few months of surgery, he started noticing problems with his right leg. Gradually he started losing feeling in his leg and had trouble controlling his ankle. It was pretty gradual and didn't affect his daily living for a number of years, but for the past 5 years or so he's been in a brace whenever walking. He never was diagnosed with an actual cause (radiation? damaged the nerve during surgery?) but they've treated it like foot drop. From what I understand, that's not accurate, but that's the kind of brace he wears.
The problem: In addition to being old, ugly and uncomfortable, we're going to Disney and Dad wants to look a little snazzier.
Even when he's wearing shorts and a short sock on one foot, he has to wear a tall sock on the foot with the brace, or the top and the velcro rubs him to death. I suggested spraypainting it
and covering the top with padding so he could wear a short sock. I have horses, and typically when something rubs, we use vetwrap (think disposable ace bandage) in the winter, and sheepskin in the summer. Sheepskin could work on the top of his brace, but i'm afraid it would be hot in Florida. He'll be in a motorized scooter most of the time, so we're not looking for something that has to stand up to a ton of walking.
Long term, he wants a new brace. Here's an email he sent me. He tells it better than I could.
Give me some ideas? It is ugly. The old polio braces looked better made out of leather and steel. I wonder about painting it; then what color. I tried wearing it with short socks and it quickly reminded me back when I was in the hospital for so long, I used it every day to walk and it rubbed a blister the liked to have never healed. It’s the edge of the brace cuts into the skin. Apparently, something as thin as a sock keeps it from doing that. Ideas? Color of socks? My newer brace looks better but it’s just not wearable in it’s present state. They allowed so little room for the ankle to flex that I can drive with it. It won’t allow my foot to flex enough to press the accelerator. I also can’t climb stairs with my foot having to slide around inside the brace. Doc tells me to just change into my older brace at those times. Yeah, right? If worst comes to worst, I’ll enlarge the notch to allow more flex. Give me your ideas on it? Every time I went back to Dr. Delaney, he’d make adjustments that made it worse. I could tell his tech knew this but he’s the boss. I’m going to take it to the Brace and limb place when I go and see what they recommend. |
Also, if I wanted to go decorative, I could take the metal fittings off that are holding the Velcro strap, then I’d have two holes. How would it look to use small, stainless or brass bolts and nuts to attach a leather strap with a buckle. That would be just as easy as threading that Velcro strap through the opposite fitting. Find me a Brace and Limb store in Raleigh and I’ll come up for lunch and you can go there with me. I wonder if I taped around my leg and the tape would be enough buffer. If I were a female, I could decorate it with flower stickers. I don’t picture any stickers I’d want except for some bug stickers I saw; caterpillars, frogs, scorpions, etc. It’s an ugly thing and it’s like they tried to emphasize those qualities. I hate it that I have a one white leg in the summer. What about some of that wrap I’ve seen you use? Any ideas?
I’ve never understood why they took the brace so far up my leg as the goal is to stabilize my ankle and prevent the “foot drop”. This is a standard off the shelf design that was custom constructed for my leg and foot. If you get diagnosed with foot problems they lump them all together and call them foot drop, like when they don’t know what’s wrong with a baby, they call it colic. Mine is foot drop and they use the same design brace for everyone, not matter what. I would have thought that someone would have analyzed your problem and custom designed a brace to fix your problems. Mark Wertman designed me a fixed brace with no hinge. His intentions were admirable but it was a flop. You just gotta have some flex.