Friday, August 27, 2010

Orthotics

Once we got Brennan up on his feet, we realized that he would roll his ankles (as picture below) and would also hyper-extend his knees. This seemed like it must be uncomfortable for Brennan, could be part of the reason he is reluctant to bear weight on hi feet and could also cause alot of pain and problems for him in the future if not corrected. I consulted with many people (pediatrician, physical therapist, Down syndrome clinic, orthotists) who were able to provide me with little to no useful information. All agreed that he would benefit from some type of brace or ankle foot orthosis (AFO), but none could tell me which type of AFO.
Finally, Brennan's swim therapist in collaboration with an orthotist were able to determine what type of support Brennan needed.....a hinged AFO. The hinges on the AFO can be tightened or loosened to restrict or allow for more movement. To start, Brennan are tightened to restrict motion and also to keep him from hyper-extending his knees. The AFO also provides the support he needs to keep his ankles from rolling. As his strength increases, the hinges will be gradually loosened to allow him to do more of the work. And at some point he will move from his current brace that goes up his calf, to one the goes just above the ankle.
It certainly took some time to figure out what type of orthosis Brennan would be most beneficial for Brennan, but I feel confident that the right decision was made and am excited to see the progress he will make now that his feet, ankles and legs are properly supported.

10 comments:

Sweet Pea's Mommy said...

I'm sorry that it took so much effort, but I'm really glad that you found something to help with both issues! I am having an issue finding someone too and I hope that we end up with something that we feel is as good of a fit! I think we finally will meet with someone in a month that should actually help.

Lyn said...

I know how frustrating it can be to not get definite answers when you want them, but those are pretty cool and look like they'll do what you need them to. Three cheers to Brennan who will be seeing the world from a whole new "vertical" perspective...wahoo!

The Sanchez Family said...

So happy for little Brennan!!!

Eric and Crista said...

We just went through this too. That picture could of Nate's ankles! It is hard to know what to get. The ones we ended up getting are a little shorter. Did you end up getting special shoes for them? We got some cheaper shoes at Target, but they have velcro which Nate is obsessed with pulling on and off - ACK! Those AFOs for Brennan look great. I look forward to hearing how they help him!!

Cheri said...

Sharon...those look great!! What a lot of research and digging to find just the right ones but so glad you finally found what he needed. What a sweet, sweet little guy he is!!!

Anne and Whitney: Up, Down and All Around said...

so happy you were able to figure out the right orthotic, but sorry it was so difficult to get it figured out! they look great - hopefully brennan likes them and is more into "bearing weight" on his legs!!! :)

Emily said...

Wow... Justin has that exact same problem. All his therapists keep telling me to wait until he gets stronger and stars walking. Hmmm... I better look further into this. Hope you see some success!

Shauna Yule Brasseur said...

I still can't believe the progress he's made in such a short time and I am so happy to be here to see these changes!

Herbie said...

Gosh...this brought back such memories for me! Jake used to have these with little Elmos on them. I am so glad you finally found something that works! You are such an amazing mom, Sharon!

Monica said...

How frustrating that the "experts" don't know. Of course, leave it to a mom to be diligent in finding out the right answer. Looks like the right orthotic for his needs. I hope he does well with it.