Saturday, March 05, 2016

Practice Walking Without My Brace

Barb Polan
Barb's Recovery
Posted 8th June 2010

Yesterday in PT, my PT had me practice walking without my AFO (leg brace) to see how my ankle is coming along. She reminded me how weak my ankle was when I first started seeing her - it behaved then much like it had the morning of the stroke, when it just kept rolling over each time I put my weight on it. Yesterday, however, I could walk 10 feet without too much trouble, but with her guarding my ankle as my weight went on it. I practiced walking the 10 feet a half dozen times back and forth, pulling my leg up from the hip higher than I normally would so that it was easier to plant my foot straight forward - its natural inclination was to turn toe in and that was too risky for my ankle, so I would have to straighten it out when it did that. Each step I take, I try to keep my toes pointed "toward twelve o'clock," as my PT says.

In OT, we discussed what it would take for me to be able to shower by myself - the topic came up because I had told my PT about my dip in the Charles and her immediate response was,"So did you go home immediately and shower?" and my response was,"No, I don't shower by myself yet," to which she responded that I should talk to my OT about the logistics of that. We went through the process and my OT came up with a solution or two for each dilemma I perceived:how to get shampoo out of the bottle, where to keep my brace, shoes and cane so that they are dry at the end of the shower when I have to use them to walk out of the shower, where to keep the towels so that they are both dry and accessible, how to stand on a wet shower floor, how to shave both my legs and underarms, how to get into and out of the shower, all details that an able-bodied person deals with without a thought, another ability taken for granted. Of course, the whole showering adventure becomes much simpler once I'm no longer wearing the brace.

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