10/06/2015

Life with an Otto Bock Walk On AFO

Life with a leg brace has been interesting. Orthotic Services put me in an Otto Bock WalkOn Flex AFO back in April. We did this to combat problems that I was having with my foot drop issue on my right side. The brace supports my ankle and gives my lower leg added stability. It's made of carbon fiber and wearing it feels weird, but I've not fallen since the AFO was fitted.

Otto Bock AFO
The brace wraps around my ankle and goes up the inside and back of my leg. A 4" high half-cuff of cabon fiber goes around the back of my calf next to my knee. A thin pad and an extra long velcro strap holds it in place fairly well. I have to make minor adjustments throughout the day.

Getting used to wearing the brace has been an experience. The foot brace meant saying good-bye to my beloved pair of Zigs and hello to New Balance. An extra-wide width was required and it took some serious pushing to get the brace down into the shoe where it goes. Taking up extra space in the left shoe is done by wearing mismatched socks. A think sock on the left and a thin one on the right helps make life more comfortable. Dresses are out and getting dressed in general is more challenging.

Driving is a challenge. The Otto Bock Walk On, like any other AFO, is designed to keep my toes up off of the floor, and most of the time it helps. The story changes when it comes to pressing an accelerator.. That I have to push by using my leg instead of lifting and pressing the pedal. If I really work it, I can sometimes rest my leg against the front edge of the seat and brace against that when pushing. You can imagine how comfortable that isn't.

My husband and I drove across the country this past summer. Thanks to the situation with my brace and leg, he had to do much more of the driving than he ever has before. I haven't done any real distance driving since having the brace and it makes me nervous to think about doing so.

Despite its shortcomings, the Otto Bock AFO seems to be helping. I have to be extra careful when I'm not wearing the brace, because my leg seems weaker now than before getting the AFO. Also, stepping out of the shower can be especially challenging. I guess it will take more time to fully adjust. But, I've not fallen again, so that's something to be grateful for.



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