Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Getting AFO's: Part 1

Today was an exciting day, not that every day doesn't contain some form of excitement, but today was just a bit different. We had our appointment with the local  Hanger Orthopedic office and Rae was measured for her first pair of Ankle Foot Orthotics (AFO's) this afternoon.

This was probably the quickest appointment I have ever had with Rae. Once I signed in at the front desk Ben, a Licensed Orthotist Certified Orthotist (seriously wouldn't Licensed Certified Orthotist be sufficient?), promptly greeted us and showed us to our room. He confidently explained how the casting would be made, offered suggestions about color options, and made sure I was at ease with the entire process. Unfortunately, Rae was not at ease which resulted in squealing, whining, and screeching during most of the appointment. True to form, I took my camera to her appointment and photographed the process:

Here is a diagram of her AFO's. They didn't have an example in the office so I figured this would suffice.

These are all the swatches I had to choose from, which included: Superman, Spiderman, butterflies (2), hearts (2), camouflage, and the American flag (to name a few). After sending pictures to a few friends and family, I ended up choosing a purple butterfly print, purple foam padding, and purple straps (I was going to use pink padding and straps, but Ben said it gets dirty looking quicker than the purple).

Rae was fairly quiet at this point, but that was before Ben started putting socks and a wet gauze like casting material on her legs.

Ben slipped socks (one to add room for her actual socks and one to attach to the casting material) onto her leg along with a tube that helps keep the scissors from touching her skin when he cuts the soft cast off.

Then it was time to start wrapping.

The right leg was done in no time and here's the finished product. It will be used to mold the plastic used to make the AFO's into the shape of her leg.

Then it was time to cast the left leg (it's pretty much the same as the first).

It was at this point that Rae became fussier. Ben had to push on the bottom of her left foot to set the cast in the proper position. She was not a happy camper (see video below). The muscles in this foot are tight and at times it is uncomfortable for Rae when we try to stretch them.

The left cast was cut off...

and now we wait for 3 weeks before picking up the finished product...on Rae's 2nd birthday.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl!


  1. I just found your blog searching for something for my daughter. My daughter, too, has hypotonia. She was diagnosed at 10 months old. She ended up at a year and a half with her AFOs. They helped her immensely! I think that you will be very happy!I'm sure by now you've learned patience with your daughter (which is not one of my strongest suits, I'm learning, slowly, with my daughter, though! I had been told when Kaelyn (my daughter)that she should be walking within the month after getting her AFOs (we didn't have the best early interventionist at the time, she was not helpful, nor encouraging). Kaelyn took about 6 months, but she finally walked! My daughter is now 4 and is slowly but surely catching up on her milestones. We're still behind, but we're closing the gap slowly! Hugs to you and keep up the fight :)

  2. Abbey, I'm glad you found us and I hope you found what you were looking for. I'm very hopeful that the AFO's will help and if they help enough to avoid a wheel chair that would be even better, but only time will tell. I wish I could say that my patience is where I believe it should be, but...well it's getting there.

    We've been very fortunate with our care team and I'm sorry that your interventionist wasn't very helpful.

    Congrats on Kaelyn's progress!

    Your story is very encouraging and I know of a few others that would probably love to pick your brain. Are you on Facebook? There is a group there called Hypotonia Parent Connection and many of them have young children like my Rae. There are so many questions and sometimes it is difficult to find answers or even helpful hints.