Therapy Tools (part 2): PT

When J was about 16 months old her therapist suggested ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs). J was just rolling over and wasn’t crawling yet. She could bear weight on her legs with support and the therapist wanted her ankles and feet positioned properly when she was standing for therapy and in her exer-sauser at home.

J hasn’t seemed to care whether she’s wearing them or not. So she doesn’t fight when we put them on her unless her muscles are exceptionally tight that day. Then she will protest. There are days I’ll wake J and her muscles will be extremely tight and then others she will be floppy like a rag doll.

The orthotist said they offer an assortment of shoes, but they weren’t fashionable and are quite expensive. He suggested I try Payless first. I was able to find some shoes to fit over the AFOs. They were the only shoes the store carried for toddlers in wide. They aren’t too bad. They are, however, 3 1/2 sizes larger than her actual show size, so they make her feet appear gigantic.

J can only bear weight on her legs for a short period of time and then one will give way. Also, her trunk is weak, so when she’s standing she tends to lean to the right. She is making strides and gaining strength. J’s physical therapist is quite impressed with her ability to army crawl. When I place her on the floor. I position her on her hands and knees. She is staying in this postion for a few seconds. She used to scream in this position. Now she flops down to her tummy and begins to pull herself across the floor with her forearms. Mostly her left one, since her right is the weaker of the two and is difficult for her to control. J is quite proud of her newfound mobility and I must say I am too!

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