***If you’ve landed on my blog from searching the ‘net for info on tip toe walking or serial casting or AFO braces, hello. This particular post here is one in a number I wrote about my daughter’s tip toe walking. I encourage you to start with this post instead. It encapsulates our journey more succinctly.***
I have been in contact with other moms who have found this blog by googling “toe walker”. I’m glad this is a way to connect. I am in no way an expert on this issue, but I can share our experiences and maybe that would help someone else. So, I wanted to give an update on how Lydia is doing with her braces. She has been wearing them for almost two weeks now. (Catch up with Lydia’s toe-walking story here.) I have seen a great improvement in her muscles since wearing the braces, but, she’s still walking on her toes.
When we first got the braces, our physical therapist said that Lydia’s degree of movement was at a 10. She needed to be at a 15 to be able to walk heel-to-toe comfortably. The purpose of the braces is to slowly stretch out her tendons and muscles, so that she can gain that range of motion. The braces can be positioned so she’s either at a perfect 45 degree angle (her foot and leg) or it can stretch her so that her foot is stretching upward. We were instructed to have Lydia wear the braces at night in the 45 degree angle position, but then have her wear them for half an hour during the day at the stretched or “aggressive” position. We also have exercises that we do with her after. After two weeks of doing that (and Lydia doesn’t’ complain at all – she LOVES her braces!) she has gained two degrees! We are very pleased.
I can tell that her muscles and tendons are getting stretched, because I can put her braces on her and tighten them to the aggressive stretch position, and it feels like she’s not being stretched at all. For the past two nights, I’ve positioned the braces in the aggressive stretch position and she’s had a continuous stretch for 9 or more hours. Wonderful! She’s tolerating it all very well and only once has she asked to have a break from wearing her braces at night. Arlene is jealous of the braces – the other day she started walking on her tip toes and told me she needs braces too. Ha!
Our next physical therapy appointment is July 7. I am interested to see how her range of motion is at that appointment. Once she achieves the 15 then we’ll have to start working with her to get her out of the habit of walking on her toes. I think that will be the hardest part.