***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.***
Today Lydia had an appointment with the physical therapist for her toe walking. She has been wearing her night braces since last summer and also her day braces since last September. We were doing physical therapy every week most of last year up until November … then we went to once a month sessions. Lydia showed slight improvement from the December to January appointment, but at today’s appointment she has regressed slightly. Her muscle range when her foot is flexed is still about 10 degrees off what it should be. And she’s still walking on her tip toes as soon as she gets out of her braces. I’m talking, her first step is on her tip toes. It’s just natural for her to walk that way, I guess. I’ve tried walking on my tip toes and it’s so uncomfortable I can only do it for three steps. Lydia runs on her tip-toes. The problem is that it’s her natural instinct is to step down first with her toes, when normal walking is heel-to-toe.
So the next step will be that from now until June, we’ll continue to work with her at home on her home exercises, which is to work with her balancing on one foot and working her calf muscle and doing activities to promote her to walk heel-to-toe. Starting in June, the physical therapist wants to do a six-week session of electrical muscle stimulation. Basically there would be electrical stimulants placed on her legs, and with a remote the physical therapist will ‘hit the button’ when Lydia is supposed to step, and the electrodes would stimulate her to walk heel-to-toe, by pulling up her toes. It will be interesting to see how the process works, and to see if it will work. The physical therapist said she’d put the electrical currents on me first so that I can feel what it’s like. I hope this treatment shows some improvement. If it doesn’t, then I’m not too sure what the next steps will be. We keep hoping that she’ll grow out of it. She’s so good that she doesn’t complain about wearing her braces – even to school she doesn’t mind. She did tell me that a boy in her class pushed her while they were walking down the hall and he told her that she wasn’t walking fast enough. Grrr! That really made me mad. This boy, we hear stories about him all the time, he sounds absolutely rotten. I have a conference with the teacher next week and I’m going to ask her about his behavior. We’ve heard lots of stories about the stuff that he does. The very last thing I would want to have happen is to have some punk brat at preschool make fun of her for wearing braces. I won’t tolerate it!
During dinner tonight we were talking to Lydia about her braces and her tip-toe walking, and we asked her why she thinks she walks on her tip toes, and she said that it’s because she “doesn’t think” when she walks, so she just walks that way. It’s just ingrained in her to walk that way, for some reason. We’ll keep working on it to re-train her brain and her feet!