AFOs – Reply
I have been using AFOs on both for about a year now. As you say, all our stories are different, but I can tell you that the AFOs have helped me tremendously. The type I have use a hinged spring at the ankle which overcome the severe footdrop that I have in both feet. My PT explained that if I tried to practice and relearn how to walk without the AFOs I would end up sort of marching all the time as I raised my legs very high in order to clear my feet with each step. Also, this akward walking is both tiring and dangerous.
Under pants, except for the occasional squek, no one can tell you are wearing them.
One inconvenience is that I have been restricted to only wearing sneakers since other shoes or boots won’t open enough to let you put in the AFOs. Not a big deal, and since I am not working at the moment sneakers are ususally fine.
I also make sure to walk at home everday without the AFOs in order to exercise parts of the foot and calf that are somewhat immobilzed by the AFOs.
My PT says that I may always need the AFOs, we’ll see. I hated using them and hated needing to use the AFOs in the beginning, but improved mobility is a good thing.