Need AFO help or ideas

    • Anonymous
      July 21, 2006 at 1:07 pm

      I am having difficulties with my AFO’s and the shoes or boots that I wear tearing up my feet. So long as I am on flat ground I don’t have any problems. But when I start going up and down hills when I am out hunting or fishing I always come home limping.

      When I am going down a hill my foot slides to the front of my shoe or boot and presses my toes into the toe of my shoes. It isn’t long before I end up with blisters or causing a toe nail to fall off from the pressure. I typically wear a size 13, but buy 14s to allow a little wiggle room for my AFO’s. I have considered trying a 15 to allow for extra space in the toe area. Only problem is that with the skinny feet I’ve got from muscle atrophy I don’t know if I will be able to lace that big of a shoe//boot up to me to keep my foot in it!

      Has any of you other AFO’s wearers experienced this problem? Any ideas on how I can keep this from happening?

    • Anonymous
      July 21, 2006 at 4:04 pm

      While I was in my walking stage before I went backward s I found it difficult in many ways. Going down was somewhat OK but when it came time to go up a hill I couldn’t do it. I could only do stairs. Regarding shoes This is the hardest I have gone to many a shoe store and tried to find a shoe but most took one look at me and told me they could not help me and to go somewhere else the only place I could go is to athletic places. I still think it sucks as right now it is really hot and I have to wear medical stockings and 2 AFO’s and running shoes. I can’t wear sandles or anything. I guess that is wise as I have no feeling to my feet and no motor control and it would be dangerous. But it sure is hot for the upper part of my legs. There should be some line of shoes out there that accomadates AFO’s and makes It more bearable for all of us needing to wear AFO’s.


    • Anonymous
      July 21, 2006 at 4:26 pm

      Hi Heath,

      Without a doubt in my mind, if I had your dexterity, range, strength and overall endurence, I’d be slam dunkin basketballs in the NBA right now. 🙂 Comparitivly speaking that is. I can’t do a 1/2 squat without collapsing, and I have been bringing up for years, everytime you bring up your AFO issues, why are you still wearing them? Maybe I forgot something in your phisical capabilities, but for another example, just the weight of that hunting jacket I’ve seen you in, out in the woods, would stop many of my functions and endurence. I have just as much, if not more, foot drop too. My heelcord operation only gave me back range, it didn’t cure or fix the foot drop. I see, and I’ve seen in the past, more leaning towards dependence than need. I just hate to see anyone still stuck in those, used intermittently, can walk with or without them really, but think this is a life sentence. How about putting them away, to cure all those feet problems and expences for shoes and overall pain in the rear? Worked for me 4 years ago. I found I no longer had the need, when everyone else said I needed them to depend on, for walking. For life. You’re doing nothing wrong Heath, and I’m sure the reason is certain, but you and your recovery confuse the heck out of me in this area. It’s like when a person says I have a 1000 to 1 chance of getting out of them, then saying you have a 2 to 1 chance. Yet I do, and you don’t. I’m frustrated for you, not me, so don’t take this wrong. Anyway, get comfortable and why usually those feet problems occur, is movement inside which has to be cusioned and tightened up. You have been Heath, one of my ‘waiting list’ people for years now. I keep waiting to hear how people got over and done with assistive devices. Don’t worry, I’ll wait you out if I have to.:D

    • Anonymous
      July 22, 2006 at 5:56 pm

      Hi Heath,

      Hope some suggestions at least come. Consider this one. Have them rebuilt, or more then likely, time for a new pair. A re-fitting. Age, plus wear and tear, takes its toll on everything. Bet you can get a script for a new pair based on that and reloaded insurance from your GP. Start over with a better fitting overall pair.

    • Anonymous
      July 23, 2006 at 5:51 pm

      heath, take marks’ advice and go without, man! get yourself a pair of those cool camo high tops and get on with the hunt!!!! go to a respected athletic shoe store and tell them what you have, what you need, where you need support and let them work their magic. i did and i love my shoes and i’m mad at myself for putting it off for sooo long. they did right by me and i’m sure they can do it right for you. i almost want to go back and get a pair of high tops for those unstable days.

      another thought, if you don’t feel comfy going downhill, put one of your daughters’ socks in the toes of your shoes, they will help cushion your toes. or go down hill side ways, not toes first.

      take care, and enjoy your next hunting trip!:)

    • Anonymous
      July 25, 2006 at 1:02 am

      Thanks, guys. Unfortunately because of my existing foot drop I still have to wear the infernal devices. I go back in for my yearly check up next month with my GP and will request a consult with the folks at the VA who make the AFO’s. Hopefully someone there can come up with a good idea that will help me out.

      I’ve tried getting around with out my AFO’s but I always end up catching an edge on my shoes and end up with a twisted ankle. Going with out my AFO’s on a rocky stream bed while fishing would end badly for me. I hate having to wear my AFO’s but at the same time I love them because they empower me to do more and be independent. I don’t mean to complain about them as I know there are folks bound to a chair that would be tickled to have my problems and to be walking. I just want to be able to make the most out of my limitations, you know?

    • Anonymous
      July 25, 2006 at 8:23 am


      You mean, because they empower me to do more and be independent, I have become dependent on them, and choose to wear them on that basis. Knowing there is no need, other then stopping and wreacking a day in the woods by preventing a possable sprained ankle. I choose to wear them, and not get my feet and ankle muscles improved to prevent spraining anything, to not give up a day or so with possable injury, to not slow down the pace everybody else is on, and work through these issues, for life. You know, I too, caught my feet on things, stumbled, fell and so on, but in the beginning. Hasn’t happened in years now, because I strengthened the muscles just enough to prevent it, that the AFO’s prevented me from doing. Foot drop is the excuse, not the reason most use for not trying. Want to improve limitations? Then quit putting limitations on oneself. Then again, your GP and VA will enable you, and give you that confidence boost that you’ll continue to need them. Which is what you’re really after. The bottom line is, AFO’s allow me to keep up with my buddies, and makes me as normal as them, and going without will only slow me down and make me look like I don’t belong. I bet most of the time done walking without them, is in the privacy of the home away from everybody. Try finding out why you twist an ankle, then slow down, or take precaustions the next time, to prevent it. With or without AFO’s, it was where you stepped, and how, that caused it. That just shows me where the weakness is at, and what needs attention for awhile while walking. With AFO’s, it will never become a strength. It’s all pure choice and footdrop has nothing to do with it. Sorry Heath, no soup for you for a year.

    • Anonymous
      July 25, 2006 at 10:02 am

      Did I hit a tender subject? It’s ok, I know you mean well.

      As for not wearing my AFO’s… you’re right, I do go aorund the house with out wearing them. I am just not ready (physically) to go with out wearing them on the steep banks and hills I see when I am out hunting or fishing, yet. Just as I would need to work my way up to running the LA marathon I need to work my way up to climbing the steep banks and going over rocks with out my AFO’s.

      Right now I don’t have any return in my toes or ankles at all, which is why I will twist my ankles so easily. I have even tried ankle braces to keep from twisting my ankles when I go with out my AFO’s. On flat ground I am fine, but again when I get to hills and rocks I end up crawling back to my truck with a goofed up ankle.

      I hunt and fish in some pretty remote areas where there is zero cell phone service and a healthy population of bears and mountain lions. Taking a bad fall on some of those hills could very possibly end badly.

      I am not looking for a cup of soup. I really was hoping for an idea to help prevent my feet and does from getting torn up so badly while I am doing what I love.

    • Anonymous
      July 25, 2006 at 10:58 am

      Hi again,

      I’m not the person still wearing an assistive device, and I don’t mean well, I just know what I know. Doesn’t matter what the toes, feet, ankles or anything else are doing or feeling, it’s about giving your body a phisical chance to do one of two things. Heal and get stronger through consistent use, or adapt and relearn a new normal through consistent use. Assistive devises stop at certain points, helping the body in both those areas. Why they call them assistive. To do the work the body can’t do at points along the way. Starting out of the gate with them, are very useful in providing function. What I know, that you don’t is, devices take function away from the body after time in the GBS area. The body just gives in and says you do the work. That’s what happens when going from need to dependency. Why, in my opinion, it must be tested and recognized as early as possable for the body to have a phisical chance. What happens when you take a stay the coarse position. You didn’t pick the rock outside your door to focus on, you choose the slippery rock in the river. What did it take in risk to get that far? Must be a smooth paved road right into the river I guess. I just don’t want to see anybody trade their body for a device, when it doesn’t have to be that way. Find an excuse why you can, instead of can’t. Worked for me, and my feet although still numb, have hammer toes, sever muscle loss an atrophy, footdrop and a few assorted other issues, I can go uphill, downhill, over different terrains, stairs, but I still walk around bigger then avarage rocks, because that’s still my weak point. I know exactly how much of a flat surface my feet need for a 6 or better landing from the judges. My feet have been feeling great, with no problems, for almost 4 years now. I just made a different choice. I choose to give up things that could wait, to get function, and that in my opinion will last longer and be more benificial. Giving up body function, trading it for assistive device function, is the real choice people are making no matter how anyone wants to dress it up. No right or wrong. Just can’t say you never new now, when someone does tell you years from now, if only you would have done this back then. It’s too late now.

    • Anonymous
      July 26, 2006 at 6:53 am


      I’m going to have to go along with racer 13 on this. He talks good sense. I went through the same problems you guys are talking about in the late 80’s/early 90’s. The AFO’s I was fitted with had to be fastened onto the outside sole of the shoe just ahead of the heel. They had two aluminum bars that came up to almost my knees and fastened to a leather covered steel strap that was held in place with Velcro. Talk about uncomfortable! Sounds like the type you wear are not much better. Those devises did the job and helped my drop foot and very weak ankles, but kept them that way until I decided to stop using them. I [U]carefully[/U] started wearing my good ole high top boots and started building up the strength in my feet and ankles. I still have the same problems that racer13 has too, i.e. numbness, foot drop, toes that do not move and weak ankles, but not near the problems that I would have had I stay with those AFO’s. I’ve now progressed to low top shoes too and don’t care how I look when I walk either because I can do it without those AFO’s!

      Also, I found that I have more trouble when I try to wear boots or shoes to big. Bought a new pair of boots this spring that were too big and ended up with a very bad sprained ankle due to too much slippage inside. Good Luck.


    • Anonymous
      July 26, 2006 at 7:57 am

      Hi Jim,

      You get it. Each person has to do what they need in their own lives, to get through all this. All choice. For those of us who would pay dearly for function people think they don’t have, to see a person not complete the deal, that is capeable of doing so, is a waste in my opinion. Just stop right here and call it good, when perfectectly capeable of going all the way to complete function without assistence. I just don’t understand that kind of thinking. Doesn’t make it wrong. Same with some that get so fat that they loose function, which I can’t see food over ruling, but it does. Some of us know just how valuable full function is, that will never be obtained by some, and others settle for something close and give up completing it. A choice which GBS shouldn’t be blamed for.

    • Anonymous
      July 27, 2006 at 12:32 am

      Heath, how about starting to get out of your afos by using air casts when you go hunting/fishing? they will give your ankles the support you need on the rugged terrain and you can take them off as soon as you are back to your vehicle. they won’t do anything for the foot drop, but you will be more comfortable in them while going up and down hills. you don’t need them all the time, which would help with what marc suggests, using your ankles and getting them stronger. no need for over sized footwear and no slippage or toe problems. just a thought. i know what you are saying and feeling, i only wish i could go out in the river and go fishin with ya!!!!:)