Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Long leg braces

Here is the latest orthopedic toy for Joseph! We've been waiting for these braces for a few months and they've finally arrived.

These braces consist of big, blue, plastic "ski boots" that fit over his shoes (which fit over ankle braces). There are metal bars running up the sides to a leather pelvic band, which is under his shirt in these pictures. There are locks at his knees and hips to keep the joints from moving, although we only lock his knees.

The idea is for Joseph to shift his weight from side to side allowing the brace to swing his leg forward. This type of brace is less automatic than an RGO (which, I believe is what Sarah recently built). The absence of the automatically-reciprocating mechanism makes the whole brace much lighter and less-expensive. It is much better if Joseph has the muscle strength and function to use these.

It looks like he will be able to learn, but it is a slow process. The brace does not provide as much support as he is used to, so a lot of energy is required. He also has a loaner walker now while we wait for his new one to come in. The loaner is pretty old and has four simple wheels instead of automatically braking wheels. This means Joseph falls down pretty easily--no help to his confidence!

He mostly enjoys it, though. We'll see how these fit into his life longterm. Some kids really take to the long braces and use them for daily activities, reserving the wheelchair for longer trips. Some kids like the wheelchair better and use the braces only therapeutically. We'll see what Joseph likes better.

The other person in the picture is Joseph's awesome physical therapist, Shannon.


Beautifully Dunn Photography said...

Wow, very cool. He looks so happy! I noticed you have to rearrange your furniture to make room for all of his giant contraptions. I need to come visit.

Anja from Germany said...

Very impressive photos.
Can you post some photos which show how the long leg braces put on? How long you need to put the braces on?