My regular readers will know a lot about our current health journey regarding our daughter and youngest twin, Little Red. You can read about it by clicking here. In a nutshell, she was thought to have Cerebral Palsy affecting her left side. This would have explained the spasticity in her left leg/foot and thumb. However, as her development continued, it became apparent that her right foot and leg appeared really stiff. Her right foot was very much on an awkward looking angle and also rolled inward, meaning her arch needed urgent support. Due to her age, both actual and corrected, it was decided that gentler child orthotics be used. We’re hoping this will help her foot and subsequently her gait. Bigger splints that will go up her legs may be introduced at some point depending on progress.
I thought this could be an informative post for those parents who are doing personal research and also to update everyone on how she’s going.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a Physiotherapist or Occupational Therapist. I have no qualifications in medicine or allied health. This post is not supposed to be taken as any sort of medical/health advice, it is merely sharing a personal experience with child orthotics.
THE CHILD ORTHOTICS
As you can see, they look like an internal cushioned sole of a shoe. They have a rigid plastic around the heal and built in arch support. I was told that these can be used even if the feet grow so that the toes are over the length of the orthotics, as long as the heal and arch are correctly placed. For those that are interested, these cost us AU$90.
Spasticity aside, even though it’s just the right foot having issues, Little Red wears one in each shoe. This is so the left foot doesn’t start over-compensating or having issues because of an orthotic.
THE OLD SHOES
Initially these helped but not for very long. The leather softened quite quickly and so Little Red’s right foot simply carried on rolling inward. She did not have the right level of support even with the orthotics so the correct shoes are really important. We had to find a better alternative so off to the shops we went!
THE NEW SHOES
I got these trainers (or sneakers for my US/Canadian friends) because they were:
1. In her size;
2. Had Velcro straps and were relatively easy to get on;
3. I could remove the current internal sole (it was glued but I knew I would be able to get it out with some pulling) so that there would be room for the orthotics, and;
4. Hard at the heal and down the sides, but soft enough to not cause me too much concern that they would rub her raw.
They feel very sturdy compared to the other shoes. I also think because they fully encase the foot she will have more support from this and they will soften less.
BALANCE & CONFIDENCE
Little Red was a bit like Bambi when I first put them on her! She wobbled a bit on unsteady legs and took a few quick steps. Then I got her to do some stomping where she laughed and seemed to grow more confident in the them.
I hope you can see from the above photograph that even on the first wear of these new shoes, Little Red was much more confident with her stride, especially on the grass. Normally she is slow, hesitant and off her balance but she actually navigated the uneven surface and odd dip really well.
Hopefully these might help correct the foot roll and gait. We don’t really know why the leg and foot are the way they are, so, like everything else on this never-ending health journey, we’re keeping an open mind.
If you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment here or on my Facebook page. I’m always happy to help or share our personal experience.