I just got my new orthotic for my right leg. This is the stance control technology I talked about in previous posts. It took six months from the time of my first appointment, but I finally have it. I haven’t talked enough my walking on here so this is a great opportunity.
One thing you may not appreciate is how easily your lower limbs carry you over ground. You don’t think about it. The pattern for the movement is stored (mostly) in your spine. A complex network allows for the necessary adjustments and the smooth gait. Don’t take this skill for granted. After my spinal cord injury, I have to plan each step. I actually have difficulty walking and talking — it feels like multi-tasking. It takes so much work to get and stay vertical. I have a lot of practice left before it starts feeling smooth and second nature. Or it never will again. How weird, to think I may have lost that ability even if I regain all the necessary muscle connection.
I started walking six months after my injury and have progressed from parallel bars to pink crutches. I’ve been walking with one ankle brace (left AFO) and one brace that goes from my thigh to my ankle (right KAFO). My right leg has been locked straight, creating weird compensations.
Here is a video of me walking in a nice park a couple of weeks ago:
I’ve wanted a stance-control brace, which allows for my right knee to bend when I step forward and locks my knee straight when I weigh it. One of the reasons is to strengthen my right quad. I’m hoping that walking with a brace that I have to use my quad to straighten will provide additional key stimulation to that lagging muscle. I’m hoping to break through my plateau using this as well as a couple of other new tools and approaches. We will see.
Here’s a video of my first walk with my new brace comparing my gait to the old (white) AFO. I’m going to need some PT help to start correcting my gait after walking with a locked knee for so long.