Charlie’s AFO Process

Following Monday’s post, I have received various questions concerning Charlie’s AFOs (ankle foot orthotics). In this post, I’m going to address those questions by recounting Charlie’s process of obtaining her AFOs.

walking on knees

Charlie walking on her knees.

Charlie’s Early Intervention therapist first suggested AFOs for Charlie. She had been trying to stand for a few months and failing. In addition, she started compensating by walking on her knees, leaning heavily on a toddler chair as a walker, or hanging on the side of her play pen.

Upon receiving the suggestion, I made an appointment with Charlie’s developmental pediatrician. In the meantime, I sought opinions on the matter from her other health care providers during our regularly scheduled visits. Ultimately, everyone agreed that she would benefit from AFOs.

Charlie’s developmental pediatrician examined her and discussed the etiology of the concerns. He wrote the prescription and directed us to the prosthetics and orthotics department.

The AFOs will be made around a mold of Charlie’s ankles and feet. Casts of her legs were formed from which the mold will be made. Her legs were wrapped in strips of wet fabric that hardened to produce a cast. The cast was cut  and carefully removed. The entire process took about twenty minutes.

Charlie had the option to choose the ribbon pattern, the colors of her straps, and the padding color (available choices here). Despite my efforts to influence her choice (I wanted colors that would match her clothes), she chose the “batter up” pattern. It was important to me that she had some say in the matter. After all, they are HER orthotics.

With the exception of strap color and design, Charlie’s AFOs will be very similar to the image on the left. She can begin learning to walk when they arrive in three to four weeks.


About Rebecca Wood

In May 2012, my pregnancy ended three and a half months early due to severe early onset preeclampsia. This is my collection of thoughts and media. It is an attempt to document and discuss our experience of navigating the post NICU world. View all posts by Rebecca Wood

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