Poliomyelitis is a preventable infectious disease. Years after recovery from polio, post-polio syndrome can occur. This is what has happened to a client who came to Happy Feet Pedorthics. He shared some of his story as we completed the assessment and fitting of new shoes and finalized the modifications. The man:
- Contracted polio when he was 15 months of age
- As a child the doctors told his mother to never expect him to be out of a wheel chair
- As a child he spent 2 ½ years in hospital – sleeping in an A Frame at night, until one day his mother “kidnapped” him and took him home – he remembers his mother massaging his legs with some orange stuff 3 times a day
- Had custom made shoes for about 10 to 15 years
- After this he had shoes off the shelf which were modified by inserting a ferrule to use calipers – in the very old days called leg irons – on the outside of his shoes
- At primary school he had a longer caliper on the right and a shorter one on the left leg
- At high school he only had a caliper on the right
- For most of his life he has walked with the aid of 2 sticks except when he “lost” them to the waves when he was in his later high school years
- As he started work he walked without the aid of calipers or sticks
- For the last 30 years and being 69 now, he has been using a KAFO – knee ankle foot orthoses – as the pain to the right knee had become too great and there is increasing muscle wasting and weakening.
- Being an active and thorough renovator he is aware of time – time to have the strength to prepare his home for the future needs of his wife and daughter who are wheelchair bound due to a condition called CMT – Charcot Marie Tooth.
So now for the shoes and the modifications. At Happy Feet Pedorthics we fitted the man with a Drew Walker style extra width and depth shoe which accommodates his KAFO on the right and the slimmer foot on the left. A split fit was not required.
With the modifications a negative heel was required on the left shoe with thinning of the sole right through to the toes, and for the right a leg length difference build-up of 25 mm was required and upon review prior to bonding the sole, we established that a heel raise of 10 mm was also required on the right.
The current footwear was of limited help as to the modifications as they were so old that a shoe was worn on the right and a sandal on the left. So in reality estimations were made by using heel raises internally and then applied the same externally. The client’s goal was to be able to walk at home at times without his sticks, the left knee had to be able to lock back as he walked and the right knee had to be able to lock in with the KAFO. Having achieved this, the client was very happy with the service provided by Happy Feet Pedorthics.
Clare Nelson CP CM AU