All of us have different abilities – visible and/or hidden. So what can this mean for some people who come to Happy Feet Pedorthics for appropriate footwear? Footwear provides protection be it to walk in the street or when sitting in a wheelchair or reclining chair. All of us are entitled to the dignity of choice and as a pedorthist I must exercise our duty of care to every person, when making a footwear assessment.
Following are some stories of people coming to Happy Feet Pedorthics who have special needs.
Zak has right hemiplegia, suffers epileptic seizures, is mentally challenged, and is having an increasing number of falls, and is being reviewed regarding the need to wear a protective helmet. Zak wears different length boots, both of the same width, with a leg length difference raise of 3cm to his right boot. Zack needs several pairs of shoes as they require regular repair.
Consequent to a sporting accident Howardis a quadriplegic who drives his own car. As a pedorthist I must respect that Howard does not want to look like he is sharing shoes with his grandfather because Howard believes his clients will not then see him as an equal. And Howard readily has pressure areas resulting in ulcers on his feet, due to his long hours of work.
Mary Jane loves to walk, such that in travelling she has to be restrained in a wheel chair. My response as a pedorthist is for well-fitting shoes, worn well with the foot well back in the shoe and the straps not too loose and not too tight. The goal for Mary Jane is no slips, trips or falls; and to accommodate her toes and not develop corns.
Josie is 40 years of age and her feet are only 17 cm long. Josie needs shoes which give her more support as she walks all the time. Josie does not like having her feet touched and she is telling us this by trying to kick. Josie’s intent is not to hurt. As a pedorthist I need to understand her language.
Hayden is a 45 year old man who was involved in a car accident which resulted in him having an acquired brain injury and spending most of his time in a wheel chair. Hayden wears an ankle foot orthoses on his left leg to give support as he exercises under supervision. His right shoe has a full length raise and his left has a hell raise as well as a conversion to long opening with 3 velcro straps so that his foot and AFO can be accommodated.
Vincent is 37 years old and has cerebral palsy. He wears the same length and width boot on both feet, and he has a 2 cm leg length difference raise to his right boot. To reduce his toe walking we have fitted a sensomotoric orthotic, which utilizes the proprioceptive system of the body. Vincent’s alignment of his body is best when he keeps his shoes in alignment with regularrepair.
Rose, 49, lives independently and has Downs Syndrome. At Happy Feet Pedorthics we have fitted Rose with an extra width and depth sandal for summer and for winter
a split fit long opening velcro closing shoe – 3E width on the longer foot, 5E width on the shorter foot, both with extra room at the arch area.
Benjamin has short wide feet. He does not like attending medical appointments and even if he agrees, he invariably refuses to be examined, have podiatry care or his shoes fitted. At Happy Feet Pedorthics we are able to fit him with prefabricated medical footwear – a 6E fitting with extra depth, which were then modified to have pull back straps to aid Benjamin to independently fasten his shoes more firmly.