Friday, January 7, 2011

Good Grief

As many of you know, I wear leg braces due to having CMT. I generally wear the type of brace you see on the left in the above picture. It's lightweight, simple, and correctly positions and supports my feet and ankles. It's design is elegant and efficient, and on my good days I can use them without even needing a cane.

But there was a time when it looked like the CMT was going to cause my knees to not be able to work without support as well. At that point they designed the brace you see on the right for me. It is made of a titanium alloy and is extremely strong and light. But it is also very awkward, and has a tendency to lock up at the most inopportune times. It takes practice and skill to use it. It's like the difference between an automatic transmission and a stick. Since I'm lousy with things that take practice and skill, I didn't look forward to transitioning to those metal monsters.

But my legs actually improved slightly, and it turned out I didn't need the larger braces. So they were relegated to the closet, and I went on with the braces to the left. Then yesterday I had the small brace for my right foot come apart on me. (Naturally, it happens when I'm putting my daughter on the bus) So it was with some relief that I realized that at least I had a backup and fished the old brace out of the closet.

The problem is that now I'm sort of like a rowboat with one oar in the water. The braces operate very differently from each other and it's going to be hard to adapt to that. Apparently I'll just have to be patient and occasionally settle for suddenly tottering in circles when the right one locks up. So if you see some crazy man pivoting in place in a parking lot somewhere, waving his arms wildly for balance, and cussing at his leg...just ignore me and walk on by.

On the bright side, my campaign of early to bed and early to rise is beginning to bear fruit. It's still going to take work to make it a natural schedule, but I'm starting not to feel so drug out all morning.

So Happy Friday, Folks! Get those weekend plans formulated!


  1. Phew! What a mess. At least you have he brace, but still, looks like a lot of work to me :)

    Any chance of getting the broken one repaired pretty quickly? I have ones like yours on the left, and I hear that they can break easily when the plastic gets brittle.

    I find it incredible how much work it is to teach new muscle memory- getting the braces to be useful instead of more work :). Hope your bigger brace quits locking up on you! Good luck!

  2. I think age might be the problem. Mine are about five years old.

    And you're exactly right on the muscle memory thing too. This is awkward! I shouldn't have to think about taking a step.

  3. Hi Big Guy! Just askin'--ever thought about putting the left "full" brace on to see if it would help with the balance? (since you're already wearing the right one for now...:))

    Glad to hear you've got the 'early to bed, early to rise' thingy down! LOL LOL.

  4. Trust me, one of these things is bad enough. I would have to literally relearn how to do everything with both on, and even then I'm more limited.

    I'm gonna try to see what it will take to get my AFO (light brace) repaired as fast as possible. Then I need to start the long process of getting new ones.

    Now watch me mess up my sleep schedule this weekend ;)