WalkAide: pros and cons
July 4, 2014
The WalkAide works well for me when I put it in just the right spot on my leg. But that’s not as easy as it sounds.
When I got the device for this test-drive, Todd was ever so helpful in showing me how it worked and how to wear it. He made some marks on my leg with a “permanent” Sharpie marker so I would know exactly where to put the WalkAide. But the marks on my leg wore off easily, and I have found that it is difficult to remember what its proper placement is.
Bess, a physical therapist, helped me re-mark my leg a few days ago, but between daily showers and lotion applications, twice-weekly aquatic exercise class and “glowing” in the deep South summer heat, the marks on my leg seem to fade away as soon as I look in the other direction. (Well, almost.)
If I don’t put the WalkAide on my leg in just the right place, it will stimulate a nerve other than the peroneal (and move the front part of my foot to the side instead of upward) or it will fail to stimulate any nerve at all. At a result, I have spent a lot of time just getting the device in the right place.
For those of you out there in cyberspace who have MS, you know that this problem can be especially frustrating, especially if your eyesight or your hands aren’t cooperating on a particular day.
BYE BYE BRACE, HELLO SANDALS
One of the best things about the WalkAide is that I don’t have to wear a brace anymore. Wearing a brace has a lot of downsides. In an earlier post, I mentioned that the braces I wore have weakened my ankle and reduced its range of motion.
Then there are the even more important, fashion-related concerns. For one thing, braces look best when camouflaged by clothing, such as pants or jeans. Put another way, a white plastic knee-ankle brace with a visible hinge and wide velcro fasteners is not the most stylin’ accessory with a short skirt or a pair of shorts. That’s why my closet is full of boot leg jeans and pants. If the WalkAide works for me and I purchase it, I will take a lot of those pants and jeans to consignment shops and replace them with skirts and shorts.
A brace limits one’s choice of shoes. Most of the time I wore New Balance shoes with my brace. Other footwear options include fancier shoes you can purchase in places that fit orthotics and braces. But let’s face it, these shoes and boots are not featured in fashion magazines. They are not attractive at all. And they are expensive. I have experienced problems with fit and comfort with these shoes. I found that they were difficult to put on over the brace, were uncomfortable to wear, and made walking even more difficult.
I probably have four or five pair of these kinds of shoes in a variety of colors and styles collecting dust in my closet. I haven’t exactly worn down the heels or scuffed the toes. Yee-haw, I can wear sandals and cowboy boots again!