davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)

Left house for lunch at 2:30, home at 7pm.

Lunch first (see previous post) then I drove over to Wickes to price up some replacement roofing felt for my shed (the existing stuff half ripped off in one of the spring storms), plus loft boarding, passing an accident which had just happened on the way (one car had t-boned another - no injuries, but sitting in the middle of the main road). Passed by a police traffic car with sirens blazing as I parked at Wickes - 'I know where you're going!' Their felt was 50% more than at Homebase for the identical brand, similarly for the loft board (I'd checked there earlier in the week), so back up to Homebase, queueing to pass the accident again, now with police in attendance. Get the felt, drive back past the accident again. Drop off the felt, head up to Asda, getting to the accident just as the recovery vehicle arrives, waved past by the police for the third time in an hour. Do my shopping, head back, and at least this time the accident's been cleared and I'm not waved past by the police, who must have thought I was taking the piss.

Dump the shopping and immediately head out for my daily waddle, because once I sat down I wasn't moving again.

Got a hundred metres, turned around and came home again. Changed into ankle braces (AFOs), headed out once more. I was fairly certain too much time on my feet was provoking the intermittent drop foot issues I've been having, but today was all chair, and  the foot drop was the worst I've seen. My left foot was catching literally every step, my right about half that. Definitely time to talk to my GP about actually getting this looked at and AFOs officially prescribed and properly fitted (as opposed to bought from Amazon), but also important to know it seems to be fatigue-linked, not activity-linked, which makes it much harder to avoid. Passed one of the regular dog-walkers while on the second attempt: "You're definitely walking faster!" he says. Didn't have the heart to explain why.

So tiring, but useful.

davidgillon: A foot, mine, in a camwalker brace (Boot)
[personal profile] shehasathree posting about that tape/brace thingummy reminded me I'd been meaning to mention my new boots as there are one or two people here who may find something like them applicable.

Ever since I trashed my ankle again last year (see boot icon!) I've been meaning to get myself a pair of boots with some serious ankle support. Even at the best of times my left ankle flops sideways when I walk, while after two serious sprains in the past decade my right ankle aches pretty much constantly and minor sprains and subluxes are a weekly occurrence - welcome to life as a bendie! (OTOH I don't even get a full sublux, never mind a dislocation, so I'm comparatively lucky) I've been wearing hiking shoes/cross trainers for years, which suits my need for a supportive shoe, but they are very much a shoe, rather than anything that supports my ankles. I've used AFOs when I know I'm going to be on my feet a lot, but that's overkill most of the time and I wanted something between the two extremes. I hadn't come across anything to suit, but after a fortuitous websearch over Black Friday ('I wonder if anyone has any good offers?') I've ended up owning a pair of Kunzli Black Pro Plus boots (actually the older model shown slightly greyed out on that page).

They're actually designed for people with acute ankle injuries as an alternative to a cast or a walker boot, but the company website claims they're also suitable for chronic injuries, and I seem to have ended up with exactly what I've been looking for. The pair I've got are a little bit 'orthopaedic' looking from some angles - it varies between models, some are more obvious than others, but it's not as if I'm going to be out without either chair or crutches, so who am I fooling? The lateral support they give is precisely what I need - the heavily padded ankle has two built-in plastic support bars in an A-shape on either side. The A-bars make it almost impossible to roll your ankle sideways, while they're so heavily padded you can't actually feel the bars directly, it just feels like the entire shoe is supporting your ankle. Pointing your toe isn't as restricted, but the sole is near rigid, with a rocker shape to compensate.

The major caveat here is price, they're a handmade Swiss design that retails for around  £230 normally (eep!), and I was lucky enough to find a pair on ebay for £60 (£75 when I first looked, which I ummed over, but the price had dropped when I checked back). I certainly wouldn't have risked buying them at full-price without trying them, and I'm not sure I could have persuaded myself to spend that much, but for the price I paid I definitely ended up with a bargain. There's a minor caveat on fit, the pair on ebay were a UK 9, my feet are 8 and 8.5, so I was pretty confident I'd be able to fit in them, but there's not a lot to spare on the left foot. I think that's mostly down to me, my feet are very high-arched and my big toes tend to push up as I walk (I must be one of the few people who regularly wears out the top of shoes not the bottom!) which likely means I'm a bit more sensitive to how much space there is at the toe than most people are, but there's a chance their sizing may be slightly on the small side.

(And a very minor caveat that they're quite a narrow sole, almost a centimetre narrower than my normal shoes and I half feel like I would be falling off them sideways but for the A-bars - but then my normal shoe is a hiking shoe and almost anything is going to be narrower by comparison! I think this is probably just a case of getting used to them)

Realistically that ebay find was a fluke and you're not going to find something like this in a high street shoe shop, but if your ankles have reached the point where you need some serious support and you don't want to progress to AFOs, then something like this may well be worth looking into - the applicable term seems to be 'stability boot', though using it as a search term seems to pick up the walker-boots as well.

davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Bugger, Athenian cobbles seem to have sensitized my back to Rochester cobbles. Just my normal Saturday trip into town for lunch (unfortunately I was the only one out today) had me gasping in pain. I'm actually at pre-Butrans levels of pain - even though I've have the new Butrans patch on for the last 24 hours - for the first time in ages and I'm not enjoying the reminder. I rolled down into town from where I parked, but that was probably a bad idea as I then had to sit through my meal feeling distinctly off - it's a bad sign when you're gasping sitting still. Coming back I just couldn't face pushing uphill on the cobbles*, so got out and waddled with the chair as a walker, the only bit I pushed for was the roughly level/marginally downhill tarmac path through the Vines (small park).

I had a look at Google Earth last night and my two trips into Athens city centre were both roughly 2.5 miles or so (I was going to say 2 miles, then realised I was still working in Nautical Miles!), that makes them comfortably the longest distance I've ever pushed in one go. I might have expected a little reaction to that anyway, but the fact it's lumbar spine and hips rather than shoulders and arms says it's the surface was the problem, not the distance.

I was planning a trip up to Durham, with the end of this coming week as a possible travel date, but I think I need to avoid pushing things so I'll push that off until later in the month, there's no sense going up to see Dad if I'm not physically well enough to get to the nursing home from the house. (I had assumed there was a fair likelihood this would be the situation, so there shouldn't be any issues with the rest of the family expecting me to hold to a specific date - in fact they were likely convinced there was no hope I would make the earlier date).

I had an interesting observation in an email from one of the friends I was on holiday with, saying he felt I was noticably more awkward in moving about than in previous years. He hasn't seen me in a couple of years, so it might just be lack of a recent reminder, or it might be a consequence of using the sticks and AFOs versus crutches, or he might be seeing something I'm missing through familiarity and not seeing gradual change. I've prodded for a more detailed explanation.

* Actually the bits I was going over are primarily bricked road and paving, rather than true cobbles, so nowhere near as bad as the sharpened cobbles of Ermou.
davidgillon: A foot, mine, in a camwalker brace (Boot)
With the weather so hot today I inevitably opted for shorts when I went out into town, but that meant showing off my latest disability-related accessorizing.

I think I've mentioned that the ankle I trashed this time last year has been aching for the last few weeks, well this week it's really been throbbing constantly, the ankle joint in particular and all up and down the outside of my shin, as though the muscles there are out of balance (and bear in mind I'm already on opiates, so if I can feel it all of the time then it's really not happy). I don't remember doing anything to it, so last year's incident is the obvious smoking gun, and it isn't the first time I've trashed that ankle, which is part and parcel of being hypermobile. The only thing that seems to work for keeping the pain down is keeping it fixed at 90 degrees, which means splinting it. I really don't want to go back to wearing the boot (see icon) - the leg-length issue from it's three inch thick rocker sole is a literal pain in the backside, I do have a night splint, but that's not meant for walking in, which leaves me with my AFO (ankle foot orthosis). That's a plastic brace with a footplate that fits in your shoe, and which then runs up the back of your leg to a cuff just below your knee, there's a lighter strap at the ankle to hold that in. Wearing it really needs a long sock on, so I'm having to wear knee socks for the first time since I was six. And if I'm wearing one AFO then I may as well wear the other, because if I do end up spending a few days in Athens then using the AFOs is probably my best bet if I end up needing to walk any distance without my crutches and I might as well get used to it and identify any problems now (while hopefully avoiding making myself dependent on them - being bendy is a balancing act between too little bracing and too much). I got them to use on days when I was on my feet for a long time, as I tend to get an increasing amount of footdrop as time goes on, but it's one of those issues that's impossible to demonstrate to a GP, and rare enough it's simpler just to sort out your own solution. Only now wearing shorts means all the hardware is on display - I've worn the AFOs before, but always with long trousers covering them.  It's hardly the first time I've worn a visible brace - I wore a hard collar 24/7 for about a decade in the late 80s and 90s, but I guess even when you visibly use mobility aids all of the time you still need to adjust to changes in your bodily image.

Tomorrow should be interesting for imposter syndrome, one of the friends I have lunch with wears a full-length calliper due to polio. She'll probably be fine with it, it's me I'm not so sure of....
davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
Fun day yesterday being fed and entertained with fannish conversation chez [personal profile] kaberett, first time I've been introduced to anyone as 'And this is @WTBDavidG' :) Good to put face to screen-name for a bunch of dreamwidthy folks.

Spent all 5 and a half hours sitting in [personal profile] kaberett's wheelchair, long enough to be able to say 'no, this isn't quite set up right for me' - I suspect I'm maybe an couple of centimetres longer in the leg, so the footplate is slightly too high - 'but it's still the closest seat to comfortable I've found in 20 years'. Chances of me holding an upright posture in any other chair for that length of time are just about zero. So definitely worth pursuing.

Continued experimenting with wearing AFOs (ankle braces) if I'm going to be on my feet a long time (or even just potentially), bendy ankles definitely appreciate the extra support, though it slows me down enough that getting onto escalators in the Tube is now somewhat marginal. Of course the idea is to switch to a 'chair for that kind of thing anyway, so lifts will become mostly mandatory.

Four words to strike fear into the heart of any rail traveller: 'Rail replacement bus service' - fortunately only between Chatham and Rochester, which is just about 5 minutes, and not a problem on the way to London, but coming back, when I was backache-y and really not wanting to be on my feet, let's just say it's a good thing they aren't trying to run in a brewery. Unfortunately didn't manage to get any reading done on the train because, running late to get out the house, I picked up the uncharged Kindle rather than the Kindle Fire I'd purposefully charged overnight *headdesk*

Because I wasn't watching my posture when I got home, I managed to turn a niggly backache I picked up on the train into one that's lasted nearly 24 hours now, which should hopefully drive home the posture message, fortunately I managed to find my electric heat pad (best Christmas present ever!) before it got out of control.

Backache plus that pleasantly stuffed feeling that comes from having been very well fed mean it's been a sluggish sort of day, mostly spent flat on my back in bed, but a pleasant one nonetheless.


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
David Gillon

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