Monday, December 10, 2018

June 2014 Throwback

The newest video on my YouTube channel is by request.  It’s actually one of my oldest walking videos.  It was taken in June 2014, and shows the original KAFOs I used.  They were molded from heavy plastic with metal drop locks on the knees.  The knee joints dropped into a locked position when they were pulled straight.  There was a large metal loop on the back of each knee to activate the locks. 
This video shows the complete “Up and About” system.  It has a bracket between the tops of the legs, helping with reciprocal gait without allowing too much swing.  The thick belt (which I did not end up using) is for better hip and lower-back control.  The Up and About bracket and belt just attach to the tops of the KAFOs.  In my case, that worked great: we took off the belt and then the bracket, and even removed the metal loops so that the knees would no longer lock.  KAFOs usually have knee locks of some kind, but do not always have the bracket or hip belt; that’s specifically the Up and About.  
Note: If you’re considering KAFOs but have not been on your feet in a while, please be careful to work slowly at first.  Standing after sitting a long time is wonderful for your health and (I think) absolutely worth it, even for short periods.  But it can be dangerous if you aren’t paying attention: e.g., blood pressure changes, possible falls, or osteoporosis  (poor bone density, induced by spinal cord injury, can lead to broken bones).  I support walking when you can, and am happy to talk with anyone interested in using KAFOs or leg braces.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

New Therapy Techniques

This article on teenager Connor Walker's recovery mentions some interesting new techniques: use of a bionic exoskeleton, low-oxygen therapy, virtual reality, and reaction to music.  The combination looks pretty unique, and may be very promising. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Video Update and Thank You to Biofit

A video update.  I’m holding my own on the rowing machine now, literally: keeping my legs where I want them and using them to help push backward.  This is a work in progress, but when I began working on a stationary rowing machine, I had to have help steadying my knees and ankles.  Certainly an improvement!

Also, since this is a time that is meant to be dedicated to giving thanks, today I’d like to express particular thanks for the wonderful physical therapists at Biofit.  It isn’t easy to find therapy, much less years after an injury that is thought to be so permanent.  But from the time I walked into Biofit, the therapists and personal trainers there have been up to the challenge of pushing for more.  I’ve been extremely grateful for their skill, experience, creativity, and positivity.  Thank you to Justin, Shannon, Kim, and everyone else who has been part of my ongoing recovery!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Video Update, October 2018

The video I’m posting today shows an interesting difference of “mind over muscle.”  One focus I have right now is dropping to AFO braces only, which means activating knee muscles that have not been strong enough to move out of KAFOs.  In the first half of the video, you can see that I'm working more on distance and movement.  In the second half, there is more concentration on a very specific motion: pushing forward and keeping my left leg in a straighter step pattern, even if it takes more time and effort. 
We don’t usually think about slight differences like this, but I thought this video demonstrates how much they actually matter.  Typically, it's not this easy to see a small change of focus playing out.