I’m 34 years old and have Chiari Malformation, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and Pseudotumor Cerebri. I have always been a clumsy kid, but starting in my 30’s I noticed it getting worse. I would frequently trip over my feet and my balance was off. After struggling to get a diagnosis, I had my first of nine brain surgeries in 2018. I’m unsure of exactly when the foot drop developed, but we noticed it between brain surgery three and four. We tried PT and stretching first, but I kept tripping over my feet and my orthopedist recommended AFOs to me. My foot drop was affecting my ability to walk as I had changed my gait to keep from falling/tripping causing pain in my hips and back.
When I went to get fitted for my AFOs, I had them in less than a week! I got the ToeOFF® AFO for just my left foot at first as it was the foot that had a severe foot drop. Four months later, my doctors and I noticed that my right foot was dropping a lot as well so I was fitted for a right ToeOFF® AFO.
And that’s when the miracle happened. At first, they were uncomfortable as my feet were not used to being held in a neutral position for very long, but immediately my gait changed. I was tripping less and walking with more confidence (even though I still use Mouse- my crutch). I’m able to climb stairs again WITHOUT having to scoot up or down while sitting because of my tendency to fall down stairs. I am able to independently go to the grocery store again without worrying about falling halfway through. I have more stamina (thanks to PT as well) and when I’m not wearing my AFOs, I feel unsteady and off balance.
“I am so grateful for my AFOs.” – Brittany Gooding