View Full Version : Opinions on AFO's/KAFO's
02-22-2003, 01:50 PM
I am being increasingly convinced that a positive first step in getting out of the wheelchair involves leg braces. As one gains the ability to stand, balance, and eventually take steps with braces, slow but study progress can either enhance the function of the braces and perhaps even allow someone through hard work to maybe even "walk" out of the braces. I am seeking advice and real world accounts from those that have taken this route.
I used KAFO's about a year ago. I used them for about 2 months. I am a T-12 complete but I have good hip flexors. Anyway, I could move one leg in front of the other and it looked like I was walking (with a walker). I could even stand up with out holding on to anything. I could do this for about a minute at a time. It was pretty amazing. Long story short, I took a fall when one of my braces came unlocked. After that I didn't feel comfortable and safe while using them. My personal opinion about the KAFO's was that it was a lot of work with minimal benefit. The weight bearing was good but not any better than a standing frame. If your thinking that the repetition may help. I just don't think that you will move your legs enough. If you have the extra time and money then it would be a great addition to your daily workout. I mean it couldn't hurt! But if you don't get to walk with braces I don't think it is the end of the world. Hope that helps,
02-23-2003, 10:20 AM
Agreed with Joshua. Similar experience.
02-23-2003, 11:34 AM
I disagree, I couldn't walk without my AFO's now I don't use a wheelchair outside of the house. It took 3 months of being really frustrated with these "damn braces" but after that they were like I had always had them. I can now carry things and walk whereas without the braces it was just pushing a walker and kinda shuffling along. I think the 3 months was well worth the outcome.
The first AFO's I had were wrong so they didn't help me at all, I went to another ortho guy and he noticed right away that I needed a different type, I now have braces similar to spina bifida injuries. I had 3 sets of braces made in 8 months and am getting fitted for another set next week, as you improve you need to take the equipment up a knotch at the same time.
It is not cheap though a set of braces usually cost around $800.00USD. My next set have a titanium ankle that is spring loaded they are closer to $1500USD.
just my 2 cents worth
My leg braces were $5000.
03-18-2003, 12:29 PM
I just got my new braces with the titanium ankle, graphite bracing. They take alot more energy to use as I have been exhausted the last 2 days.
The total price was $5600.00 CDN so about $3700.00 USD.
It will be another 3 months of "damn braces" before I get used to them again.
03-18-2003, 03:19 PM
I have "walked" about 20 feet unassisted with KAFO's and I use them as a therapy tool regularly with canes. I graduated to AFO's using a walker or parallel bars. This was a few years ago. Now I'm working on leg strengthening so I can use the AFO's more efficiently. I'm in the "yes they are both good" catagory, at least in my case. Another benefit of the KAFO's is that I can do a normal pushup (knee's off the ground) with them on. I just did this for the first time today. Great exercise.
03-18-2003, 06:06 PM
i've gone the kafo/afo route and it's worked for me. i started with an afo on the right (my strong side) and kafo on the left approx. 1 yr. post injury. i now use only a polio-type (two metal bars attached in heel of shoe) brace on my left leg which keeps my lazy toe from dragging...no brace on the right leg. i'm now 4 yrs. post and ambulate with a walker functionally. the change in brace on the left side and using the walker functionally/unnassisted has just transpired during this last year. i havn't used the chair in a month...i havn't gone anywhere fast eitherhttp://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/images/smilies/wink.gif but i'm still stoked. i think it's a good route to go if you get the right orthotics. also...it's easy to tear up your shoulders using walker and braces if your not careful AND a weak trunk can result in lower back issues.
03-20-2003, 09:27 AM
the new braces broke this morning at the gym. Out of the 4 hinges 1 broke and 2 were bent. These were titanium hinges, they are being sent back to the manufacturer Masser today as they think we got a bad batch.
It would be nice to start a topic or use this one where everyone posts a picture of their braces so we can see what other people are using.
I will post mine once I get them back.
03-20-2003, 11:22 AM
Thanks Dusty & SCI pilot,
I would love to some pictures. I will begin my brace therapy in the next few weeks. Thank you.
03-20-2003, 12:14 PM
Here's a picture of me using my braces, and some video. http://www.sittallstandtall.com/markb.htm
03-20-2003, 12:39 PM
Here is my third orthodic. These braces are similar to spina bifida braces. I picked the colors on these my foot drop brace before this on was white it looked too medical.
These are great I have had them since last August.
I will post my titanium graphite ones once they are out of the repair depot
03-24-2003, 03:33 PM
I used both to get walking. I got a KAFO for my right leg when I was nine months post .. my left leg is much stronger and my quad could hold my knee locked. I used the KAFO for three or four months, then went to an AFO, which I used for about four months more.
Now at two years post, I've been walking functionally with either a walker or crutches for about six months. In the last month or so, I've been able to do stairs without assistance. I still get a bit of toe drag on my right side, but only when I'm tired. BTW, I'm a C6.
My big issue all along has been my trunk strength, particularly my right hip flexor and my hip extensors. I keep exercising but my legs remain stronger than my hips. Anyone else like that?