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Thread: what's your experience/opinion (KAFOs)

  1. #1
    Senior Member cali's Avatar
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    what's your experience/opinion (KAFOs)

    i'm thinking of trying to use KAFOs with regular crutches (under the arm) to be more independant out of the chair.

    my plan is to start out a few days a week for half a day hobbling around the house in them. then gradually get to the point where i can use them all day at home, etc.

    i have RGOs now, but i find them slow and clumsy for what i plan to do. i feel KAFOs would work much better because they are:

    lighter
    can be worn under clothes
    can do a "swing through" motion for a faster gait
    easier to put on/take off

    i know i have enough upper body to at least start out trying this at home. but i'm waiting for about 5 more months before i talk to my orthodist about it. summer would be better to get this started for me.

    my questions to all of you are: what is your previous experience with anything like this? what's your opinion on it? do you think it's a feesible approach to spending less time in the chair to gain independance? did you ever hear of this approach?

    thanks a lot beforehand for your time and replys!

    ~callan
    Never take life seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway

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  2. #2
    Senior Member jb's Avatar
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    cali, i've been using kafo's for a few yrs now. sometimes i take them to pt and others i use at home. i mostly stand and watch tv in them because i think i have carpal tunnel and i tend to use my arms more than i should and when i walk the pressure kills my hands and they go numb. fingers too. they have helped me though and will most likely do the same for you. you'll be getting weight thru your legs if nothing else. just try not to put too much pressure thru your arms and hands. it seems like the harder i try not to, the more i do it. that's really the only problem i've had w/the braces and it's really error on my part not the braces. remember to inspect your skin afterwards. hope this helped,.

  3. #3
    JB~
    I use these crutches now: http://www.walkeasy.com/shop/product...roductCode=410
    I had the same issue with carpal tunnel as well as ulnar nerve. After surgery the doctor switched me to platform crutches. I just started with this model and like it alot.

    I also have these base tips: http://www.walkeasy.com/shop/product...roductCode=T30
    because I needed extra stability.

    In pulling this information up for you, I found that I was screwed by my DME company. Total cost to me by DME was $540.24. That was for bi-lateral. My insurance paid 100% but damn that was quite a mark-up.

    If you can try this type of crutch out, you will find it really helps your carpel tunnel pain. I was able to bypass surgery on one wrist after I switched.
    Every day I wake up is a good one

  4. #4
    Senior Member cali's Avatar
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    thanks for the input guys, that helps a lot!

    i don't think i'd be comfortable with platform crutches or quad crutches because they seem like i'd be leaning forward way too much. just that position is uncomfortable for me.

    i tried quad crutches on monday and i'll be honest. i hate them. i feel i still want to try out the under arm crutches.
    Never take life seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway

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  5. #5
    Senior Member mr_coffee's Avatar
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    cali, underarm crutches u won't have much support compared to forearm crutches where u have more control. I went from a walker with a KAFO and an AFO to forearm crtuches then back to walker because I could be more functinoal with a walker in everyday life and I have less of a chance to fall.

    I can also adjust how much weight i went to let my legs bare. I could let all of them bare weight and just use the tips of my fingers to walk with the walker or i can use alot of upper body if i'm getting weak. Also if you ever tried to brush ur teeth with forearm crutches, look out! hah.

    But yes of course, you have to make the transition to get out of the chair somehow. This is the best way to do it. If you get strong enough, put the wheelchair aside, and use a nice computer chair that has nice padding or take ur wheelchair cusion off, so ur forced to use ur walker/crutches to do anything. Thats what helped me get out of the chair for good. Goodluck! its great to hear u wanting to get up more!
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  6. #6
    Senior Member cali's Avatar
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    i have really good balance (of course, not perfect) so i think i'll do ok with under arm crutches, but i'll never know till i try. i have muscles in my back (most of them if not all) and i have muscles in my sides. my belly feels like i can tighten it but i can't feel contractions if that makes sense.

    and yea i can't stand being bound to my chair, but my rgos aren't a feesible means of getting around. they're just good for exercise.

    i'm so stoked to start this! but i'm trying to get my insurance to pay for an fes bike so i gotta wait till that gets decided before i try to get kafos.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member mr_coffee's Avatar
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    Wow an FES bike! I'll be lucky if my insurance will cover a 50 dollar leg brace lol. I need 1 afo custom made, and 1 knee support made, each around 1500, insurance was like F U!

    Cali do you ever e-stim you abs? Thats exactly how my abs felt before i could start contracting them alittle. I still can ony contract my right side alittle but i can suck my stomach in now. Ever give it a try? If not tell ur Therapist to STIM U UP! PS: don't fall alseep with them on ur abs or u may find urself sleeping in some nice warm urine.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member cali's Avatar
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    i was afraid it would make me pee so didn't let them stim my abs

    i get stim on my one forearm and they're gonna start stim on my one ham that flickers.

    my insurance is pretty good actually because my mom works for the state and i'm under her insurance. but i'm afraid they're gonna say that e-stim is good enough. i don't have one of those machines at home but i'd definitely like one.

    you every try to get into magee rehab? i'm sure they would try to help write a letter of necessity to your insurance for the afo and knee brace. magee might be quite a drive for you, it's close to philly and i know you live upstate, where as i live in the middle.
    Never take life seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway

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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by cali
    thanks for the input guys, that helps a lot
    i tried quad crutches on monday and i'll be honest. i hate them. i feel i still want to try out the under arm crutches.
    I used under the arm crutches for years. It can kill your brachial plexus nerves as well as your elbows and wrists. I am 15 yrs post and regret the day I ever started using them. Think long term, not just now.
    Every day I wake up is a good one

  10. #10
    Senior Member cali's Avatar
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    thanks cheesecake. those are important things to know that i haven't taken into consideration.
    Never take life seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway

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