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Thread: KAFO's, Late and not what I expected

  1. #1
    Senior Member FasterNow's Avatar
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    KAFO's, Late and not what I expected

    I finally got my KAFO's on Monday after about a month of delays. After trying them for about five minutes they were taken for some adjustments. Tuesday I was up on them for about ten minutes and sat down which bent the inner brace at the inside knee joint on the left leg. They were fixed and I had them back today for about a half hour worth of moving across the floor. I'm happy to finally have the braces but feel like I could have done better with another supplier/orthotist.
    My main gripe is that the braces I recieved were not what we agreed I was going to get. I was given two choices, a tubular aluminum model with a single locking joint on the outside of the knee or a composite model with dual locking joints. The orthotist said the tubular aluminum model would be better for me due to it's light weight, more reliable locking mechanism, and greater stiffness (the greater stiffness was not apparent to me). I didn't like that it had more bulk and would be harder to fit under my pants but went along with it. The orthotist also told me I needed to have my shoes attached to the braces for greater support at my ankles. I especially didn't like this idea because it seemed I would have a much more difficult time getting them on and may not be able to get pants over them at all because he said I should get a pair of boots for even more support. Well, I went out and bought a pair of boots that had a somewhat less aggressive tread, rounded edges, and lower heels so they will be less likely to catch on things when I walk.
    Monday the braces arrive and they are like nothing I have been shown. They are chrome steel with black rubber coating and huge plastic supports all the way down my thigh and calf. The boot soles have been modified with an additional 3/4" lift on the heels which now have sharp edges. At 6'4" I have no desire to be taller. I have had them on three times and do not see how I will be able to put them on without assistance. They seem like they weigh twice what the 'heavy composite' models weighed and have the same type of lock mechanism the orthotist "had not had much luck with". The inner side of the braces stick out from my knees and lock together when I'm swinging my right leg forward. When the knee locks are released and the braces bend at the knee you better not have your fingers anywhere close to the back of the knee because they will get pinched between the plastic supports. Oh yeah, the knee won't even bend enough to get more than the heel of he boot onto the footplate of my wheelchair. I think I am going to have a hard time getting into my vehicle with the braces as I barely fit under my hand controls now with just tennis shoes on.
    I know it is too soon to judge what I will be able to do with these braces but I feel like I'm being taken for a ride on something I didn't bargain for and don't like in the least. Aside from the modern plastic supports they look like something made back in the '50's. Not that I have anything against the '50's but after looking at Townsend KAFO's online I am pretty sure what I have is going to be more of a hindrance than it should be.

    I'd love to hear any other KAFO stories or suggestions on what to do with what I have!
    Injured 7-22-06, T-11 T-12 complete. [Holds up cardboard sign] "Will work for returns."
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  2. #2
    Senior Member mr_coffee's Avatar
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    That sucks to hear you got what you weren't expecting. I thnk the brace I have now is simlar to the one you have but i am getting a towsend KAFO. I only need 1 and i've had this suck brace for about 2 years so its time for an upgrade.

    The sheer fact that when you try to walk u can't because of the metal bars coming out from ur knees is enough to say no this will not work for me. I'm not sure how you are suppose to get a refund or somthing different though. My first kafo I got screwed as well but I do agree with you, the braces you described suck.

    The one problem with the towsend is I got mine finally and it didn't fit so they had to send it back and it has to get refibercated all together, so i han't gotten it back yet. But wow they are sexy and are so much more comfortable and low profile.
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  3. #3
    I recommend refusing the brace immediately because of poor quality and notifying your insurance company to see what if any recourse you have. I wore a full leg brace once, and it took a fair amount of modifications. It is best to complain and find out your rights as well as financial obligation IMMEDIATELY. Check with the licensing Board to verify credentials as well as years in business and all.

    From personal experience, don't settle for something you feel is not what you requested or were shown.
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  4. #4
    I've been sitting here debating wether I should respond to this post. First off I'm sorry that the experience isn't going as well as you had hoped. That being said things can be done to change/improve the situation. I'm local to you if you want me to take a look at things. Unfortunately I'm going on vacation for a week and then to a course so I will not be back in town until the second week of January. The reason this puts me in a comprimising position is b/c you may have seen a competitor of mine, in which case legally I am not allowed to make any adjustments or changes until after you have the devices for 90 days and only on the order of a physician. If you got them from a colleague of mine at one of our other locations I can help you to resolve the issues but at the expense of possibly pissing off my boss and the department director, but they can be managed. From the description of the uprights I don't think you would have gotten them from us b/c we don't cover our uprights with black rubber at our lab.

    Have you looked into the Center for SCI and recovery at the Rehab institute? It's an amazing program and not far from you at all. Are you currently doing out Pt therapy and if so where at?

    Let me know if I can help.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by FasterNow
    the braces I recieved were not what we agreed I was going to get.
    Why did you accept the braces if they were not what you ordered? If you ordered a grey car with leather interior and the dealership tried to deliver a white car with cloth interior, would you take it? What justification did your supplier give you for the discrepency in what you ordered and what he delivered?

    The orthotist also told me I needed to have my shoes attached to the braces for greater support at my ankles.
    Is there a plastic foot piece that slides into your shoe? I haven't used braces in a long time, but I never had any that attached to my shoes and my ankles are as floppy as the next gimps.

    They are chrome steel with black rubber coating and huge plastic supports all the way down my thigh and calf.
    That sounds awful. This may be nitpicking, but aren't KFOs or KAFOs technically "knee and foot orthotics"? You're talking about full leg braces aren't you? They go all the way up to your thighs or hips?

    I know it is too soon to judge what I will be able to do with these braces but I feel like I'm being taken for a ride on something I didn't bargain for and don't like in the least.
    Braces always need some adjustment and take some getting used to, but it sounds to me like you're not getting what you paid for, let alone what you want. I would refuse the braces and insist on getting new ones.

    C.

  6. #6
    The product does sound like a very old style of brace.
    One thing that this provider did say that rings true to someone who used various types of braces is the brace connected to the high top shoe DOES support your ankles. Supports them very good. And the only thing that supports them as firmly is a surgical procedure.

    Did you call them and inform them of your feelings regarding their product? What did they say?
    Life isn't about getting thru the storm but learning to dance in the rain.

  7. #7
    Senior Member FasterNow's Avatar
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    Orthotic Guy, thanks for the response and I understand your position. I definately don't want to get you into trouble but will keep you in mind for the future.

    I was at RIM for my inpatient PT and have a desire to go to the Center for SCI and Recovery. I am currently doing outpatient therapy at The Recovery Project in Livonia. Right now I'm pretty sure that I'm going back to work in January so as to keep my employment status. This will severely limit any PT for me after this time.
    Injured 7-22-06, T-11 T-12 complete. [Holds up cardboard sign] "Will work for returns."
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  8. #8
    Senior Member FasterNow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr_coffee
    The sheer fact that when you try to walk u can't because of the metal bars coming out from ur knees is enough to say no this will not work for me. I'm not sure how you are suppose to get a refund or somthing different though. My first kafo I got screwed as well but I do agree with you, the braces you described suck.

    The one problem with the towsend is I got mine finally and it didn't fit so they had to send it back and it has to get refibercated all together, so i han't gotten it back yet. But wow they are sexy and are so much more comfortable and low profile.
    I'm pretty sure with more practice I can make these braces work for me. Because of my plans to return to work I am more willing to keep trying them. No time for waiting for another pair.

    I looked up the Townsend because of one of your posts. Thanks for clueing me into another option down the road. Hope you get one that fits soon.
    Injured 7-22-06, T-11 T-12 complete. [Holds up cardboard sign] "Will work for returns."
    2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member
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  9. #9
    Senior Member FasterNow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiger Racing
    Why did you accept the braces if they were not what you ordered? If you ordered a grey car with leather interior and the dealership tried to deliver a white car with cloth interior, would you take it? What justification did your supplier give you for the discrepency in what you ordered and what he delivered?
    It's mostly a time constraint issue. Right now I'm hoping I can get them to work for me in these last three weeks of rehab before I go back to work. The supplier didn't give me any justification or even explanation as to why the braces were different. I didn't want to talk about it as I was already so angry about the delays I was ready to strangle him. The way I see it is I can have these, and get some training using them, or I can have something else and get no training.

    Is there a plastic foot piece that slides into your shoe? I haven't used braces in a long time, but I never had any that attached to my shoes and my ankles are as floppy as the next gimps.
    The braces extend down and into the sole of the shoe. There are no plastic foot pieces. I haven't seen that many KAFO's but I was wondering why I was so special and needed them attached to the shoes.

    That sounds awful. This may be nitpicking, but aren't KFOs or KAFOs technically "knee and foot orthotics"? You're talking about full leg braces aren't you? They go all the way up to your thighs or hips?
    They do go all the way up my thigh to the groin area. What I'm told is that if they are any lower I'd be able to 'overcompensate' for something and thrust my hips forward for balance. But, as far as I know, KAFO's are the correct term for these braces.

    Braces always need some adjustment and take some getting used to, but it sounds to me like you're not getting what you paid for, let alone what you want. I would refuse the braces and insist on getting new ones.

    C.
    Thanks for the advice but I doubt this supplier could do any better the second time around...and I don't have time to start over with another supplier.
    Injured 7-22-06, T-11 T-12 complete. [Holds up cardboard sign] "Will work for returns."
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  10. #10
    Senior Member FasterNow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheesecake
    I recommend refusing the brace immediately because of poor quality and notifying your insurance company to see what if any recourse you have. I wore a full leg brace once, and it took a fair amount of modifications. It is best to complain and find out your rights as well as financial obligation IMMEDIATELY. Check with the licensing Board to verify credentials as well as years in business and all.

    From personal experience, don't settle for something you feel is not what you requested or were shown.
    Thank you for the advice cheesecake.
    Injured 7-22-06, T-11 T-12 complete. [Holds up cardboard sign] "Will work for returns."
    2010 SCINet Clinical Trial Support Squad Member
    Please join me and donate a dollar a day at http://justadollarplease.org and copy and paste this message to the bottom of your signature.

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