Last week, Caleb finally got his new pair of Cascade DAFOs. DAFO stands for Dynamic Ankle Foot Orthotic (although we simply refer to them as AFOs, orthotics or braces) and Caleb wears them to prevent his feet from pronating (ankles rolled inward) and to prevent him from toe-walking. His new pair are bigger, heavier and the plastic is sturdier. They were custom made for his feet by using casting materials to replicate the shape of his foot. We’ve noticed that his new AFOs took some getting used to because they are a little bulkier than his last pair. He also can’t wear them as long as his old pair since his feet are still getting used to them and we’ve seen some redness on his heels and arch when we take them off. Hopefully he’ll just continue to adapt to this new pair and make more progress using the walker.
When we left the therapist’s office after getting the new orthotics I realized that we had to go straight to the shoe store, otherwise Caleb wouldn’t be able to walk around at all. His old pair of shoes weren’t big enough to accommodate the new AFOs so off to the store we went. I didn’t know of the first place to find shoes, so I just went to our local mall. I wandered around Macys…. no kids shoes. As I left that store, I noticed that right next door there was a children’s shoe store. What luck! I didn’t have any expectations that they would be able to find shoes that would fit, but I figured it was a start. The nicest saleslady approached me and I explained that my son just got new AFOs and we need new shoes. Right away, she knew just what to do. She took the AFOs, measured them, asked if we preferred laces or velcro (but hinted that laces would be better for all over tightening, not just the top) and went in the back. Within 2 minutes she came out with the cutest pair of navy blue New Balance sneakers in a size 6.5 Extra Wide. I almost cried when she pulled them out of the box. They were better than anything I was imagining. I didn’t want Caleb to be limited to certain style of shoes made for kids with AFOs. I was just relieved that he had such great options for footwear despite needing an extra wide shoe.
The store was called The Children’s Shoe Box (in the Lakeforest Mall) and I highly recommend it for all kids! They are friendly, do a great job of measuring feet and have a wonderful selection!
When it came time to put away Caleb’s old gear, I once again got a little emotional. (Who knew new AFOs could make me so verklempt?) I thought of all the miles he’s logged in those little AFOs and how big his feet have grown since we first got them.
I looked at his shoes, which are probably only 6 months old and they are beyond worn out. You can see at the top where Caleb tends to drag his feet as he walks. These heavily used shoes are a testament to his hard work and the progress he’s made. We are just so proud of him and look forward to putting many more miles on his new pair.