Today's Paper State News LEARNS Guide Newsletters Opinion Sports Obits Games Archive Notices Core Values

Bracing up with new ankle support

by Rosemary Boggs | June 22, 2015 at 2:33 a.m.

It's easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference.

-- Tom Brokaw

I am braced for change.

If you read this column regularly, you know that, in addition to diabetes, I have been struggling with a foot problem not uncommon among diabetics, Charcot neuroarthropathy. It affects the bones in my right ankle and foot.

That ankle has become deformed, and that has caused me to walk on the outside of that foot. Hence the need for my new brace, called an ankle foot orthosis, or AFO. It is designed to straighten the ankle into the correct, upright position.

The leather-covered brace is relatively comfortable, considering, and I do walk a bit straighter. But I am struggling with the alignment of the foot. It still wants to lean to the right.

I went back to Snell Prosthetics and Orthotics Laboratory, where I got the brace, and asked for help. I was given a short insole to wear in the right shoe. It is angled and that helps lean the foot back to the left. And the orthotist spliced a slice of firm material into the right side of my shoe's sole to add a bit more firmness. This helped, but not completely.

As for shoes, I have one pair I can wear right now. And I had to buy them after I got the brace because I found that my other shoes wouldn't accommodate it. After much wailing and gnashing of teeth I found a pair, but I will eventually need to get a variety of shoes.

It was a bit disheartening trying on so many pairs that day, especially since I went up a size -- in men's.

During the first week of wearing the brace I had pain in my lower right back and hip. It hurt no matter what I was doing. The pain has pretty much gone away. But I do notice my legs and hip flexors getting tired more easily.

Getting back to my exercise routine, such as it was, and going back to swimming at the Patrick Henry Hays Senior Center should help.

Plus, I miss my swimming buddies. Their positive energy and smiling faces always managed to brighten my day.

My main exercise limitations are that I cannot walk for exercise -- which I used to enjoy -- and I can't do things that are very high impact. I welcome readers' suggestions within those guidelines.

I still have my Desk Cycle, which I can use while reading or watching TV, and my stretchy bands and small hand weights for weight-bearing exercise.


Blood donations tend to go down every summer as the temperature goes up. It's understandable. Folks are busy with vacations and summer activities, and the hot weather drives some of us inside.

This week, the officers of the Little Rock and North Little Rock police departments are teaming up with the American Red Cross for the annual Battle of the Badges Blood Drive. Their goal is to see who can recruit the most eligible donors in their community to donate blood.

For the departments, there is a trophy and some big bragging rights up for grabs here. For donors, there's the free T-shirt given to everyone who donates, on a first-come, first-served basis. And don't forget you'll also get a snack and beverage after you give.

It's a friendly competition for a good cause, and the winner is the department that gets the most donations.

The Little Rock drive will be held 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at 3917 W. 12th St.

In North Little Rock, the drive is 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday in the ballroom of the Hays Center, 401 W. Pershing Ave.

Police officers are on the front line in many situations, and often see firsthand how important it is to have blood readily available for emergencies. How about we make a difference by helping fill the Red Cross shelves with a plentiful supply? You never know, we may be the ones needing it one day.

Email me at:

ActiveStyle on 06/22/2015

Print Headline: Bracing up with new ankle support


Sponsor Content