At our recent IFSP, the evaluating PT recommended that we look into Sure Steps. Chances are that if you have a child with Ds you have seen these on your friend’s kids or been told to get them.
Of course, because I have many friends who use them, I assumed we would need them ourselves.
And when the PT recommended them I was sold.
We went to our peditrician to get a perscription only to find that she didn’t agree with their use. I soon found out that there are a lot of opinions on braces.
I argued my point- that she wasn’t a foot specialist and that we only wanted what was best for Eli.
The way I see it is that the braces will stabilize Eli’s ankle (which rolls inward slightly when he stands) and enable him to stand better and begin walking sooner.
My conclusion wasn’t far from the truth, but she referred us out to a foot and joint specialist just to be safe.
We saw Dr. D yesterday and he was simply amazing. He has a close family member who also has Ds, so he spent some of the visit quizzing me on Ds facts and medical concerns. Then he examined Eli. We found that he has Flexible Flat Foot and Calcaneovalgus Feet. Which just means that his foot is flat but he has an arch, and his ankle is super flexible making it to where his foot can actually be pressed up against his leg.
These conditions for children with Ds are primarily due to loose ligaments and lower toned muscles.
In fact, braces can be used to give children like Eli the extra support that they need in order to begin standing or walking sooner. However, these braces can hinder development and strengthening fo these muscles.
These conditions both require no surgery and almost always resolve on their own.
Eli’s ankle has always rolled inward, but it does less now than it did even a few months ago.
Eli stands quite well now, and is beginning to pull up on things in an attempt to explore more stuff around him. I’m still conflicted on how to handle this, and I have been looking at AFO brace or SMO brace options. And I haven’t read anything negative about them at all. So braces or no braces?
It makes me nervous to even say that, but when two doctors seperate doctors tell you they are against treatment for these two conditions, it makes you think.
I certainly worry about when he will walk, but I also know that building up his strength and endurance are important for walking as well.
For now, we got him some stride right shoes that offer a bit more support for his ankle: Grayson shoe and Elliot shoe.
What do you guys think? Would love to hear others experiences and opinions! 🙂