Firstly - mods - this post is about AFO's and Knee Braces, and so I've put it in both. Please do move to one or the other, if you feel that's the right thing, but it really is about both.
I've got (relatively) stable ankles, although my right one gives me quite a lot of grief when driving, and is somewhat side-side unstable. My feet pronate, but my insoles just about sort that (sometimes still do it, but not mostly). My knees hyperextend; not to any wild angle, but to beyond 'straight' and then lock in the usual not-using-muscles way.
I've just had an appointment with my orthotist, which I feel a bit deflated after. She clearly knows her stuff, so I'm not sure if I'm just being silly. She watched me walk in my AFO's and said that I was walking really well and they're stopping me hyperextending at the knee (I feel like I sometimes lock in them, but they do definetly reduce/almost stop that, and I can't see myself walk, so she's probably right). I'm not sure about the AFO's, though. They're the solid sort; no hinge. They definetly do make my ankles much more stable, and they're great for standing in (when I started with them I'd had a run of injuries, and was rarely weight bearing, but with these I can stand for quite a while). The problem, is that though they might (aparently) make my walking look 'better'/more normal my knees hurt more when I try to walk in them. My ankles are really stable in them (but they arn't that unstable, generally) but my knees feel like they're made of jelly. Standing up/sitting down (including on/off loo etc) is really hard, and sometimes I fall, I think because I can't feel where they are in space (given that they're big bits of plastic..!). And they're really heavy; they feel like they pull down on my knees.
The orthotist says that they're doing their job just right, and that if I walk in them more than 'every step is therapy' and it'll build up muscles I don't currenlty have much of. I expressed concern about weakening my (relatively strong) ankles, and she said that absolutly would not happen. She said that in 'normal' people it might, but in me it would build up the right muscles.
I feel that I would prefer have a hinged knee brace, with my insoles, or possibly something just a little bit more supportive than my insoles but not nearly as restrictive as my afo's. I think my knees would then not hyperextend, and I'd walk more normally. I'd also be better for standing up/sitting down/transferring and, bonus, I could drive in them. It'd help with the side to side instability of my knees, too.
She said that she doesn't want to just keep throwing lots of devices at me. I'm not sure if she was inferring something bad about me for not liking her afo's, or just saying that she doesn't think that'll work, or what. She's referred me for a physio appointment
(I hate physios...) to look at it. Any ideas? It does seem that AFO's for knee hyperextension is a done thing (from googling) but also actual knee braces too.
Anyone else been told to wear AFO's for knee hyperextension?