Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Visit with the Orthopedic Doctor

Tuesday morning my wife and I packed up our daughter and headed to the orthopedist she saw to have her hips fixed shortly after birth and to have her arm set when she broke it a couple years ago. He was pleased to see how far our little one had come and asked to see how she was progressing toward walking. He observed as I held my daughter's hands and let her walk around the exam room. Then he watched as she pulled herself up and cruised along the chairs. We also took a look at some X-Rays of her legs and hips.

The orthopedist showed us that all of the bones and joints looked like they have formed correctly. He also said that she was making good progress, but that he agreed with my daughter's physical therapist. She could use a pair of dafo braces to help her get up and walking by herself.

I've mentioned this before but I keep learning more. Dafo stands for dynamic ankle foot orthosis. These braces are made almost exclusively by Cascade Dafo, Inc. and generally cover the bottom of the foot and extend up the lower leg to just below the knee. They stabilize the ankle while still allowing it to flex back and forth for walking.

I'm really hoping that this added stability will get my daughter confident enough to take steps all on her own. We have an appointment coming up early next month to take the necessary molds and get the braces made. And we've gotten tentative confirmation from our health insurance provider that they will be covered. (That's about as good as it gets from most insurance companies.) Luckily, they're not as expensive as we had initially thought. Even if we do end up footing the bill. A pair for my daughter should run closer to $700 than the $1,500 we were thinking initially.

So next, we'll get the molds taken and the braces ordered. Then will come some difficult adjustment when my daughter starts wearing them. But if she adjusted to wearing hearing aids, how hard can this be? And to be able to walk, I'm pretty sure, my daughter will be willing. She wants it so bad.

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