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Adaptive Cycling: Handcycles, Amputee Adaptation, Visual Impairment, and Other Needs Have a need for adaptive equipment to ride to compensate for a disability or loss of limb or function? This area is for discussion among those of us in the cycling world that are coming back from traumatic circumstances and tell the world, "No, you are not going to beat me down!"

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Old 09-22-11, 03:11 AM   #1
Rona
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AFO suggestions

I wear an AFO for ankle and foot paralysis. I've been biking well this year but it's taken a toll on my brace.

I use an Ossur like this one: http://www.kneeshop.com/proddetail.asp?prod=O-102011

it's very light and useful for walking/stair climbing and most biking, but now the layers of kevlar/whatever/resin are starting to rip apart. I think I will have another 3 months use out of it.

Any suggestions? I'd LOVE something with a better angle for the foot. Currently it's like walking with a shorter leg because my good leg can pedal correctly. It needs to be super sturdy at the ankle too. I'm not a lightweight.
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Old 09-24-11, 06:22 PM   #2
mnemia
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I'm not sure what your specific physical issues are, but I wear AFOs on both legs that are very similar to the one you wear (though mine are a different brand). I wear them because of Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, which is an inherited peripheral neuropathy that causes muscular atrophy in the feet, ankles, and calves. I pretty much need them 100% of the time to walk semi-normally and without falling. I've also had some wear issues with this type of AFO, and I'm now on my third pair in about 5 years. My understanding is that breakdown of the material is basically inevitable with heavy use, though certain activities can certainly speed it up (jumping, maybe cycling, stepping on stairs improperly, etc). So you may just have to accept that they don't last forever, and that wear may be accelerated if you are very active. If you're having to pay for them, that's not fun, I know.

I started out wearing my AFOs while cycling, using large BMX-style platform pedals, when I restarted cycling as an adult (my disease didn't affect my muscles significantly until young adulthood). The AFOs can certainly give you more power on the downstroke, and help to prevent your weak feet and ankles from causing your feet to slip off the pedals. I've transitioned about 2 years ago to using clipless pedals with no AFOs, and find that this actually works quite well for me because they hold my atrophied feet in the correct position without the need for a rigid orthotic device. I do have custom-made orthotic foot inserts for my shoes, that are designed to accommodate my unusual foot anatomy (extremely high arches) while being quite rigid so that lots of power transfers. It did take me some effort to get used to this, but now I'm more mobile and stable on the bike than on my feet. I have no idea whether this would be a possibility for you, but you might try discussing what you want to do with your prosthetics/orthotics professional. They might be able to find a solution that would work better for you than what you're doing. But without knowing more about your specific physical issues, it would be hard to say.
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Old 09-25-11, 09:01 AM   #3
Rona
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I have paralysis from the mid calf downwards, so I need the AFO to walk for foot drop. If I was to use a bicycle pedal without the AFO, my foot would bend upward (toes going skyward) and would not work :/

Im wondering if some AFOs are better than others. I've had an AFO by Allard and didn't like it at all. It fell apart in under 6 months. http://www.allardusa.com/frames/prodframes.html It was very disappointing.

I've had the white plastic custom built articulated as well- They are very durable but feel like walking with a concrete block around your foot.

At least you seem to be going through them about the same rate I am. That makes me feel a little better about breaking them so often. Right now my insurance company does pay for them with a co-pay, but I'm wondering when they are going to tell me "no more".
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Old 09-26-11, 05:27 PM   #4
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I use a Blue Rocker http://orthonova.fi/tuotteet.php?l=2&p=4&id=332 It usually lasts a year to 15 months, then replacement.... Luckily medicare will pay for one every year. Tim
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