These Boots Were Made…

Like most children with sensory processing issues, Bridget prefers to walk on her toes. Which is cute and if she had a desire to become a ballerina and dance on pointe we would save tons of money on professional training. Instead we had to worry if Bridget preferred to walk on her toes or if she was unable to put her heel down and walk normally.

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We had to see specialist after specialist for testing. I was told her spinal cord might have retethered. I broke. A lot. Then we got the news that her spine was fine. I rejoiced. A lot. There might have been awkward dancing involved. Until we were told to see another specialist, this time an orthopedic. He recommended we fit Bridget with braces. His main concern was that while we could get her to neutral, there was a “hitch” starting. He warned us that unless we began stretching heels it could result in surgery.

Bridget’s had enough surgery. Or selfishly, I’ve had enough of Bridget needing surgery. Last summer, after holding her down for 2 hours while she had a catheter placed in her urethra I swore the next invasive procedure I held my child down for would be to save her life. Little did I know that she would need me to do that the days before Christmas. But I digress.

We went and had plaster casts of Bridget’s legs, given her sensory issues I was worried. But I forgot, Bridget is tiny and mighty. She charmed the technician (of course) and surprising me again knew just want pattern she wanted on her braces. Sadly, Disney Princesses were not an option. So she chose “Abby heart”

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And declared they are BOOTS not ‘aces.

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When we picked up the braces a few weeks later I again worried needlessly. While Bridget didn’t like her “boots” she showed them off to everyone at school.

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My biggest worry was finding socks. The insurance company graciously provided 3 pairs of socks. I really do not like doing laundry that often. I went to order more socks, but they are $19 a pair. Luckily my village responded: buy the cheap pair of knee socks they work just as well! So we got some rocking socks.

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See how her toes are in perfect POINTE position?

Bridget still walks on her toes without the braces, ahem I’m sorry without her boots. Heck she has figured out how to walk on her toes with the boots. It is a balance between wearing the boots for stretching and having them off so she doesn’t loose muscle mass or the ability to do her new favorite activity: jump. Thankfully her physical therapists are awesome and clued us in on the dangers of under and over wearing the boots.

It is hard seeing her in the boots, I admit. It is one more visual reminder that she has a tougher road than her sister. That she isn’t “typical” and that her disability is more than mental, but physical as well. Something we easily forget with all her advances. (Did I mention she JUMPS!)

But she doesn’t need surgery, so I will take the boots and let her rock them as only she can. If it means we end up with a future ballerina so much the better.

14 thoughts on “These Boots Were Made…

  1. thelatchkeymom

    I saw a Patriots jersey:). I’ve heard of boots like these, but haven’t seen them in person. Bear used to walk on his toes, but grew out of it (fingers crossed for you). I understand the anxiety about procedures too – oh, it’s a Pandora’s box for us!

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    1. firebailey Post author

      When they were first prescribed the doctor called them AFO instead of braces. David thought he said UFO which led to some hysterics on our part. I’m hoping she does grow out of this and if not then the boots allow her to have that sensory input in a healthy way.

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    1. firebailey Post author

      We were joking that when she was an infant she could only tolerate the Champagne of formula and she is staying true to that with the socks. Thankfully we found others that work!

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  2. Ned's Blog

    Such a beautiful way to approach what so many would simply see as a hurdle or detriment. Instead, you found a way to make it into something participatory instead of a requirement. You empowered her to make the most of the situation by finding the positive. One of our two sons has Asperger’s, and when he was little he was a “toe walker” (an autism trait). We started saying “flat feet” whenever we saw him toe walking and kind of made a game out of it. If he saw us walking on our toes, he’d call us on it. He’s a teenager now and only walks on his toes when he’s excited. That seems to me to be a healthy compromise 😉

    Well done, Kerri

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    1. firebailey Post author

      Thank you for your kindness, Ned. We have Bridget saying “heel, toe, heel, toe” whenever she remembers to walk properly. I think you have a fantastic compromise! My goal is always to find the positive for her. It makes life so much more enjoyable!

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  3. Stacey

    It’s hard, but you are doing the right thing. I did not know until my Isaac did it (the one who is not diagnosed with sensory processing disorder) that walking on toes was a sensory deal (he was a major toe walker and also intoed a lot; both have gotten somewhat better). I did it a lot as a kid and find myself still doing it at times. I won’t realize that I am doing it until someone points it out. I have often been asked my strangers [usually in line at a store] if I took ballet. It confused me until I looked down and realized that I was standing on my toes (not on pointe, but close). I had a PT once ask me if I wanted to put a brace on my right leg. My feet turn outwards all the time, and it was part of the reason I was in PT (messed up knee snow skiing when I tried to point my feet straight and got tangled up). I refused because I have a wicked cool ability to turn my feet backwards and I was afraid that correcting my legs (at age 18 at that!) would cause me to lose that ability. 🙂

    P.S. Boo rocks, so do her boots, and of course, so do you!

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  4. ruchira

    She sure is destined to be a ballerina dancer…mark my words, Kerri 🙂
    Actually show her that kind of dance and am sure it will be a piece of cake for her, given how articulate she is with her toes.

    $19 for a pair of socks is darn expensive…I am glad they could give you a spare.

    Did I tell ya amidst all this you are rock solid, and shining as bright as a diamond!
    xoxo

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