Personal Experience W/ Ankle-Foot Orthoses

Since 2008, I have had difficulties with my gait due to muscle weakness caused by a neurological problem.  Symptoms included foot drop, weak ankle and general instability in standing.  Although I was assisted by physical therapy, my leg was unable to regain strength and i needed an ankle-foot orthoses (AFO) for support when I walked. In the last six years, I was prescribed a number of AFOs. They were either too flimsy, too difficult to put on and take off, hard to get in any type of shoe and just plain uncomfortable.  Believe me, I really tried to make these devices work. I even ordered braces over the internet, tried them out and promptly sent them back. The brace that I used before contacting Ritchie Limb and Brace was custom-made, but it tended to crack and was heavy to wear.

I decided to make a number of “cold calls” to orthotics companies in the San Antonio area to inquire about custom-made carbon fiber braces. Through my research, i found that carbon fiber AFOs were more durable, lighter and provided more support. The issue was, NOBODY in San Antonio did this type of work! I was always offered “off the shelf” braces that did not address my problem. I had to find a provider that was covered by my insurance and after several hours of contacts, I called and spoke to Mr. David Ritchie with Ritchie Limb and Brace. To my surprise (other companies always passed me off to a secretary or therapist), Mr. Ritchie took the time to listen to me and give me hope that something could be done for me. Although, he was located in Seguin, my wife and I felt it was worth the drive.

When we met Mr. Ritchie, he immediately put us at ease and listened to my concerns and needs. He never offered anything “off the shelf”. He analyzed my gait and said he could fabricate something in a custom-made, carbon fiber, AFO. That day of my first visit, he took a mold of my leg and asked that I give him a couple of weeks to fabricate the brace.  My appointment for pick-up happened to be on any icy morning. We still went!

The AFO fit perfectly! It was easy to put on and take off.  It was light and fit into my shoe very easily.  Better still, I could walk well and with good balance.  Mr. Ritchie did a great job in analyzing my needs and made me a good, strong and light AFO.  I have had my brace for over two months, it fits into all my shoes and allows me to be on my feet longer.  I am very, very happy with my new AFO.

The staff at Ritchie Limb and Brace go out of their way to make their clients feel comfortable. They are friendly, patient and knowledgeable with insurance.  From the time we walked through the door to the time we left, my wife and I were always well-treated and listened to.  No matter the drive from San Antonio (and other locales), the service provided by Mr. Ritchie and his staff make the travel well worth it!



know Your New Limb

What Type of Prosthesis Do You Have??

Your prosthesis consists of a custom made socket to fit your residual limb.  A variety of liners or padding is used to increase comfort within the socket.  Belts, straps, suspension sleeves or suction hold the prosthesis in place.  Specific prosthetic components will be selected to best meet your goal.

Why Is That Important?

A custom prosthesis is unique to your needs.  Your lifestyle, activity level, living environment, goals, vocation, and hobbies are all considered when a prosthetic design recommendation is determined.  Your prosthesis will enable you to return to many of the activities that you enjoyed prior to your surgery.  Your goals are our guide.

What Happens On Your First Visit?

Shoes:  Bring a pair of shoes with you to your first appointment.  The shoes should have the following features:    Approximately 3/8”-3/4” heel height,  preferably lace-up, tennis shoes (i.e. court shoes) are fine.  If you are unsure bring several pairs of your prosthetist will help you select the best pair for your new prosthesis.

Socks:  Bring one pair of medium weight socks. Initial Evaluation.

Clothing: Wear loose fitting clothing to all appointments.  Sweat suits or work-out clothes are best.  If possible, shorts should be worn by those patients with amputation levels above the knee.

Prosthetic Shrinker: Your shrinker must be worn at all times to control edema (i.e. fluid, swelling) on your residual limb when not wearing your prosthesis.  The shrinker may be removed for bathing and immediately replaced.

Initial Evaluation: Be prepared to stay for at least one hour.  Your prosthetist will evaluate your residual limb and discuss prosthetic options with you.  Prior authorization from your insurance company is necessary before the prosthetic program can begin.

Initial Fitting:  Be prepared to stay for at least one hour.  A diagnostic socket will be fit to your limb.  You are on your way!

Personal Hygiene

The shrinker should be removed each day for cleansing of the residual limb.  Use warm water and mild lotion soap.  Rinse well and towel-dry gently but thoroughly.

Your Wearing Schedule

Your prosthetist will provide you with specific instructions and a wearing schedule.  Careful and controlled introduction to weight bearing focus prevents unnecessary problems.  Your prosthetic rehabilitation program requires safe and careful attention.  Following directions will promote greater progress.

Donning & Doffing

You will learn how to put on and take off your prosthesis.  This is learned process and you will need to practice.  Your prosthetist will help you discover the easiest and best way for you to accomplish this task.  Whenever your prosthesis is not being worn, replace the shrinker immediately.

Caring For Your New Limb

The inner socket or lining of the prosthesis should be cleaned each day with diluted soapy water and wiped clean.  Be sure to remove all soap residue and allow the socket/liner to dry overnight.  Your prosthesis is quite durable, but is generally jot designed to be submerged in water or left in extreme temperatures (i.e. in a care exposed in the sunlight).






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