I kept my appointment at the orthotics place on Wednesday and did my best to show up with an open mind and a positive attitude. I failed miserably. The brace is bulky and cumbersome and ugly as sin. The doctor had told me you could 'wear it inside most shoes ...just buy one size larger.'
Well, he was wrong. You have to buy special shoes that only mimic normal shoe styles. They are as bulky and cumbersome and UGLY as the brace itself. To make matters even worse, the ugly shoes cost $200/pair! The poor technician that was assigned to fit me got an earful. He did his best to sugar coat things but the bottom line is, I can't live the life I love wearing that thing. I left there without the brace and called my regular doctor for an appointment as soon as I got back in my truck. I meet with him on Monday morning. My doctor is very practical, very compassionate and he knows what my lifestyle is ...I think his lifestyle is similar. I know if there are alternatives out there, he will help me find them. At the very least, he will help me find another orthopedic surgeon for a second opinion.
In the meantime, I decided to get creative and brace myself! I took my old air splint and modified it. It consists of two molded plastic stays that go up the sides of my leg and are held in place by two velcro straps. There are inflatable plastic 'pillows' on the insides of the stays for comfort. I took the 'pillows' off. I took my riding boot for my left foot and cut a two inch slit down the back of the shaft to allow for the extra bulk of the splint brace. I put the splint on over one of Yeoldfurt's tall dress socks, then wedged my foot down into my boot. It felt pretty good. I found out I have to be careful to line the inside stay up just right against my ankle bone but with a little trial and error, I got it right.
The whole purpose of me wearing a brace or the moonboot is to prevent my ankle from folding over. Splinted and wedged into my riding boot like this, it cannot possible fold over. So far, I like MY solution much better than the doc's solution.
I've been wearing the splint in my boot for about an hour this morning, so far so good. Yeoldfurt and I are going into town shortly for some errands and I should know after that if it's going to work long term. I can't wear jeans and riding boots to work, but I can darn sure wear them all weekend and enjoy some semblance of normal again. In the meantime, I already have some new ideas for improvements that might enable me to wear the splint with normal dress shoes for work.