Ankle Brace

Project  / Project number: 1221  /  Status:

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The challenge

 

Beneficiary, now 8 years of age, was born 9 weeks prematurely and as a result has Cerebral Palsy. This affects her left leg and balance and has prevented her from being able to ride a tricycle due to her left foot hitting the ground. The brakes on commercial trikes were also found to be inadequate.

An adapted bicycle with parent control bar became difficult and unsafe when wanting to cycle independently, so a bespoke solution was required.

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The solution

Time was initially devoted to watching the beneficiary on her trike, to assess how to resolve the issue of her toe drag that was preventing her using standard peddles. The Engineer helped and advised on which bike would be the best buy and also accompanied the parents to the bike shop to select suitable stabilisers and then modifying and fitting these to an appropriate new bike.

A brace has been designed using a thin aluminium alloy plate to fit inside the sock to prevent foot drop in an unobtrusive manner. This brace keeps the left foot raised and prevents the toes striking the ground at the lowest point of travel. Encouragement to the beneficiary was also an important ingredient as she lacked  confidence in learning to use her new wheels.

The benefit

This young girl is now in the process of ‘mastering’ the bike using stabilisers with increasing self-confidence. It is hoped that during this year she will be able to cycle freely with stabilisers, and then, in time, achieve the ultimate goal of riding her bike without them.

An unexpected benefit is that the beneficiary is now using the brace to aid walking without a limp, something which was hitherto impossible.

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