This post is about Footdrop and the latest thing I've tried to compensate for that oh-so-charming aspect of MS. At the very end there's a brief update on my one year anniversary of venoplasty for CCSVI.
After using the bungee cord device for almost a year, I got a Bioness L300 stim device. I've used it now since June and have gotten used to it. I think it works the best of the 3 things I have tried (see previous posts on this subject by clicking on Foot-Drop in the right frame).
I do have to make sure I put a drop of water on the gel pads and spread it around before putting on the cuff every day; and it takes a certain amount of time for the pads to adhere and really allow it to "kick in" - and that gets longer as the gel pads get older. I had been using a set for a month but I may cut that back to three weeks or even two now that I realize the problems that older gel pads can cause.
I also find that the strength of the stim gets stronger as the day wears on. For the first hour, I am tuning it up as high as it will go; by late afternoon, I am tuning it down as far as it will go.
Does it hurt? Nope. It does not. When it's tuned up too strong I do feel it and hurry to tune it down, but it is not like an electrical shock. It's more of a strong vibration or stimulation.
But now the most important thing: do I walk better? Well, I don't have to swing my leg out from the hip so I look more normal and it's so much easier on my back to do it this way. But....my balance is such that I really do not walk faster. I'm still very unbalanced. I definitely need a cane outside the house, though at home I have plenty of things to touch or hold on to so I don't use any aides inside. I'm far worse with my eyes closed or in the dark so it's obvious to me that I have learned to orient myself with my eyes.
I think a major factor is that it wasn't just foot-drop that was getting in my way; it was also the fact that I struggle to lift my right leg, bending the knee as it comes up. The muscles and/or nerves are only partially there. I find that I lift with the small of my back if I'm not careful. Yep--ouch!
So getting rid of the footdrop with the L300 does help--and it helps a lot--but it is only half the problem. Still, I charge it up every night and strap it on every day. It keeps my foot from turning under and my toes from catching on the carpet and my back is in so much better shape now than 6 months ago.
You may well ask: Have you really done the exercises the various PT's have assigned to you over the years? Nah! Well....some. Are you proud of that? Are you kidding? Do you think you would be stronger if you did? Mmmhumm....
Everyone who has stuck to their physical therapy sings its praises. I get it. And I still have hopes for my redemption. And that's all I want to say about that right now. Really. And quit rolling your eyes!
Meanwhile, the CCSVI treatment seems to be holding. I'm just 2 weeks away from it being a year since I had the venoplasty on my lower left external jugular and my azygous. I still seem to be stable, with significant improvements in my cognitive ability, my neck and shoulder pain and facial and scalp numbness. These past few months my toes don't seem to curl any more.
Feel free to ask any questions if you are considering this or any of the devices I've tried.
I'm off to a movie -- speaking of which, my next post will definitely be on that subject.