Do What Works Best for You

By Ellen Ladau                                                          April 4, 2017

I do something that most people would consider unusual or weird.  I sleep in my UGG boots.  And not because I have cold feet- though I admit it was great this past winter.  I started doing this because I was having so much trouble with my AFO’s- ankle foot orthotics.  I need foot support at night because I have foot drop which can cause plantar fasciitis ( inflammation of the tendons on the bottom of the foot) or increased muscle contractures which would increasingly make it more difficult or even impossible for me to stand.  My AFO’s were very heavy and hot.  It was not unusual in any season to wake up with a soaking wet cotton liner I wore under the brace to protect my skin.   And since I could not put them on by myself, they caused a nightly “battle.” with my husband Marc :

“The straps are too loose”  He adjusts them.   Then, “The straps are too tight.”

You got the picture.  Another problem with the AFO’s is that if I needed to get up in the middle of the night I would have to wake him up to take them  off, and depending on the time of night, put them back on.  So, one lazy day,  when I put my feet up on the couch wearing my UGGS (it was an old couch),  I realized that due to the rigidity of the boots at the back of the heel, my feet were supported enough to avoid foot drop.  So, that night, I slept in the UGGS, and I have been doing that ever since.  Even though they have fur lining, they are cooler than the AFO’s and I have not woken up with sweaty feet once.  And, I can get up in the middle of the night without disturbing Marc.  Though he really should do something about our squeaky bedroom door!

I hope my UGGS story encourages you to take stock of all the “things” you need  use to accommodate or manage Larsen Syndrome ( or other physical disability)  for yourself or your family member.  It is the job of doctors, therapists, and orthotists to prescribe what they feel is best.  But they don’t have to use them or put up with the inconvenience or discomfort of them.  Now I am certainly not suggesting that you ignore medical advice.  But if something is really uncomfortable or not working for you or your child, try to think out of the box.  Is there something else that might work better?  It may be very well a different type of brace or piece of equipment.  Don’t be afraid to speak up to your health care providers; together you might come up with a better option.   We hear it all the time :  “ You have to be your own advocate.”  That really means do what is best for you-  even if  it means sleeping in UGGS.

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