After being diagnosed with cancer at the age of 1, Cecelia underwent a series of surgeries and treatments to fight and survive her diagnosis, which ultimately resulted in her having a partial hip. While this has not directly affected her mobility in her adult life, she was involved in an automobile accident in July 2018 that required a series of surgeries to repair the damage to her hip. The accident and subsequent surgeries meant Cecelia had to use a wheelchair for five months until she healed and could use a walker. It was after this surgery where Cecelia’s surgeon recommended she see a Pedorthist for her mobility.
It was then that Cecelia started seeing Ellen Gates, CPed Pedorthist, at P&O Care Ottobock.care. When Ellen and Cecelia first met, Cecelia was using a walker to keep pressure off her hip and for stabilization.
Cecelia recalled her first encounter with Ellen and P&O Care Ottobock.care, “When I first met Ellen, she took her time studying how I walked, where my pain was, and evaluated what options I had. Because of a staph infection at the incision site of my hip surgery, the doctors could not give me a new socket to help with the limb difference in my leg. I have about a 2” difference between my left and right leg.”
Ellen recommended Cecelia add a shoe lift to her right shoe to alleviate the pain in her hip. A shoe lift is a durable foam material that is added to the outside sole of the shoe to add height, like a platform. The process of getting the correct height required Cecelia to stand upright with both of her legs straight. Ellen then used a pelvic level and various build up of blocks under Cecelia’s right foot until she could stand comfortably without feeling the strain in her hip.
Cecelia strengthened her body and improved her gait with physical therapy and exercise. After so many months she was able to discontinue using a walker. As she became more mobile, she was seen by her surgeon and Ellen for reevaluation. Based on her level of mobility and progress, they concluded an adjustment was necessary to increase the height of her shoe lift. Cecelia’s second lift measures approximately 1 5/8” thick.
“You cannot add shoe lifts to every shoe,” said Cecelia. “I love shoes and have a pair for almost every outfit. None of them were functional enough to give me the support I needed. Ellen told me to go buy a shoe with a solid sole that would offer enough arch support and hold its shape when lifted. My sister and I went to Famous Footwear and tried bending dozens of shoes until we found the right pair. I’m sure people thought we were crazy!”
Cecelia and Ellen have been working together for over three years to improve her mobility and pain management. Today, Cecelia can walk up and down stairs and traded her walker for a cane. Ellen and Cecelia are working together towards her long-term goal of not needing a cane at all. With her shoe lifts, Cecelia is looking forward to keeping up with her grandkids and adding more shoes to her collection to match her favorite outfits.
“Cecelia is one of many patients I see that did not know the right shoe can help their mobility,” commented Ellen. “Most people do not know that their back pain or leg pain can be directly caused by wearing the wrong shoe. If your legs are even a centimeter off in length, your gait is affected, and your body must compensate for the added pressure somewhere else. Sole shoe inserts are a great start but may only be a band aid solution to your pain.”
Ellen was a blessing. I now have a pair of shoes that are fashionable and functional to help me use the stairs. I plan on adding the shoe lifts to a pair of boots next so I can wear them in the fall.