I’m Jessica and I’m 23 years old. I was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy when I was 4 months old in a unique way. I got pneumonia which caused one of my lungs to collapse. When that happened I lost oxygen, and as all of us know thats one of the ways to get CP. I was placed in a coma for a week, and eventually I became healthy again. From a young age I had to become a fighter. Cerebral Palsy has a funny way of forcing you to get thick skin. Eventually you learn to let the looks and comments roll off your shoulders, because in my head those people who say things don’t matter. I have a mild case of CP that affects me from my waist down on both legs. I got the percutaneous lengthening surgery twice. Once for my hamstrings and the other for my achilles tendon. The surgeries were life changing for me, it gave me a chance to have loose muscles along with stretching everyday. Also for the past two years I have been getting botox injections in leg muscle to help with my spasticity. Im loose and flexible now with very little spasticity but still walk with a limp.
When I was young I never thought twice about it, I never knew anything was wrong until kindergarten. My Cerebral Palsy never held me back, I did everything I wanted to do. It might have taken me a little longer, but I did it and thats all that matters in the long run. I pretty much came to terms with all things related to Cerebral Palsy, Physical therapy, stretching, gate training, strengthening exercises, but the one thing I can’t come to terms with is SHOES! I’m sure you all can agree with me having CP and shoe shopping is not fun! It’s the one type of shopping I dread and try to put off. After having years of experience of shoe shopping with CP I think I got it down to a science. I have some shoes & tricks that I want to share with you all.
Sneakers– I am definitely a Nike girl! Although I am picky with the weight of the sneaker, I usually get the sneakers used for running, I find that these are not to light but not too heavy. Right Now I love the Nike Dual Fusion line.
Slippers– Even though slippers are meant for comfort it’s still important to keep your feet in the right position all the time. I am in love with the brand Vionic! They have an arch and a heel cup, they are made for people who need medical footwear. I have the Relax Luxe they are my favorite.
Sandals– I’m definitely the most difficult with sandals, It took me a while to feel comfortable and confident in them. I have two brands that I will only wear they are Bare Traps & BOC. For me finding a sandal with a sneaker like bottom works best. I also make sure the sandal has a ankle strap for extra support. When I walk in the BareTraps & BOC sandals it’s almost compatible to sneakers.
Sandal Tips– I hate when my foot slides around in my sandals.It is impossible to wear an orthotic with some sandals. My fun tip is I buy the Dr. Scholls gel heel cushions and trim them to fit my shoe then glue them to the inside by the heel & the toes.
Boots– Again I have to say I love the brand BareTraps & BOC for boots. If I do stray away from those brands I always make sure the the boot is flexible & has a rubber bottom so you don’t slip! Again I look for that sneaker like bottom for comfort & I make sure I can slip in my Orthotics.
Heels– Wearing heels is a struggle but lets be real having CP and balancing on a stiletto is out of the question for me, and thats something that took me a long time to accept. I would give anything to walk in heels and be confident and comfortable, but thats not always the case. I am not a toe walker so feeling the pressure of being pushed onto my toes gives me anxiety, I feel like I’m going to topple over. As of right now I only wear a heel with boots or booties, I normally wear a low heel about 1 inch to 1 1/2 inch. I make sure they have a rubber bottom and is a flexible shoe. Right now I have the Kenneth Cole Women’s Riding Boot. I love them and I’m very confident in them, and thats all that matters. I recently have been gate training in wedges so I can wear them outside and not only in the comfort of my house.
Orthotics– I wore day and night AFOs until I was 17 years old. I am now able to buy over the counter orthotics. I wear them in every shoe except for sandals. Two of my favorites are Vionic and Spenco.
Now, I am definitely not a Doctor but these are just some shoes and tips that work best for me. Also I would like to thank Katy for making this blog, it’s always nice to relate & talk to people who are going through the same thing as you!