Meet Ollie the Orthotic

Hi, i still think it will work for you eventually. When i first had one the Doctor that was trying to find the right spots to put the electrodes she took a photo of where they were for me to bring home. Please let me know how you go on :blush:

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I am having my orthotic review on Friday. It hasn’t been the success I was hoping for as I still can’t lift my foot. I did a little experiment this week to see if “Ollie” is helping me at all.

Yesterday I went for a short walk without him & I tripped up quite a few times. Mainly tripping over my toes. Today I did the same walk with Ollie & I didn’t trip at all despite a small balance issue.

So, it seems Ollie is helping me keep my toes up so I don’t trip but I’m still dragging my foot. I am also starting to get a sore knee & hip (think the knee is an old injury that’s been aggravated by my poor gait).

Does anyone have any thoughts on other things I could ask about at my review (FES has previously been ruled out)? Accepting that my walking isn’t going to alter much anytime soon do you have any advice on how I can minimise the impact on my hip & knee?

Thank you in advance for your advice :blush:

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@Mrs5K ohh Ann sorry you tripped up but you are persevering well done.

Ollie is helping you maybe it’s going to take time to bring your toes back up. What about shoes with a cushion at the front would this help? Or a kind of block made to go inside a shoe or boot. It must be frustrating for you.

I am not sure of questions for you to ask as this hasn’t happened to me but maybe someone will answer. You could ask how long is it the time to walk better with your toes up. I’m just rambling.

Your knee and hip you could do leg exercises bending the knee while sitting and swinging them, if your head allows it you could do gentle squats. Your hip do what the footballers do where they open their legs and push out to the side if you know what I mean! Sorry if I’m being useless.
Kindest wishes and lots of luck for Friday Loraine x :hugs:

Hi Loraine @Loshy thank you for your advice. I’m not sure about blocks in my shoes but i will mention it as that could well help.

They have told me that I might never be able to lift my foot/leg so I’ve accepted it is what it is gor now but with a bucket load of hope that it may just return to normal.

I had been doing squats so will try them again. I will give the hip exercises a try.

I am getting a bit frustrated with it but will keep persevering as you never know it might just right itself at some point.

Thank you for your help.

Best wishes

Ann xxx

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@Mrs5K Ann your very determined look how far you have come. Never say never, you will be jogging end of summer. Just keep trying and I hope you get your leg and foot back to normal. Lots of luck Loraine xx

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Sorry that Ollie is causing worry. It’s a shame he hasn’t had the effect everyone was hoping for. Good that he stops you tripping though, but seems like a faff for only a slight benefit.
I can’t really relate to your issue fully but I did have problems with drop foot that I was able to eventually improve by concentrating really hard on pulling my toes up when I walk, which has now (after over a year) started to become automatic. I don’t now have to concentrate so hard and it seems to not scuff most of the time.

However from what I remember you are unable to pull your toes up at all so I’m not sure what to suggest apart from maybe concentrating on visualising your toes lifting up when you are sitting down. This would require daily sessions several times a day. The reason I say this is because my neuro OT has recently given me some daily tasks to help with the lack of feeling iny left hand. These are things I was show 18 months ago but she said it can still work even this far into recovery. You never know and if you don’t try…
Good luck with your appointment.

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Thanks Mark @Ingo66 I think the orthotic is a lot of faff for very little benefit too although I did nearly take my toes off the other day when I caught them on a carpet gripper :grin::grin:

I have an added complication with my leg which has been diagnosed as FND. Basically the signals from my brain aren’t sending the messages they should be to my leg. My leg has all the movement in it it should as long as someone moves it for me. It just doesn’t do it itself. Unfortunately the medics don’t understand the condition much (& some like my GP have never heard of it) so there’s little treatment out there.

I have been doing the repetitive exercises you suggest but so far no progress. I’m not giving up though & will continue on with them. You just never know one day my leg might just work again :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers:

Hope you’re keeping well.


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Ouch! That sounds particularly nasty. As we are all on blood thinners we bleed a lot (as I usually find out when I cut my finger and toe nails taking a chunk of the gigit with the nail).

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@Mrs5K sorry to hear olly hasn’t been a total success for you, hopefully the review on Friday may shed some light on what can assist further.

Sorry I don’t have any advice on what to ask, best wishes

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Shwmae @Mrs5K, I have not heard of FND (Functional Neurological Disorder), but I have spent this morning reading a bit about it. It seems to be connected to psychological trauma, and little understood in the medical field. There is a FND society that consists of professionals contributing to its research. I concur with @Ingo66, those neurotransmitters need to reroute somehow and get that foot/leg working again. It would all be signals to the central nervous system from the brain, so it needs to get those messages through. Can you feel pain in your leg or foot? Have you thought about trying the Mirror Box Therapy on your foot?

I am two years post stroke, and my symptoms have only been improving at 1-2%, and they are mostly cognitive visual/spatial issues. When I am fatigued or stressed, they regress, so I know I still haven’t quite made the connections I need to make. When you wrote, “You just never know one day my leg might just work again.” I think that’s the position we are all in with our symptomatic problems, it feels like if and not when. Do you like certain music? Have you tried sitting and listening to a tune you like, tapping your working foot along with it, and imagining your other foot tapping? I can’t remember which side of your brain was damaged, but if it was the left, you can use the melodic right side to encourage brain activity.

The fact of the matter is that there might be improvement that we can’t even see. My brain might be making progress but the result is so infinitesimal that I cannot detect it in my everyday life. If we augment our lives with rehabilitation that is enjoyable, it can’t do any harm, and makes our life in general more fulfilling.


@Rups thank you. I was told that my stroke has triggered the FND. When I said to the consultant I hadn’t had any trauma their response was well you have had a stroke. So guess that’s the trauma they talk about.

It was the right side of my brain that was hit by my stroke. I do sit and tap my right foot often & even try my left foot (although it doesn’t play ball). I can feel pain in my leg/foot. I will have a look at the mirror box therapy as not tried that.

Maybe I am being too impatient & just need to give it more time. Like you say progress is probably being made even if I don’t realise it.

Compared to some FND sufferers I have gor off quite lightly & for that I am grateful.

Thank you again.

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@Mrs5K, aye indeed, patience is required but also don’t stop working on it, as trying should be cathartic, and not disheartening. It’s good that you can feel pain as that means synapses are working in that area.

The brain is complex, and over time our brains have developed to be even more complex than when we started out in life, so it’s not surprisingly that when something goes wrong it takes such a long time to sort it all out. We can’t get someone in to fix our brains, so must do it ourselves. Hope you are having a decent week, regardless of post stroke issues. :smiley:

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Thanks @Rups i’ll keep on trying. Not too good at giving up :grin::grin:
My week is going ok once I manage to get out of bed in a morning (that’s been a struggle this week). Hope your week is going well too.


I had my appointment on Friday which went pretty much as expected.

Ollie does help lift my toes which reduces my chances of tripping over but he doesn’t help any with the foot dragging / my walking.

They have no other orthotic options that I can try (I think i tried them all over my previous appointments :grin:) so they are discharging me back to the stroke consultant / physio.

I am expecting the physio to discharge me at the next appointment too as she told me last time that if this didn’t work there wasn’t anything else they could do. I am ok with this as there’s no point going back & forth to have the same conversation each time. I may look at private physio as finances allow.

I am, I think, on a waiting list to see a neuropsychologist. The only thing that hasn’t been tried yet. The orthotist I saw said he was going to ask my physio / GP to chase this up as i’ve been waiting over a year & heard nothing.

For now I am going to have to make do with my poor walking style & hope with more and more rehab practice that it changes for the better.

Frustrating yes but it could be worse.


@Mrs5K oh Ann I thought they might offer some other device to help you. I am sorry.

You don’t need them anyway as you are trying things for yourself and keeping on trying to walk further afield.

If you feel ranty go for it, but I know you are very calm when you hand out advice.

What’s going to happen for work as I know you’re keen to get back on a phased return.

I hope your neurophysiologist appointment comes round quickly and they may be able to give you more advice.

My bestest wishes Loraine :hugs::hugs:

@Loshy Hi Loraine, thank you for your support & kind words.

I will keep on trying as many different things as I can to get my walking back where it needs to be. It is such hard work walking anywhere which makes it very restricting. I’m more concerned that my poor walking is going to give me a vad hip, back & knee. I’ll just exercise them to minimise any impact.

Going back to work will still happen. Part of my adjustments will be no travelling for now so i will be office/home based for a while. We’ve removed the trip hazards from the office so I should be ok. :crossed_fingers::crossed_fingers: just waiting for bits of kit & equipment to arrive so I can start back.

Thank you again for all your support. It means a lot.

Best wishes

Ann xxx


@Mrs5K thats great news moving the office to you until you can get back inside the brick office.

Just remember not to over do it like… I’ll just do another piece of work and tag on 20 to 30 mins extra. I wish you lots of luck and you are a great support to me and everyone else too thanks. Loraine x :hugs::hugs:

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Hello Ann. I have been following your orthotic journey with much admiration. You have persevered with determination and an open mind from what I’ve read. It is very hard when there is an ongoing suggestion, often from multiple sources, that something can be done in one form or another. Hope can be a double edged sword. Never give up working around the problem yourself even if you can’t fix it how you want, but acceptance and finding ways of living the best version of what you’ve got and at the same time keeping an open view of help from external sources is difficult. I am due an opthalmology review in a couple of weeks and have had to keep going back for 3 monthly reviews which after 18 months have achieved and are achieving nothing does mess with my head. Surely they are going to discharge me soon, it is certainly something I need to discuss with them, only the appointment is not with the consultant, but the optometrist, who won’t be able to comment.
Keep on working on what you can achieve ( as I’m sure you do), and really all the best on your return to the workplace. All good wishes, Julia x

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@Mrs5K sorry to hear they’ve got nothing else to offer but you’ve got determination and strength of character on your side. Hopefully the neuropsychologist can offer something to help.

Best wishes

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@JuliaH hi Julia great support from you as always.

Hope you get something sorted. You and Ann @Mrs5K have great spirit and tenacious attitudes. It must be frustrating for you both.

Hope your holiday went well. Be in touch for that coffee kindest wishes Loraine x