Such a lot has happened in the last week so I will condense it and give you the abbreviated run down. We moved back into our house (still a work in progress), I lost my voice (much to my children’s amusement), my car went in for repairs ( and my loan car is much nicer – can I keep it please?) and Ashley has had Gait Analysis.
Ashley’s cerebral palsy effects the way she walks. She has increased tone in her leg muscles (this makes them extra tight). When kids grow the bones grow first and then the muscles stretch to meet them. When you have muscles that are already tight this creates quite a problem. We have reached the stage where we are going to have to have surgery to release the tendons and muscles in Ashley’s legs so that her knee and ankle joints can continue to function and so that she can still walk.
Gait analysis is a complicated process. It takes between 4-6 hours and requires a lot of patience and endurance (for mummy as well as Ashley). The first step is to measure her range of movement, angles of joints, length of legs and feet. Then special sticky balls are applied (you can see them glowing in the picture), then electrodes on the muscles.
Then it’s into the lab, which is also used by elite athletes. Special cameras are positioned around the room designed to pick up the position of the dots and feed the information back to a computer that then creates an animation of Ashley’s legs. The floor in this room also has receptor plates that measure how her weight is distributed when she walks. The electrodes are plugged into a battery pack and feed back to another computer to show how her muscles are ‘firing’.
Then it is several hours of standing still, walking up and down the room and finally the endurance round which involves non stop walking in a circle until she can go no further.
Ash was a champion. Part-way through she had a cry and asked why were we doing this to her, which nearly broke my heart. Some chocolate helped get the mood back though and in the end we played music on my iPhone to keep her going. This little girl is amazing!
Just to add to the challenge I had little miss 18 months with me and had to keep her amused throughout the process too! By the time we were finished I felt like I had run a marathon myself but all Ashley wanted was to get back to school. She never lets anything get her down for long!