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Jun 30, 2023

Excited Helena gets her first pair of orthotic shoes

News Orthotics and Custom Footwear

Five-year-old Helena, started kindergarten this year and like many children her age, she loves school and painting.

However, unlike most five year olds, Helena has spent a large part of her childhood in and out of hospital. Helena was born with diastrophic dysplasia, a rare genetic disorder that affects the development and growth of her bones and cartilage. Because of this, Helena has short wide feet that are fixed in a plantar flexed position (where they point downwards) requiring her to wear ankle foot orthoses (AFO)s to protect the position of her feet.

Cognitively she’s perfect. She’s acing classes and we’ve done so much to encourage that side of her as well as working on her physical attributes, while she’s struggled with those, her brain is in overdrive


While Helena’s AFOs are crucial to her development, they’re not waterproof and aren’t suitable for certain activities, limiting Helena’s ability to play outdoors with her school friends.

Helena’s mum, Jamie approached Northcott’s Pedorthist (bespoke bootmaker), Craig Scott to design shoes for Helena that fit over her AFO’s, allowing her participate in a range of outdoor activities and on uneven surfaces.

Craig designed custom made boots for Helena, which are a similar style to regular school shoes and meet all of Helena’s needs.

“She can interact with the kids in the playground, unlike the AFO’s which is what she had previously, they’re waterproof, and they meet school’s criteria to have shoes on your feet. They allow for more integration and to be part of the classroom. She can have her independence and actually go out in the playground with something on her feet” Craig said.

Jamie, who was inspired to become a nurse and get into the field of disability to understand more about her daughter, is thrilled to have come across Craig and Northcott, who she heard about through word of mouth.

Jamie believes the custom designed boots will improve Helena’s overall experience at school, where her physical, social and educational needs will now all be met.

“They’re less conspicuous than her AFOs, and will help her to blend in at school” Jamie said.

“Her father, Jacob, and myself, want her to grow up the best way we can enable her to. We’re going to empower her with everything we can.  We hope she takes everything we’ve given her and goes on to do great things.” Jamie said.

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