It’s a happy coincidence that Diane Covington lives just a few miles from a New Balance store, for two reasons. The brand’s sporty and comfortable styles are perfectly suited for Covington’s life on the go. And they come in widths that can accommodate the ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) that make her active lifestyle possible.
By Jordana Bieze Foster, Lower Extremity Review May 2015
Covington, 59, was diagnosed with Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease 30 years ago, after coworkers’ comments about her limping gait prompted her to see a neurologist. Later, when blood testing for CMT had become more widely available, her subtype was identified as CMT2A—and, in retrospect, she believes her father and paternal grandmother likely had CMT as well. The oldest of Covington’s three adult children has also been clinically diagnosed with CMT.
Covington’s symptoms include impaired balance, muscle weakness, and diminished sensation in her extremities. But, like many people with CMT, Covington was reluctant to try AFOs until her symptoms had deteriorated to the point at which she could not stand unassisted and became fatigued after 15 minutes of shopping at the mall. That was nine years ago. Now, she wears her Custom Composite AFOs literally from when she wakes up until she goes to sleep (except when bathing), and she wishes she had embraced the idea earlier.
“I can now stand up by myself in the middle of a room,” Covington said. “That doesn’t sound like a big feat, but before I would have had to hold onto something in order to stand. I really would not be able to leave the house safely without them.”