Thursday, March 25, 2010

Clothes and braces, a horrible combination.

I'm out of my funk and ready to kick some blog-ass again!
Classy, I know.

Over the years I've found a bunch of things to make life with EDS a little easier. When you have EDS and are stuck wearing braces, your clothing options can be limited. Braces have the amazing capability to wreck your clothes and give you horrible tan-lines. Mine were epic. It's hard to find something that is comfortable, practical and button, zipper, snap free. This also goes when your hands don't like to work. As a heads up, I will refer to Mountain Equipment Co-op as the MEC (they should pay me for this) .

When you've got to wear a brace like this:

You become a pro. at over-heating, sweating and becoming miserable. Not to mention, the brace itself will wreck ALL of your shirts. Quick-dry, breathable shirts are your saving grace. I have about 10, and spent the majority of the 1.5 yrs in that brace wearing those shirts. They are very comfortable, no buttons, snaps or zippers and are durable. You can get them from the MEC.

When it came time to get the ankle braces, I still refused to wear socks and shoes. Bad idea, you need some kind of socks. I found the greatest solution!!! I went the MEC and got some sock liners. Here's what I did to them...I cut off the toes and a little more. That way I could wear sandals, or "bare feet", my toes could still breathe and I wouldn't draw as much attention to myself. They're very light, quick dry and pretty durable.
Here's what the final product looks like:

Summer is also not the time to be wearing a huge shoulder brace and a long-sleeved shirt. I couldn't get away without anything between my arm and the brace, because the velcro would tear away at my skin. So.............I took a black sock (to match) and cut off the foot. Before putting on the brace I'd pull the sock up my arm, put on the brace and fold half the sock over the arm-section of the brace. It was a win-win situation. I could wear whatever shirt I wanted and the brace too.
You'll have to look hard but here it is:

I used to love, love, love going shoe shopping. I had "too many" shoes, as any man would say. After getting the ankle braces, I had to get rid of most of my shoes. It was a very sad day.
Now, I loathe trying to find shoes that fit. I have yet to find a pair of fun-girly shoes that fit well with the braces. I refuse to buy anything that costs more than $45 for a pair, because they'll get destroyed from the braces in about 2 months. Once again because I'm a MEC whore, I have found some really good wide, supportive, practical, water-proof, durable EDS friendly shoes/boots.The brand is called Keen (I have their paddle sandals too, but can't wear 'em anymore)I've had them for 6months, and yes the braces have eaten the insides of them but they're still in really good shape. For sandals it took forever to find a pair that would fit with the braces and stay on my feet, but I found a pair. They're Teva's I also have the pair of their shoes (middle pic.) that are brace friendly.

I know I'm not anywhere close to being a fashionista (not that I care), but I am comfortable. Everything fits, my skin is still intact and it works for me! Finding fun clothes that work with EDS has been a chore, but I've been lucky to find things I like.

Tips on LIVING with EDS

Comfort should be your #1 priority. We're already uncomfortable enough with the pain, why make it worse with clothes?

When shopping find clothes that are practical. When I say practical, it means that it should be practical for you, forget everyone else you're the one wearing it.

Don't get hung-up on what you can't wear, it's better than wearing a moo-moo.

Don't EVER be ashamed, be proud that you made it work!

"When life gives you lemons, clone them and make super-lemons!!"
(Clone High)


  1. Ugh, I attempted my first post-op shopping trip today in about 6 months to find something for Easter and it was kind of a disaster. I've had almost 4 months to get used to the idea of being the blob in the wheelchair now (it's amazing how being unable to walk and exercise just makes me feel fat), but today was the first time I've looked in a mirror or put on anything that wasn't sweatpants and a t-shirt in months...let's just say it didn't go incredibly well. It seems things tend to look a bit different sitting than standing. I think it's going to take me a while to get used to the new body image. You make a very good point, though, when you advise not to get too hung-up on what you can't wear. I've definitely got to work on that one! I was always one to dress up on a daily basis, and unfortunately I'm not finding much emotional comfort in the physical comfort and practicality of the pants that'll fit with my casts. I'm sure it still stems from my discomfort being stuck with the chair and all the braces, but you've got to do what you've got to do, right? Maybe I'll check out this MEC stuff. It sounds like a pretty good compromise. Thanks for the advice!

  2. I have to say I've never seen such a heavy duty shoulder brace. I feel sorry for you but your positive attitude is admirable. Thanks for the personal insight.

    Bruce Walseth

  3. Thank you for the info! I'm worried about what will happen when I start getting braces and support when it comes to my shoes and clothes, and this post has led me to some info I can use later. :)