"Obstacles are the things in our way that give us the courage and desire to take a new direction" - Nona Leatherwood Maxwell
My name is Nona Leatherwood Maxwell. I am the inventor of the AFO Liner. I was born in Oklahoma in 1953. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, woodcarver, canemaker, inventor, and avocational archaeologist.
I was diagnosed with Charcot Marie Tooth Disease, aka CMT, in my early 20s. The challenges of my disease greatly influenced the direction my life would take.
I have no idea what my life would have been like had I not had CMT. But my life with CMT surely has been no less exciting, challenging and fulfilling.
Raised on an Oklahoma farm, I recall the difficulties my Father faced being a farmer with CMT. Walking across a plowed field, climbing on his tractor, or turning a bolt was never easy. But with dignity, strong will, a love for farming, and never complaining, my Dad would always .find a way. to accomplish the tasks of a farmer. And just as my father, I am always looking to "find a way." When one door closes, another opens.
By my late 20s, I was advised to use a walking cane
I wanted to stay active, have more energy, independence and continue doing all the things that I love to do. But I did not want to use just any old cane and I couldn't find one I liked, so I became a canemaker.
And then again, as my disease slowly progressed, I needed to wear AFOs (leg braces).
I loved the stability and energy that my AFOs gave me. But it was clear to me that, by themselves, they were not a finished product. You wouldn't buy a wheelchair without a cushion. My AFOs required a cushion between my skin and the brace material. A knee sock worked as a cushion. But it created several problems, some of which included aching legs, hot sweaty feet and legs, and skin irritations.
I came to realized that most of my problems would be solved if I didn't have to wear knee socks under my braces. So I developed the AFO Liner. The AFO Liner is a sleeve that fits on the brace itself. This eliminates the need for knee socks.
Bonus fashion options with AFO Liners.
The AFO Liners not only solved some discomfort issues for me but also opened a whole new world for fashion. The AFO Liners come in black, tan, and white. With the tan AFO Liners on my brace and sheer hosiery, I can dress for business or evening. Or go sockless in sandals. With white AFO Liners, I can add a SmartKnit mini-crew sock and wear sport shoes. For winter season, my favorite is the black AFO Liner along with a comfortable black AFO sock. This keeps my feet and legs warm and comfortable.
For business men, I recommend a black AFO Liner with a companion black seamless sock. A variety of healthy comfortable companion socks are available on the afoliner.com website.
My goal is to fit as many AFOs as possible, especially children's AFOs. AFO Liners can make the AFO experience a lot easier. I am happy to say that we have been able to fit many shapes and sizes of AFOs and are working to develop new products as AFOs change.