Shared peer advice from polio survivors about what works for them.

Share your solution:

News about people who have made significant contributions to the disability community.

Share your story:


Brian Tiburzi

BABY, IT IS COLD OUTSIDE! William G. Stothers Snow and bone-chilling cold are making this a brutal winter across North America. And Phil the groundhog says it will go on for another six weeks. Bad news for people stuck in this kind of weather, especially polio survivors. We know the snow-choked wheelchair wheels, snow-banked sidewalks and curb cuts, melting messes indoors, …


Brian Tiburzi

Orthotics is the use of braces and splints (orthoses) to biomechanically assist in supporting and stabilizing parts of the body affected by paralyzed and/or weak muscles (Bunch, 1985). Orthotics, grouped by a description of the area in which they provide support, are usually divided into three categories:  lower extremity, upper extremity, and spinal. For example, in lower extremity orthotics, foot …

The Utility of Post-Polio Bracing

Brian Tiburzi

Irwin M. Siegel, MD Patients with post-polio weakness can often benefit by using an appropriate brace. Braces can 1) provide support, 2) correct a flexible deformity, or 3) relieve pain. Usually it is best to correct a fixed deformity through stretching or surgery before applying the brace. Post-polio patients require special consideration when it comes to bracing. They usually present …

Brace Yourself!

Brian Tiburzi

Along with wheelchairs, nothing conjures up as much anxiety as the idea of having to use new—or long-ago discarded—splints, braces, canes or crutches. Using supportive devices may seem like sending a beacon to the world that we are disabled. After years of functioning without obvious aids, it seems like stepping backwards. I know how difficult these transitions are. I had …

Brace Maintenance and Care Guidelines

Brian Tiburzi

Tamara Treanore, CO, ABC Daniel M. Ryan, MD Brace maintenance and care will improve the function, extend the life and improve the comfort of the brace. The following guidelines are provided for your use. Please feel free to ask any questions. I. Plastic braces: Check for discoloration in the plastic on a regular basis. Discoloration indicates that the plastic in those …

Post-Polio Clinics

Brian Tiburzi

WHO ESTABLISHES THE POST-POLIO CLINICS IN THE STATES AND HOW ARE THEY ORGANIZED? Joan L. Headley, MS, Executive Director To establish a post-polio clinic, a need has to be perceived for such a clinic. This need may be generated by the medical community, but more likely the catalyst will come from the demands of the post-polio population, in particular, the …

Facing Reality

Brian Tiburzi

Grace Young My most shocking revelation was that I really did have a disability. That didn’t happen for almost forty years after I had polio. At age 46 I started working at Kaiser and my supervisor asked me, “Grace, do you consider yourself disabled?” It was the height of affirmative-action consciousness and he needed to identify minority members of his …

Options When a Post-Polio Clinic Is Not an Option

Brian Tiburzi

Carol Vandenakker, MD Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation University of California, Davis, Health System Sacramento, California Presented at PHI’s 9th International Conference: Strategies for Living Well (June 2005) A. You must start with a good primary care physician. 1. Keys to finding a good doctor: a. Look for a physician you trust and can communicate with. b. Identify the best hospitals …

Joint Deformities

Brian Tiburzi

Modern biomechanical and gait analyses identify excessive demands being placed on the joints and muscles. Overly strained muscles, tendons, and ligaments wear out. The proper therapeutic approach is to correct any deformities and to reduce excessive strain with appropriate orthoses (bracing), assistive devices (canes, crutches, etc.), changes in lifestyle, or selective reconstructive surgery. Joint deformities are most common in the …

Swelling of Legs

Brian Tiburzi

Post-Polio Health, Volume 27, Number 4, Fall 2011 Ask Dr. Maynard Frederick M. Maynard, MD Question: I had polio in 1940. With treatment and exercise I was able to live a “normal” life and taught school for many years. At age 50, I started having new weakness. I am now 79 and my legs have shown greater weakness. I wear a full …