AFOs address many leg problems. Most common are dropfoot and ankle and knee instabilities. Specific diseases and symptoms include: Polio, MS, ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, CVA or stroke, CP or cerebral palsy, quadriceps weakness, peripheral neuropathy, paraplegia, hemiplegia, quadriplegia, Spina Bifida, genu-recurvatum, or hyperextension or back-knee, genu-valgum or knock-knee, genu-varum or bowlegs.
What does AFO stand for?
Ankle-Foot-Orthosis (brace) This is a generic description for many types braces for this part of the body.
Will an AFO make me walk funny
No, not usually. If someone needs an AFO they usually already use gait compensations that are obvious to others. One goal of a brace is to help you walk closer to normal. This means: less wear on other joints, less pain in other joints, ability to walker longer distances, walk faster, walk safer, and to look less different from how others walk.
What are the different types of AFOs?
There are so many now, some are specialized to a specific need. Metal and leather uprights attached to the shoe were the first. Then came plastic (polypropylene and copolymer) that could be moved from shoe to shoe. The following list will give some idea of the many designs we work with.
Traditional metal/leather short leg brace: The original brace used until the development of plastics. Metal with hinges at the ankle it was attached to the shoe. It is still used for a limited number of situations but not often because of problems with shoe limitations and weight.
Foot-Up AFO: This is a Velcro closure ankle band that attaches/detaches to an elastic strap that is attached to the shoe. The result is a simple brace for a flail, mild dropfoot that can be moved from shoe to shoe. This can also be used with no shoes on.
Carbon AFO: This is a very lightweight brace that fits in the shoe under the insole. It takes up less space in the shoe than the standard plastic AFO and can still be moved from shoe to shoe.
WalkAide: This is the cutting-edge AFO for dropfoot. It is a computer programmed unit that stimulates toe-pickup when appropriate when walking. The unit is a calf-band with a small microprocessor attached. Stimulation of the muscles is provided by two electrodes over the muscles (much like a tens unit). This can be used with no shoes on. (FOR MORE INFORMATION CLICK ON THE PICTURE.)
Leather/plastic hybred AFO: This brace works well for the highly arthritic foot, deformed foot or any foot requiring maximal limitation of movement. It combines the lightness and strength of a plastic AFO with a leather foot corset that compresses all around the foot to limit motion. A highly effective brace for many highly deformed feet.
Night Splint: Used to treat the pain of plantar fasciitis, this brace is worn only at night
CAM walker: Used temporarily after foot surgeries, healing fractures or other ankle injuries
Multipodus Boot: For prevention of heel-cord contractures from prolonged bedrest.
*The choice and engineering of the right brace and its components requires a thorough knowledge of the limitations and capabilities. That is our specialty. We have access to almost any brace and make many of them ourselves. We are always happy to provide a free evaluation. If you’ve had braces please bring them with you.