AFO Ankle Foot Orthosis
Braces for the lower extremities are designed to stabilize the lower leg for the purpose of weight bearing and walking. An ankle foot orthosis (AFO) is a lower leg brace typically made out of plastic and a combination of foams or leather which is worn inside of a shoe. There are other versions of AFOs which are attached to the outside of a shoe with metal, but these are not as common due to the limitation of shoe options. An AFO may be a custom molded device or a custom fitted prefabricated device. The Orthotist will select the materials used to fabricate the AFO based on the purpose of the brace and the strength needed to support the activity level of the user. Consideration must also be made to the bulk of the AFO brace and the shoe that it must fit into.
An AFO may be prescribed to promote healing after an injury or procedure providing immobilization to a fracture or surgical fixation. An AFO provides control to the foot and ankle by restricting excessive joint motion.
To promote a normal walking pattern, an AFO may be prescribed to stabilize the foot and ankle secondary to weakness. Using hinges or dynamic materials an orthosis can enhance motion when muscle activity is not strong enough and coordination is affected. Bracing can also inhibit or decrease abnormal muscle tone or cutaneous and postural reflexes.
AFOs may be designed to correct or prevent progression of a deformity by supporting the foot and ankle alignment in order to reduce weight bearing deviations. Proper position of the foot and ankle during impact is critical to safe and efficient walking.
Using high grade materials and skilled fabrication techniques the Certified Orthotist has the ability to treat a variety of lower extremity conditions. Click here to view pdf