Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)
An AFO or Ankle Foot Orthosis is used to control the motion and position of the ankle during the movements. It is a device that maintains proper alignments of the lower limb, corrects the deformities, and compensates weakness of the lower limb. It is a plastic brace that holds the foot and ankle in the right position and corrects the foot drop. It is worn on the foot and lower leg for the ankle support.
Ankle Foot Orthoses are useful for patients who have the following medical problems.
- Drop foot/ dorsiflexion weakness.
- Peroneal Nerve Injury.
- Multiple Sclerosis.
- Cerebral Vascular Accident (CVA)/Stroke.
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
- Charcot Marie Tooth Disease (CMT).
- Guillain-Barré Syndrome.
- Tibialis Posterior Dysfunction
Benefits of Ankle Foot Orthoses:
- It controls the alignment of the foot and ankle during the locomotion.
- It helps in resisting the unwanted movements in the foot and ankle.
- It helps in adaptation to the surface and provides foot clearance while walking.
- It gives the stance stability to the foot and ankle by preventing hypertension in the knee.
- It gives protection to the foot and ankle and produces gait patterns with energy efficiency.
- It helps in redistribution of the pressure with shock absorption ability.
Types of Ankle Foot Orthoses:
- Dynamic Ankle Foot Orthosis (DAFO)
- Floor Reaction Ankle Foot Orthosis (FRAFO)
- Hinged Ankle Foot Orthosis (HAFO)
- Posterior Leaf Spring Ankle Foot Orthosis (PLS-AFO)
- Solid Ankle Foot Orthosis (SAFO)
- Supramalleolar Orthosis (SMO)
Custom Made Solid AFO
- It is a thermoplastic Ankle Foot Orthosis used to stabilize the ankle, subtalar, and midtarsal joints by providing medial-lateral ankle support.
- It gives support by eliminating plantar- and dorsiflexion and holds the ankle in a subtalar neutral position.
Custom Made Hinged AFO
Leaf Spring AFO
- It is a pre-fabricated polypropylene ankle-foot orthosis.
- It is designed to support flaccid drop foot.
- It has a thin, flexible footplate for easy trimming.
- A semi-rigid section provides toe clearance and support to the knee.
- It is a low profile prefabricated leaf spring design.
- It is used to correct mild to moderate drop foot.
- An injection-molded polypropylene offers thickness on the vertical aspect for rigidity, thinness for the footplate for easy trimming, with flexibility.
Dorsiflex Assist AFO
- It is prescribed for neuromuscular conditions with foot drop and weak dorsiflexions.
- It provides dynamic dorsiflexion to assist with passive plantarflexion resistance.
- It helps in increasing the toe clearance and safety during the swing phase.
- It provides medial-lateral stabilization and allows smooth plantar flexion from initial heel contact to foot flat.
Patellar Tendon Bearing AFO
- It is a custom-molded plastic brace with metal uprights.
- The ankle joints are designed to un-weight the foot and ankle.
- It decreases the weight in the bones, joints, and tissues.
- It immobilizes the painful joints.
Ground Reaction AFO
- It improves the stability of the frontal plane.
- It limits the transverse motions at the ankle/foot complex.
- It maintains the affected joints in proper alignment depending on the treatment.
- It accentuates knee extension at midstance and compensates weakness in the triceps surae.
- The ground reaction is redistributed by the anterior shell section.
- The extension force close to the knee allows a leverage brace than distal Ankle Foot Orthosis designs.
Healpro Resting AFO
- It prevents heel ulcers and helps in the surgical positioning of the lower limb.
- It also prevents internal or external rotation of the lower limb while the patient is supine.
- It protects the fragile and compromised skin of the foot and ankle.
Plantar Fasciitis Night Splint
- It maintains a neutral 90° foot-leg angle and provides constant passive stretching of the Achilles tendon and plantar fascia.
- It provides effective healing by constant stretching.
- It is molded from plaster or fiberglass casting material, or it is prefabricated.