This blog post will discuss where to find a local provider of AFOs. It will also discuss other commonly asked questions about AFOs such as :
1.) What Does AFO Stand for? 2.) The Best AFO for Foot Drop 3.) What is an AFO Device? 4.) Spring Loaded AFOs 5.) Foot Drop Brace (or Braces) 6.) Ankle Foot Orthosis for Foot Drop 7.) Socks for AFO Braces 8.) AFO Socks for Adults
For those individuals that live in Chicagoland, Rinella Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc. provides a great service to obtain your new AFO. The # is 815-717-8970. If individuals can not travel to Rinella O&P, we travel to them.
1.) What Does AFO Stand For?
The acronym AFO stands for Ankle Foot Orthosis. Orthosis is a fancy word for “brace” or “external support”.
2.) The Best AFO For Foot Drop
Through experience, we believe that the best AFO for foot drop is one that is custom made. There are many AFOs out there. Some on the internet that are prefabricated, others that are custom made. We recommend custom made ones, when possible, because the process is different than “getting shoes” for example. The AFO (which is usually made from 3/16″ plastic for adults, thinner plastic for children) is something that fits snugly around the foot, ankle and lower leg. There is only a little build up for the ankles that is done so they do not rub when a person walks. The shape and measurements around the foot are unique. For example, you may already know that your arch height is different than someone else in your family for example. The same is true for the circumference and shape of your heel, the width of your midfoot and forefoot. You may also have boney prominences that are different than that of another individual that need to be accounted for. All of these specific details can be accounted for with your custom AFO. – Since getting a shoes is typically made out of softer materials that are not as snug as a brace, the process is easier for the average consumer to get a prefabricated pair of foot wear – AFOs are different though.
3.) What is an AFO Device?
An AFO device is something that helps people walk better that have foot drop or other walking ailments. The reason so many people have not heard about them and actually have heard more about canes is mainly due to the fact that AFOs are concealed. (See picture) – AFOs hold the foot / toe up when you walk so people with drop foot do not have to constantly focus on bringing their foot up when the walk. This decreases energy expenditure, improves balances and decreases fall potential. This video will help you to understand them in more detail. We hope you find it useful :
4.) Spring Loaded AFOs
There are unique joints that can be added to an AFO, called dorsiflexion assist joints. They are not for everyone and we recommend that you speak with us before getting them because for certain individuals we do not advise getting them… Some people like to call it (dorsiflexion assist joints) a “spring loaded AFO”. In sum, what these braces do is kick up the foot when you walk with the spring from the joint. This helps people not drag their foot, thus helping them walk better.
5.) Foot Drop Brace
The term foot drop brace is often used to describe an AFO. There are many different versions of a custom foot drop brace. Depending on your strength levels and range of motion you might get one version over another. Some have less plastic that surrounds the ankles if your knee strength is very good, while other people have more plastic around the ankle to help indirectly support the knee. Just so you know… A Foot Drop Brace is an AFO.
6.) Ankle Foot Orthosis for Foot Drop
This is the long version of an AFO for Foot Drop. Rinella Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc. provides these to people in Chicagoland all the time for gait improvement. Please see our video above for an in depth review of an ankle foot orthosis for foot drop.
7.) Socks For AFO Braces
Cotton socks are what we usually recommend to people who use AFOs. We recommend that you consider the height of the brace and at least surpass the height of the AFO. Any sock is better than no sock, but just so you know there are no brand names that work best with an AFO.
8.) AFO Socks for Adults
As stated in our previous paragraph, there are no perfect socks to be worn with an AFO. We do however recommend that if you are thinking about the socks you wear, please wear some that surpass the height of the device. This helps when you squat down so the plastic from the brace does not pinch the top of your calf or bottom of your thigh.
If you need an AFO, give us a call. We are happy to help. 815-717-8970