1890 Silver Cross Blvd. #255 New Lenox IL 60451

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1890 Silver Cross Blvd. #255 New Lenox IL 60451

27 W 130 Roosevelt Rd.
#2E, Winfield, IL 60190


8:30 am - 5:00 pm Monday- Friday

After hours Always Available by appointment

After Hours Available By Appointment

24/7/365 on call 1-866-746-3552

Patient Care. Dedication. Quality.

Home / Blog / Diabetic Ankle Foot Orthosis – AFO Brace

Diabetic Ankle Foot Orthosis – AFO Brace

What kind of ankle foot orthoses are available to patients with diabetes?

There are two basic kinds.  One that is plastic and one that is metal and leather and attached to a patient’s shoes.

(If you want to learn more about the plastic kind, click here : https://rinella-op.com/foot-drop-brace-afo-kafo/)

Metal AFOs, Why You Can Benefit From One

1. Reasons for using a metal ankle foot orthosis. Many patients turn to metal AFOs for a number of reasons:

A. Swelling Challenges

Patients who have some sort of edema or swelling have to have some room in the brace to allow for expansion and contraction of their leg volume.  A metal brace has lateral and media uprights that go down and up the sides of the legs below the knee and are attached with the shoes. These uprights are not usually in direct contact with the skin but are still done for a good reason.

So when can this be compared to plastic AFOs? Well, when you look at traditional leather and metal AFOs, you don’t see the same amount of room on the leg and have to brace still be effective for the patient. They can both be adjusted, but it is important to have a comment that a plastic brace needs to be in some more contact with the leg in order to be truly effective.

B. History of Using Metal AFOs

People try and use metal AFOs when they have used them in the past. This is because some people are fundamentally afraid of change. Most people have been burned at some point in their life by doing something that they don’t have a lot of experience with. The same people also might have the belief that they have used a metal AFO some time in their past and that it works, so why would they need to change it?

2. Where to Find a Metal AFO

It is important that you see some sort of professional licensed orthotist in your area to get a quality metal AFO. So, why is this the case? When you get these braces made for you then you can make sure that they are a good fit and you can get them adjusted if there is a need for that after they have been created. These are typically leather half which are attached to metal uprights which are connected to adjustable ankle joints. This sounds simple but it is not in almost every case.

3. Benefits of Metal Ankle Foot Orthoses

These sorts of braces can often be used to help and to provide some support for the ankle and foot. This is extremely important when there is a problem in the ankle joint with weakness and instability. It is extremely important to use a brace and this can help by providing some indirect support for the knee. This can help limit buckling and too much motion in the knee itself.

4. Plastic Ankle Foot Orthoses For Diabetic Patients 

Many people get plastic AFOs.  The can be very helpful and yes they are lighter than a metal AFO.  The problem is that if your skin is really sensitive, like a diabetics skin can be, you do not want any sores developing.  Typically, a plastic AFO does not create any problems at all, but they are more total contact.  This is the main point.  If something is more total contact and there are no history of sores on the foot, then you can have a discussion with your local orthotist about getting a custom plastic AFO instead.

To watch videos on a plastic AFO click here : https://rinella-op.com/foot-drop-brace-afo-kafo/

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