This blog will discuss what a “Flexible” AFO means. We will also discuss its indications.
Please have a look at the picture below :
A “flexible” AFO is different that what you might initially guess. The term, “flexible” does not mean that it moves or can bend in a certain direction. A flexible AFO (ankle foot orthosis) is one in which the plastic is trimmed back behind the ankle. In our other posts you will see a solid AFO and there is an obvious difference. We will include a picture of a solid ankle AFO below this first picture so you can see for yourself.
Of the categories associated with AFOs, a flexible AFO has the least amount of plastic associated with the ankle. Its primary purpose is to help hold the foot up when you walk. They are actually very effective if you have a foot drop with absolutely no knee weakness.
2.) For Comparison’s Sake : A Picture Of A Solid AFO
Just so you can compare, you will see that here is a picture of a “solid” ankle AFO. This particular style has probably the most plastic incorporated into the ankle section, as compared to the opposite with a flexible style. The only way you would get more plastic in the ankle section of an AFO is to incorporate a pre-tibial shell and have it come down to the ankle section.
The bottom line is that you can see that there is a big difference between what a flexible AFO is and what a solid ankle AFO is. The first one, as we have mentioned earlier, holds up the foot when you walk. This second option to the left here, will also help hold up the foot when a person walks, but it also helps to provide indirect support to the knee as well.
3.) The Design Choice
Every patient has a say in what style of AFO they will need. However, just because your AFO is a “Flexible” and someone else got a “Solid”, does not mean there is anything wrong with your AFO. An orthotist (professional brace maker / provider) will try to give you the least amount of brace as possible. However, an orthotist will also think of the possibility that you might get tired later in the day and may need to receive more supportive type AFO as a result. – We hope this information has helped you understand the differences between these two different AFO styles.
If you need to obtain an AFO (any style) call Rinella Orthotics, Inc. today. 815-717-8970. We service Chicago and all of its suburbs.