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The term AFO is an acronym that stands for Ankle Foot Orthosis ( AFO ) and describes the part of the body that the brace encompasses. An ankle foot Orthosis (AFO) controls the range of motion in your foot and ankle and helps to stabilize its position. It is used to treat various neuromuscular (nerve and muscle) diseases and disorders and to also provide functionality after an injury or a surgery. Good foot and ankle alignment is vital for balancing and distributing weight when you are standing and walking.

The AFOs are designed to meet your specific needs. As each person is unique, so is his or her response to treatment. As you adjust to this new and proper alignment, you may experience some discomfort. The adjustment period usually ranges from one to six weeks when the recommended wearing guidelines are followed.

Types of AFOs

We evaluate your condition and then fit you with the appropriate ankle foot orthosis. Depending on your condition, you could be fitted with any type of AFOs listed below:

  • Static AFO
  • Dynamic AFO
  • Foot Drop Splint
  • PLS Type AFO
  • Hinged Ankle AFO
  • Flexible AFO
  • Tubular AFO
  • Fixed AFO

You are provided with customised and fabricated AFOs that suit your particular and specific needs.

Wearing

  • Your AFO has been prescribed for you and is intended for your use only.
  • Your AFO is designed to conform to the shape of your foot and ankle and may feel slightly ‘strange’ due to the realignment of your lower limb, and pressure redistribution. It will therefore require a gentle breaking-in period.

Wear time

  • When you are first fitted with your AFO you should wear into it gradually. This allows you to get used to wearing the AFO and allows the skin to gradually build up resistance to the pressures which the brace is applying. You should check your skin regularly during the first few weeks. You may experience some general muscle aches until you are used to wearing the AFO.
  • If you experience any pain or discomfort, remove the AFO from your shoes for at least two to four hours, and then try again. If pain persists, stop wearing the AFO and make an appointment to see us for an adjustment.
  • You will achieve the greatest long-term benefits when you consistently wear your AFO every day.
  • There may be cases where your doctor recommends a different wearing regime, such as only at night or for specific times. These instructions will be given to you when your AFO is fitted.

 

 

Shoes

  • Select good shoes with proper support and always try them on with the AFO in place to ensure proper fit and comfort.
  • The best type of shoes to wear with your AFO feature a closed back and toe; come up over the top of the foot like laced-up sport shoes; low heels; a removable liner; and a slightly wider width to accommodate the AFO.
  • Be sure to wear stockings or long cotton socks (which are a little higher than the top of the AFO) to minimize the possibility of skin irritation.
  • During use, ensure that footwear is secured as tightly as is comfortable.
  • Special shoes for children are available at Hope Center to wear with AFOs.

Skin care

Your skin should be inspected regularly, especially in the first few weeks after you have been fitted with a new AFO. A close fitting orthosis can sometimes cause some redness on the skin around the edges of the orthosis and where the AFO is applying corrective pressures. Check your skin thoroughly especially over bony areas and around the edges of the AFO. If you see a red area that does not go away within 30 minutes of removing the AFO, or notice a break in the skin or blisters you should stop wearing the AFO and make an appointment with us to have it adjusted.

Caring for your AFO

Cleaning: Use an antibacterial soap and warm water to wipe the inside surfaces of your AFO. Towel dry the AFO completely before putting it back on. Avoid drying in direct sources of heat (such as on the heater or using a hair dryer) as this can deform the plastic.

Straps and Padding: The straps and padding may become worn and can be replaced. To arrange repairs please contact Hope Center.

Plastic: Inspect the plastic regularly, checking for any cracks or areas of fatigue. Never attempt to repair, trim or adjust the AFO yourself, if a problem arises contact Hope Center immediately.

Joints: Some AFO’s may have joints at the ankle. These should be checked before each time the AFO is used looking for any dents or cracks and for making sure that all rivets and screws are secure.

 

Review

  • We would recommend that your brace is reviewed by service provider at least once every 12 months to ensure the device is still meeting your needs and to check for any wear and tear.
  • Children may need their AFO changed more often as they grow or gain weight. We would recommend that your brace is reviewed at least every six months.
  • Never attempt to repair or adjust your brace yourself. If you are experiencing any problems or have questions regarding your brace, please contact Hope Center.
  • Please remember to bring your AFO, when attending appointments with us even if it is broken or no longer fits.
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