AFO

Ankle-foot orthosis

An AFO worn on the left foot with ankle hinge

Schematic ankle-foot orthosis

An ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) is an orthosis or brace that encumbers the ankle and foot. AFOs are externally applied and intended to control position and motion of the ankle, compensate for weakness, or correct deformities. AFOs can be used to support weak limbs, or to position a limb with contracted muscles into a more normal position. They are also used to immobilize the ankle and lower leg in the presence of arthritis or fracture, and to correct foot drop; an AFO is also known as a foot-drop brace. Ankle-foot orthoses are the most commonly used orthoses, making up about 26% of all orthoses provided in the United States. According to a review of Medicare payment data from 2001 to 2006, the base cost of an AFO was about $500 to $700. An AFO is generally constructed of lightweight polypropylene-based plastic in the shape of an “L”, with the upright portion behind the calf and the lower portion running under the foot. They are attached to the calf with a strap, and are made to fit inside accommodative shoes. The unbroken “L” shape of some designs provides rigidity, while other designs (with a jointed ankle) provide different types of control.

The International Red Cross recognizes four major types of AFOs:

Flexible AFOs Anti-Talus AFOs Rigid AFOs Tamarack Flexure Joint
may provide dorsiflexion assistance, but give poor stabilization of the subtalar joint. block ankle motion, especially dorsiflexion; do not provide good stabilization for the subtalar joint. block ankle movements and stabilize the subtalar joint; may also help control adduction and abduction of the forefoot. provide subtalar stabilization while allowing free ankle dorsiflexion and free or restricted plantar flexion. Depending upon the design; may provide dorsiflexion assistance to correct foot drop.

source: Wikipedia

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