AFO Brace for Foot Drop: How to Find the Perfect Fit?

AFO Brace for Foot Drop

Foot Drop is a term named for condition in which one is unable to raise the front part of the feet. This causes difficulty in mobility such as walking around safely.

 

There are different reasons for this condition such as orthopedic or neurological conditions.

It is usually caused when muscle tone is changed in the leg and foot that affects the coordination of both and makes it difficult to have strength and raise the forefoot.

Treatment of Foot Drop (AFO)

It is important to treat the condition otherwise it can lead to abnormalities, long term injuries to leg and foot, high risk of falling or deformed posture. There are various devices in market that assists people while they suffer from issues in mobility that are resulted by foot drop.

 

The initial treatment for foot drop is using foot drop brace also known as Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFO brace).

 

 

Foot drop brace can help in improving the gait deviation and walking mobility with disorders. These are designed to reduce flexion while giving support to front foot and the joint while movement.

 

However, there are elements that determine whether the foot drop brace or AFO is appropriate for particular case.

 

 

The conventional device covers from calf to front foot. This tradition Ankle foot orthoses is used for foot drop is restricted to the ankle dorsiflexion movement while maintaining the foot hemiparetic in constant position to enable swing.

 

 

Whereas the ankle joint restriction damage the gait rhythm and causes high utilization of energy while walking. This reduces this issue, foot drop braces which are hinge applied are made to enable flexibility while the response is being loaded to that affects lower limb while decreasing the energy utilization of hemiparetic gait.

 

It is called as Dynamic Ankle Foot Orthosis. A hinged AFO is suitable only if more severe spasticity is not present, though.

 

 

The dynamic ankle foot uses flexible and thin thermoplastic, the DAFO may give circumferential control of the rear and forefoot to maintain a neutral alignment because it closely fits the foot.

 

A “neurological” footplate, which consisted of a pad at the peroneal & calf location with dorsiflexing the toes, was frequently incorporated into the earliest designs of DAFOs. Moreover, DAFO’s are also build shoes for daily life activities such as outdoor activities.

AFO Brace for Foot Drop
AFO Brace for Foot Drop

What Type of Exercise is Good for Your Bone Health?

There are different characteristics that one requires in their ankle foot orthoses brace. They differ according to condition and preferences.

 

  • Soft or rigid – The more rigid the AFO brace is, the more stronger and supportive grip it will give while softer brace is comfortable and does not irritate skin tissues.
  • Customized or prefabricated – You can customize your own brace according to your needs and structure that fits you however for short term, prefabricated can be used for temporary purposes.
  • Budget-friendly or expensive – The costs vary from design and type of AFO braces so it is up to your preference and pocket.
  • Concealed or visible – Some people prefer to conceal their brace so other people cannot see it while others prefer it to be visible.

Before you purchase an AFO, ensure that it is tested and approved by experts, it is easy to wear along shoes, it is ankle supportive and protect the foot from dropping and ensure that it has a balance and strong support.

 

Ankle Foot Orthoses is used as a foot drop brace as a temporary solution for support instead of being a permanent treatment. However, exercises are recommended for foot drop regularly that will aid in regaining the use of foot and ankle.

 

As the exercise will continue it will eliminate the need for foot drop brace and one will be able to walk without AFO.

How Do I Lessen the Drop in my Footwork?

One or both feet may experience a mild to severe case of foot drop. Ankle foot orthoses are commonly used as a first-line treatment (AFO brace).


Patients with drop foot hemiplegia disease often benefit from the use of ankle foot orthoses, also known as AFOs, in order to correct their gait deviation and return their walking patterns to normal.


Toe clearance in healthy people is mostly accomplished through functional lower limb shortening, which involves hip and knee flexion and ankle dorsiflexion.


 In addition, when the ankle joint is impaired, the affected foot has less room for the toes to wiggle, which results in a knee and hip hike to make up for the ankle’s range of motion.


For those who suffer from foot drop conditions, this is a key contributor to the risk of falling.


Traditional ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) for foot drop work by preventing the hemiparetic foot from moving in all directions other than dorsiflexion. This limited ankle motion, however, throws off the gait cycle and forces the body to work harder to cover the same distance.


In order to address this problem, hinge-applied AFO braces were created to permit some ankle flexibility during the loading response on the affected lower limb, thereby somewhat lowering the energy cost of hemiparetic gait. Dynamic Ankle Foot Orthosis is the common name for this device (DAFO).


The term “Dynamic Ankle Foot Orthosis” (DAFO) is commonly used to describe Supra-Malleolar Orthoses that are individually molded from lightweight thermoplastic.


DAFO uses circumferential control of the rear and forefoot to keep the foot in a neutral position, made possible by using flexible and thin thermoplastic.


A ‘neurological’ footplate, consisting of a pad at the peroneal & calf site and dorsiflexing the toes, was commonly incorporated into the earliest designs of DAFOs.

AFO Brace for Foot Drop
AFO Brace for Foot Drop

People with foot drop due to neurological abnormalities or nerve damage that have caused unusual gait.

 

Those who want to improve their walking efficiency and get their gait back to a regular rhythm.

 

 

It’s important to make sure the orthosis…

  • Has undergone rigorous testing.
  • Goes well with footwear and is simple to put on.
  • Helps maintain healthy dorsiflexion of the ankle.
  • Prevents the foot and ankle from collapsing inward.
  • Enables a range of motion in the ankle, facilitating exercises like squatting and lunging.
  • Offers reinforcement only where it’s needed while sacrificing extra weight and bulk for a more refined appearance.
  • Facilitates better equilibrium by addressing hip joint compensation and limb asymmetry.

 

Find the right fit of AFO brace for treating your foot drop. Find out what should be included in an AFO brace and why it might benefit you.

 

 

Also Read: Foot Drop Exercises: Get Back on Your Feet with Confidence.

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