Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFO)
Ankle foot orthoses or AFO's help to provide stability, control and protection for the feet. They also help to provide proprioceptive feedback so that we know where our feet are in space - something important for people who have peripheral neuropathy associated with diseases such as diabetes mellitus and Charcot Marie Tooth.
Ankle foot orthoses are made according to the specific needs of each person. They are made in many different styles according to the medical, biomechanical and environmental needs of the individual.
For a no charge assessment to find out if an AFO is appropriate for you, please contact us or fill in the form on this page to request an appointment in our Mississauga or Guelph locations with a Certified Orthotist.
Some main categories of Ankle Foot Orthoses are listed below.
Custom flexible ankle-foot
Hinged ankle foot
Flexible AFO Hinged AFO
Flexible ankle foot orthosis- a light weight straightforward design that prevents the foot from plantar flexing (dropping) to allow a smooth swing of the foot without catching the toe on the ground. Variations in the shape and strapping are made based on client needs. The Flexible AFO is usually made from polypropylene plastic with hook and loop (Velcro) closures for the strap. The flexible AFO is often used for people who have had a stroke (CVA), Multiple Sclerosis, poliomyelitis or other nerve injuries.
Hinged ankle foot orthosis are effective devices that are used to control plantar and/or dorsi flexion (up or down movement of the foot) and side to side movement. Several designs are used with a large variety of joints (hinges) available. The type of joint selection is based on the client needs and consideration is made for weight and shape of device. The hinged AFO is most often used for people who have foot drop due to issues such as stroke (CVA) or Cerebral Palsy. The hinged ankle foot orthosis can be plastic - see picture of custom hinged ankle foot orthosis, or Klenzak orthosis (conventional style).
Tubular ankle foot orthosis - also called a circumferential AFO, the tubular AFO encloses the entire lower leg and foot. The removable, cast-like brace provides ultimate stability and protection for the leg and foot. The brace is lined usually with foam and leather to give added protection to the sensitive skin. The tubular AFO is most often used for people with complications from Diabetes Mellitus or other Peripheral Neuropathies. (Sorry no picture)
Charcot Restraint Orthotic Walker - also known as a CROW is a custom made brace that is designed to immobilize the foot and ankle and offload pressure. It is commonly used for people who have complications due to diabetic neuropathy such as diabetic ulcers and/or a Charcot Joint. The brace is designed to be worn without a shoe and has a regular sole on the bottom with a rockered shape to allow for a smooth gait.
Silicone Ankle Foot Orthosis (SAFO) - the SAFO is a new design used for people who have a flaccid paralysis of the feet with pathologies such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Poliomyelitis, Stroke and Spinal Cord Injury. The circumferential design offers optimal proprioception (so you "know where your feet are") with excellent plantar flexion (dropfoot) control. The very low profile device can be worn with or without shoes. Photo courtesy of Dorset Orthopaedic Company Ltd.
Is an ankle foot orthosis (AFO) for you?
To find out if an AFO is appropriate for you, please contact us or fill in the form on the right of this page to schedule an appointment in our Mississauga or Guelph locations with a Certified Orthotist. There is no charge for the assessment and we can provide you with all of the information that you will need to make an informed decision about treatment. You can also call (905) 828-2969 or toll free 1-866-829-2969 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the process to get an AFO?
The process for obtaining an AFO is usually as follows:
1. See your family doctor for a diagnosis of your problem (for example, foot drop due to a stroke)
2. The doctor would write a prescription for the AFO with a diagnosis (for example, Dx - Stroke, foot drop, Tx - AFO)
3. Book an appointment with us for an assessment
- Mississauga (905) 828-2969
- The Orthotic Center at The Credit Valley Hospital (905) 813-4050
- Guelph (519) 826-9890
- Toll free 1-866-829-2969
4. When you come in for the assessment, we will:
- take a detailed medical history
- perform a physical examination of your lower extremities
- perform a biomechanical examination
- perform a gait analysis (how you walk - with or without walker, cane, AFOs or other gait aid)
- explain to you about treatment options
5. If you choose to proceed with an AFO, we will:
- take a cast impression of your foot and leg
- custom make your AFO at our laboratory in Mississauga (this process takes approximately one to two weeks)
- have you return for the fitting and re-evaluation
- provide follow-up evaluations to ensure proper fit and function
- provide any necessary adjustments and follow-up visits as required
- complete all Ministry of Health Assistive Devices Program (ADP) paperwork
How much does an AFO cost?
The cost of an AFO will vary according to your exact needs; specialized joints, strapping and padding can affect the cost. The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care through the Assisitive Devices Program (ADP) provides partial funding for Ontario residents with a valid health card who have a chronic medical condition that necessitates the use of an AFO provided that it is prescribed by a medical doctor and provided by a Certified Orthotist. The ADP sets all of the pricing for AFO's. We will explain the funding and costs with you at the initial assessment and provide you with a detailed estimate. There are other funding options available - please ask us!
For more about funding, please click here.
Here is a story from a lady who came to us with foot drop and a prescription from her doctor for "braces":
"The first time I saw Jim was because of a footdrop. I had gone to other companies for five months with no satisfaction with shoes etc. When I saw Jim, it was for two appointments for braces he put in my shoes (that he had made recommendations about). I could walk and keep shoes on all day and I was not walking off balance. "