Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFO)
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.
- Ankle Stability
- Control of ankle motion
- Protection for the feet
- Proprioceptive feedback
Some main categories of Ankle Foot Orthoses are listed below.
Flexible ankle foot orthosis- is 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.
- Made from polypropylene plastic
- Velcro closures
- Recommended for foot drop with Stroke (CVA), Multiple Sclerosis, Poliomyelitis or nerve injuries
Hinged ankle foot orthosis are used to control plantar and/or dorsi flexion (up or down movements of the foot) and side to side movements. The hinged ankle foot orthosis can be a plastic design - see picture of custom hinged ankle foot orthosis, or a Klenzak orthosis (conventional style).
- Large variety of ankle joints (hinges) available
- Joints selected according to client needs, weight, activity level
- Recommended for foot drop with Stroke (CVA) or Cerebral Palsy; and in Arthritic or painful conditions to limit ankle motion
Tubular ankle foot orthosis - also called a circumferential AFO, the tubular AFO encloses the entire lower leg and foot, like a cast. Sorry, no picture...
- Lined with foam and leather
- Ultimate stability for the leg and foot
- Protection of sensitive skin
- Recommended in complications from Diabetes Mellitus or Peripheral Neuropathies
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.
- Worn without a shoe
- Rockered soling allows for a smooth gait
- Recommended for Diabetic Ulcer complications and/or a Charcot Joint.
Silicone Ankle Foot Orthosis (SAFO) - the SAFO is a new design used for people who have a flaccid paralysis of the feet.
- Circumferential, low-profile design
- Worn with or without shoes
- Optimal proprioception
- Excellent plantar flexion (drop foot) control
- Recommended with Charcot-Marie Tooth Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Poliomyelitis, Stroke and Spinal Cord Injury
Photo courtesy of Dorset Orthopaedic Company Ltd.
Is an Ankle Foot Orthoses (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 at our Mississauga or Guelph location 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 Ankle Foot Orthoses, 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 Ankle Foot Orthosis 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 Assistive 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 AFOs. 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 patient 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 foot drop. 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. "