Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO): This type of Orthosis can serve a variety of purposes, depending on clinical indications, but is primarily used when a condition commonly described as Foot Drop exists. When an AFO is indicated, it may also provide foot and ankle stability when ligaments or boney malalignment contribute to foot or ankle instability.
There are several types of AFOs, ranging from articulated and rigid thermoplastic to dynamic graphite designs. The most appropriate design is dependent on the support required at the foot, ankle and knee.
When used as a dropfoot splint, the AFO is often designed with pre-flexed hinges that will prevent the toes from dragging when the foot is off the ground. The brace may reduce energy expenditures, allowing for a more fluid gait pattern.
Some common pathologies that can result in Foot Drop are:
- Peripheral Nerve Trauma
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA or stroke)
- Spinal Stenosis