You may have been provided with an ankle-foot orthosis, or AFO, which has been selected to meet your individual needs.
The AFO aims to make standing and walking easier by:
- Controlling foot and ankle position
- Accommodating a fixed joint position
- Compensating for muscle weakness
- Reducing pain
The AFO is intended to be used solely by you. As the device is directly influencing your joint positions, it may feel strange or uncomfortable when you begin to you use it. This should ease as you gradually wear in the AFO.
The AFO is designed to work with a shoe so you should not wear the AFO without footwear.
You should gradually increase the wear time with your AFO to allow your skin to adjust to the corrective pressures being applied.
If your AFO becomes uncomfortable, discontinue use. If the pain persists then seek advice from the Orthotics department.
When selecting shoes to wear with your AFO, look for the following features:
- Enclosed heel and toe
- Secure lace or velcro fastening
- Removable insole
- Heel height recommended by your Orthotist
It is important to select supportive shoes which are comfortable to maximise the benefits of the AFO.
It is advised to wear a sock with your AFO to reduce any friction applied to your skin.
Each time you remove your AFO you should check your skin for any signs of marking or redness. If red marks persist for longer than 30mins or if the skin breaks down, discontinue use of the AFO and seek a review with your Orthotist.
It is particularly important to check your skin daily if you have reduced sensation.
There is always a risk of pressure and rubbing when wearing an AFO.
Caring for your AFO
You can clean your AFO with a damp cloth and dry with a towel. Do not dry over sources of heat as this may deform the plastic.
Check the AFO material regularly for any cracks or signs of wear and tear.
Repairs can be made to the AFO, such as strap and padding replacements.
If your AFO has ankle joints, be sure to check the integrity of the joints and screws each time you use the AFO.
Do not attempt repairs yourself, contact the Orthotics department for review.