Plastic AFO (Ankle Foot Orthosis)


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What is an AFO brace?

An AFO is a device that is used to control instabilities in the lower limb by maintaining proper alignment and controlling motion.  It is most often used with patients suffering from neurological or orthopedic conditions such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, fractures, sprains and arthritis.  A plastic AFO is custom fabricated with molded plastic that encloses the back of the calf and bottom of the foot, however, there are many types of ankle foot orthosis devices.  It may be fabricated with or without ankle motion.  It is to be worn with a Velcro or lace up shoe. It should only be worn by the intended recipient.


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  • Apply a long cotton sock.
  • Loosen Velcro straps on front of AFO.
  • Slide foot into AFO.
  • Ensure that foot is properly positioned in the back of the brace and on the bottom of the footplate.
  • Fasten the Velcro straps and pull snug to make sure foot does not slide in AFO.
  • Put on shoe.

A special shoe is not needed to accommodate orthosis.  If needed, remove insole from shoe to create additional room.  You may need a shoe that is a size larger and/or size wider.

Wearing Schedule

On the first day, begin by wearing the orthosis for one (1) hour.  After one hour, remove the orthosis and check your skin.  Some slight red marks may be observed on the skin.  These should fade and/or go away completely within 20-30 minutes.  Slight redness is common at the arch, instep and bony areas of the foot/ankle. If redness does not go away within 20-30 minutes, or if you notice any blistering or bruising do not put the orthosis back on.  Call your Orthotist and schedule an appointment.

On the second day, put the orthosis on for two (2) hours.  Check skin, once again.  Increase amount of wear time an hour each day.  It typically takes 7-10 days to break in the AFO to be able to wear it all day.  Continue to check your skin for any areas of concern.  It is typical to experience muscle soreness while adapting to AFO as your walking patterns are changing.  Wear the AFO daily to experience the best results.

Cleaning & Maintenance

The AFO may be cleaned by wiping it with a damp cloth.  You may also use rubbing alcohol on the plastic to remove any body oils and residue.  Do not submerse in water as it may harm the metal fasteners and straps.  Also, keep the brace away from excessive heat to prevent damage to the plastic.

If you experience any problems, please contact your Orthotist.