AFO - ConventionalAn AFO is a brace that helps to control ankle, foot and in some cases the knee. Support from the brace is necessary after nerve damage and or muscle weakness. The conventional AFO is often used after trauma, stroke or multiple sclerosis just to name a few.
Patients who have lost control of the foot, ankle and knee may benefit from an AFO because the brace stabilizes part of the body permitting it to function in walking. A conventional AFO is usually a double, upright, metal device, with leather covering a metal band at the calf and often a leather strap at ankle (See Figures 1). The metal ankle joints may be adjustable with springs to assist with toe pickup. The joints attach to a metal stirrup that is rivoted directly to the shoe, The one major advantage of a conventional AFO over the more modern plastic style is that it will fit patients experiencing large swelling changes in leg and foot.
- Use of a long, over the calf, sock is recommended.
- While seated with knee flexed, open the shoe fully and slide foot into the shoe as far as possible.
- Slide the heel into the shoe using a shoehorn. This is less traumatic to the skin at the heel and will lessen the likelihood of rolling the back of shoe.
- Lace up the shoe snuggly but, not too tight, and attach strap at the top of the brace.
- It is important to slowly and progressively increase wearing time to prevent skin breakdown.
- When you receive the brace, begin by wearing it for only one hour. After one hour remove the AFO and sock and check your skin for redness. Some redness may be seen on the skin and should go away within 20-30 minutes after removing the AFO. Watch to see how long the redness lasts. If redness remains after 30 minutes or if you notice any blistering or bruising pleas call to schedule an early return appointment.
- If the skin is fine and redness has gone away by 30 minutes wait at lease one hour and put the AFO back on. Alternate wearing on and off for the rest of the day making sure to check the skin condition after removal each time.
- For the second day alternate two hours on and one hour off. Check skin condition each time it is removed.
- Increase wearing time one hour each day always checking skin condition on removal.
Cleaning and Maintenance
- Use of shoe polish every week will protect the leather and keep it soft. Leather conditioner on the brace leather every three months is recommended.
- Clean Velcro frequently on straps by removing lint and hair.
- Very lightly oil moving parts on the AFO every month. Wipe off any excess oil so it won’t stain clothing.
Tips and Problem Solving
- If you have any questions or concerns please call the orthotist.
- Stop using the AFO and call for an appointment if:
- Redness lasts for 30 minutes or more upon removal.
- Skin is Blistered.
- Skin is scratched.
- Skin is bruised.
- You will be scheduled for routine check ups every 6-12 months. Please make these important follow up appointments.