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How to Choose the Best Foot
Drop Splint (AFO)

January 27, 2023


How to Choose the Best Foot
Drop Splint (AFO)

January 27, 2023

Foot Drop, also known as drop foot, is a condition in which the person has difficulty lifting the foot upwards(Dorsiflexion), causing the foot to drag while walking. This can make it difficult to walk, and can increase the risk of falls.


  • Nerve injury. The most common cause is compression of a peroneal nerve in the leg, which controls the muscles involved in lifting the foot. A severe knee injury can result in nerve compression. It can also be damaged during hip or knee replacement surgery, spinal nerve root injury, and diabetes, which is prone to nerve disorders and lead to foot drop.
  • Muscle or nerve disorders. Foot drop can be caused by various forms of muscular dystrophy, Other neurologic disorders, such as polio or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.
  • Brain and spinal cord disorders. Foot drop can be caused by spinal cord or brain disorders such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

What is an AFO or a Foot Drop Brace?

Normally, the brain sends signals to numerous muscles during walking to prevent the toes from dragging on the ground. Foot drop can happen when there is a breakdown in the communication between the brain and the muscles, such as during a stroke or brain injury. An important safety risk is the difficulty to adequately elevate the foot off the ground. It is simple to trip over objects on the ground, like a rug or a gap in the pavement, when the toes drag.

Additionally, numbness in the affected foot is another common symptom of foot drop. This increases the likelihood of a fall since they might not be able to detect minute changes when walking on uneven terrain.

How can a Foot Drop Brace can be used to improve walking?

Some people with foot drop prefer to swing their affected leg out to the side with each stride in order to prevent dragging their toes. Some people decide to raise their legs high, as if they were marching, in order to let their feet clear the ground. 

These various walking styles, meanwhile, neither address the underlying cause of foot drop nor are they likely to aid in recovery. On the other side, they are probably going to lead to more issues, such persistent pain and increased rates of weariness.

This is why wearing an AFO brace for foot drop is usually advised by medical professionals and therapists. AFO braces support the ankle, preventing the toes from dragging and keeping them in line with the rest of the foot. By doing this, you can walk with more confidence and help avoid the emergence of abnormal gait patterns. People who wear a foot drop brace can move around more safely and easily. 

What to expect when searching for AFO brace for Foot Drop? 

Your certified orthotist is the best person to consult when deciding on the best AFO. Because each person is unique, various types of foot drop braces will be fitted based on the individual’s needs. Knowing the various features available in AFO braces will allow you and your clinician to have a more productive discussion.

Here are some of the aspects to look for while selecting an AFO brace for foot drop: 

  • Rigid or Flexible: Rigid braces are more accommodating and are used when the patient’s muscle grade is low or zero, whereas flexible braces are soft and are used when the patient has specific muscle movements. and only for the purpose of assistance.
  • Solid & Hinged: Solid braces are without an ankle joint and are primarily used for positioning for bed-ridden patients, wheelchair-dependent patients, or initial standing/gait training, whereas hinged braces allow users some ankle movement. Depending on the type of hinge used, the function can range from active movement to assisted movement. There are also highly advanced hinges available that combine functions based on the therapy goal.
  • Prefabricated or custom-made: Prefabricated solutions may be more suitable if the patient will be wearing it only temporarily while he works towards a full recovery. Custom-made options are individualized and tailored to the patient’s unique demands and body structure.
  • Cost-effective: The cost of AFOs varies greatly depending on the type of AFO required, and custom-made devices frequently require several sets of adjustments before reaching optimal function. It is also important that maintenance is included in the package to avoid paying more than the device cost in the long run. Choosing a high-quality AFO will help you avoid having to replace the device as frequently.

Is an AFO Brace for Foot Drop Necessary?

One of the first therapies commonly suggested for people with foot drop is AFO braces along with his physiotherapy. An AFO should be used as a temporary or long-term device according to the severity of the condition and progress evaluated by the treating rehabilitation physician or therapist.. 

You can always speak with our specialists here.

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