Key Differences Between Various Ankle Orthotic Devices

Friday, 30 August 2019 12:24

When you are dealing with conditions like arthritis, back pain, bursitis, flat feet, hammer toes, heel spurs, diabetes, drop foot, etc., an ankle-foot orthotic device can provide tremendous relief. These devices are intended to help correct foot deformities, provide support, help promote better foot or ankle function, and/or reduce the risk of injuries. 

But which ankle-foot orthotic is right for you? There is a confusing variety available - and you want to find the right one to ensure positive results without suffering further damage. Let’s take a look at some key differences to help you make your choice. 

Different types of ankle orthotic devices:

Solid AFO

A solid ankle-foot orthotic prevents plantar flexion and stops or limits dorsiflexion. While somewhat bulky, it offers excellent control and is good for people with unstable knees.

Dorsiflexion Assist AFO

Dorsiflexion Assist AFOs are similar to fixed hinge AFOs but instead of being fixed at the ankle joint, it has a spring-like hinge. This raises the foot when it comes off the ground; this can help you achieve a more natural gait. 

Plantar Flexion Stop AFO

This ankle-foot orthotic allows for normal dorsiflexion and does not let the foot point downward. If you have a condition like severe drop foot, this can be tremendously helpful. 

Return Energy AFO

The natural flex of this model assists in dorsiflexion. Often made of carbon graphite materials, they are super lightweight and provide good control.

Ankle orthotic devices are also available in different materials, such as carbon fiber and plastic. There are also different types of fits, such as “Swedish.” Swedish AFOs are lower profile than plastic models, allow for more airflow, and are heat-moldable and trimmable for a custom fit.

There are certainly a lot of choices out there! How do you make the right decision for your needs? Talk to Orthopedic Appliance Company. The right ankle orthotic depends on your unique:

  • Medical condition and/or type of injury
  • Your body (e.g. weight, height)
  • Your needs in terms of the weight of the orthotic and its profile
  • Your therapeutic goals (e.g. do you want to achieve a natural gait? Relieve pain? Provide lateral support?)
  • Your activity level (different AFOs are suitable for those with high, medium, or low levels of activity)

We will assess your needs and fit you with the proper ankle orthotic device to meet your needs. Contact us today