Pediatric Bracing: SMOs vs. AFOs

Pediatric Bracing: SMOs vs. AFOs

Monday, 03 July 2023 19:56

Researching solutions to issues your children might be facing can be challenging and often frustrating. Parents and caregivers want the best for their children and will not rest until they find effective ways to address their problems. Yet, sometimes it's not easy to find those solutions. 

One of the primary challenges is the vast amount of information available. With the advent of the internet and various online resources, there is an overwhelming amount of information to navigate. Differentiating between reliable sources and unsubstantiated claims can be difficult. 

Finding the time and resources to conduct thorough research can be a challenge for busy parents or caregivers. Juggling multiple responsibilities and commitments can limit the amount of time available for extensive research. Additionally, accessing specialized expertise or professional guidance may not always be readily available or affordable, adding further complexity to the research process.

When researching SMOs and AFOs for your child, it can be easy to get lost in the technicalities. We’re breaking down these types of braces in this article, so you can better understand what your child needs. 

What Are Pediatric SMOs and AFOs?

When it comes to addressing foot and ankle conditions, finding the appropriate support can make a significant difference in a person's mobility and overall quality of life. Two commonly used orthotic devices are SMOs (Supramalleolar Orthosis) and AFOs (Ankle-Foot Orthosis). 

These devices are designed to provide support and assist with various conditions affecting the lower limbs. In this blog, we will delve into the differences between SMOs and AFOs, their specific uses, and considerations for choosing the right support for individuals.

Breaking Down SMOs

Supramalleolar Orthosis, or SMOs, are orthotic devices that primarily focus on providing support around the ankle and the foot's arch. They are commonly used for children or individuals with conditions such as flat feet, pronation (inward rolling of the foot), or ligament laxity. 

SMOs are typically made of lightweight materials and are designed to fit snugly around the ankle and foot, offering stability and improving alignment. They can help control excessive foot movements, improve gait patterns, and alleviate pain associated with certain foot and ankle conditions.

Breaking Down AFOs:

Ankle-Foot Orthosis, or AFOs, are orthotic devices that extend beyond the ankle and provide support to the lower leg as well. AFOs are commonly used for a wide range of conditions, including drop foot, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, and various neuromuscular disorders. 

They are available in different designs, ranging from rigid AFOs to more flexible options. AFOs help control ankle movement, stabilize the foot, and provide assistance with foot clearance during walking. They offer enhanced stability and can significantly improve balance and mobility for individuals with conditions affecting the lower limbs.

How to Determine the Right Support for Your Child

When deciding between SMOs and AFOs, several factors need to be considered to ensure the most appropriate support for an individual's needs. These factors include:

  • Condition and Diagnosis: The specific foot or ankle condition, as well as the underlying diagnosis, will play a crucial role in determining whether SMOs or AFOs are more suitable. Consulting with a healthcare professional, such as an orthopedist or a physical therapist, is essential to obtain an accurate diagnosis and recommendation.
  • Severity of the Condition: The severity of the condition and the level of support required should be evaluated. SMOs are generally more suitable for mild to moderate foot and ankle conditions, while AFOs provide greater support for more severe or complex cases.
  • Individual's Age and Activity Level: The age of the individual and their activity level are important considerations. SMOs are commonly used for children as they offer support during the developmental stages. AFOs, on the other hand, can accommodate individuals of various ages and activity levels.
  • Lifestyle and Functional Needs: The individual's lifestyle, daily activities, and functional needs should be taken into account. Factors such as the type of footwear used, the level of physical activity, and the need for adaptability or adjustability should be considered when choosing between SMOs and AFOs.

SMOs and AFOs are both valuable orthotic devices that provide support and assist individuals with various foot and ankle conditions. Understanding the differences between SMOs and AFOs, as well as considering the individual's specific needs, is crucial in choosing the most appropriate support. 

Consulting with healthcare professionals is highly recommended to ensure accurate diagnosis, proper fitting, and optimal function. By finding the right orthotic support, individuals can experience improved mobility, enhanced comfort, and a better quality of life.

Pediatric SMOs and AFOs at Orthopedic Appliance Company

Are you searching for the perfect SMO or AFO to provide optimal support and mobility for your child? If you’re in the Asheville, Hickory, or Bryant area, the team at Orthopedic Appliance Company assists families like yours in finding the right orthotic solution for your child's unique needs. For more information about our pediatric braces, reach out to our team today!