An ankle foot orthosis (AFO) is a custom-made brace used to support muscles, immobilize joints, and/or correct the position of your foot and ankle. It may be made of metal, thermoplastic, or a combination of materials.
Below are some basic tips and tricks for an AFO user!
Choosing a shoe!
There are many companies now that make shoes specifically for children with AFOs. However, if you are on a budget, there are several popular brands that make wide and extra wide shoes in children’s sizes. After doing some research, I stumbled upon Stride Rite. I learned that for clients who wear AFOs, they actually offer a buy one, get one 50 percent off deal. Nordstrom also allows customers to buy two separate sizes of shoes as long as they are no more than one and half sizes different. This is a big money saver for AFO customers.
Some helpful tips to finding a shoe to fit over an AFO.
- First and foremost, make sure you bring the AFO to the store with you. This is not the time for guesswork!
- Look for a wide or extra wide shoe, particularly with a wide and deep toe box.
- Hold the AFO up to the back of the shoe before you ask your child to try it on to see if it is a possible fit.
- Remove the insole of the shoe to make more room, if necessary.
Selecting high-quality socks:
A pair of good quality socks is crucial for AFO wearers. You need to protect your child’s skin from the brace rubbing against it throughout the day. You want to look for socks that are moisture-wicking and seamless, as well as wrinkle-resistant. The socks need to be long enough to cover the height of the brace and fold over the top. The socks cannot be too baggy because you don’t want them to fall down. Our SmartKnit socks are excellent for kiddos who wear AFOs. They are seamless, moisture wicking and they fit nice and snuggly, helping them not to slide down. We even make them in cute patterns now! Check them out on our website www.knitritedirect.com or find them on Amazon.
Choosing pants that fit over an AFO.
Honestly, wider leg pants work well over the brace, and most leggings are stretchy enough to stretch over the AFO.
AFOs shouldn’t stop your kiddos from enjoying life! I hope these useful tips can help you and your kiddo successfully navigate the world of AFOs!
Note: All of these tips are also great for wearers of KAFOs (Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis).