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  • Tarryn Grobbelaar

What is an AFO (Ankle-Foot Orthoses)?

Updated: Mar 15, 2021

To give the most informative definition of an AFO, I sourced information from an online search, where I found the Royal Children's Hospital definition to be just that.

Ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs) are among the most commonly prescribed lower limb orthoses. They are custom made for each individual to encompass the foot, ankle and leg, finishing just below the knee. Made from high temperature thermoplastic AFOs are supplied to combat a variety of factors, these may include muscle weakness, joint instability and high muscle tone.

Fitted with a variety of purposes in mind including controlling alignment, increasing mobility and independence, assisting rehabilitation and/or to reduce pain, AFOs are also provided with the intention of preventing deformity occurring. Depending on a child's needs they may be hinged (made to bend at the ankle) or solid (no movement at the ankle) and fitted on either one or both legs. This information sheet aims to inform parents and carers what AFOs are, what they do, what to expect in a casting, fitting and review appointments and how to care for both the child and the AFO. 

Disclaimer:The information contained on the site is intended to support not replace discussion with your doctor or health care professionals. The authors accept no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in the handouts.

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Produced by the Royal Children's Hospital (RCH) department of Orthotics.

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