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Do you have foot pain? Are your feet sore and uncomfortable almost every day, and does your discomfort interfere with your daily routine? If so, you are not alone. Many people suffer from foot pain or other common foot conditions that hinder their daily activities.

Some people may even develop a condition at the sole of their feet called “athlete’s foot.” It has been named such due to its prevalence among athletes who frequently wear moist socks and shoes in locker rooms.

Or, you may be dealing with the condition that has resulted in your doctor recommending that you get an Ankle Foot Orthosis or an AFO. In this article, we’ll take a close look at AFOs – what is an AFO, how they work, what their benefits are, how they are made, why you might need one, and how to choose the right one for your condition. So keep reading to learn more!

What Is an AFO?

An AFO stands for Ankle Foot Orthosis. It is a device that helps stabilize and support the ankle and the foot. It also allows for mobility in other areas of the leg and helps a patient walk with less pain and other complications.

Many people with neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, stroke, or spinal cord injury use AFOs to walk more efficiently and safely. It can be used in conjunction with different braces or on its own as a standalone treatment for conditions such as arthritis, gout, or fibromyalgia.

AFOs can be used in addition to crutches, a walker, or a wheelchair. They are specially designed for each patient, so each one is unique to the person who is wearing them.

How Is an AFO Made?

AFOs are usually made from a plaster cast or a mold of the person’s foot. The orthosis is then made by shaping plastic or other suitable materials to match the plaster cast. 

However, plastic is not the only option for AFOs, as they can be made from different materials, depending on what is best for the person’s needs. For example, some people may need an AFO that is very lightweight and flexible, while others may need a more durable one.

The process of making an AFO usually takes several weeks. First, the orthotist takes a plaster cast or mold of the person’s foot. They then shape the plastic or any other suitable material to match the plaster cast. Finally, they make any necessary adjustments to ensure a perfect fit.

How Does an AFO Work?

For people with certain physical disabilities, an AFO performs wonders. It provides stability and foot support needed for activities of daily living. These include, but are not limited to, walking, sitting down, standing, and going up and down stairs. 

An AFO can also be helpful for people with diabetes, as it supports the foot and ankle by fitting around them and connecting them to the leg with a strap that either goes behind the leg or around the leg. This connection helps keep the foot and ankle in place while allowing the wearer to move the knee and the hip.

Benefits of Using an AFO

There are many benefits of using an AFO:

  • Help prevent injuries and reduce the risk of falls.
  • Allow patients to walk more efficiently and safely.
  • Keep joints aligned.
  • Enhance mobility for people with neurological conditions.
  • Improve blood flow and reduce swelling in the ankle.
  • Accommodate deformity and lessen spasticity.
  • Minimize the risk of skin breakdown.

Who Needs an AFO?

Some conditions that may require the use of an AFO include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

People who have any of these conditions may experience weakness, paralysis, or muscle contractures in their lower extremities. This can cause difficulty with walking or even make it impossible. An AFO can provide support and improve mobility for people with these conditions.

How to Choose the Right AFO?

If you have been diagnosed with a foot or ankle condition that requires the use of an ankle foot orthosis (AFO), the next step is to choose the right AFO for your needs. Many different types of AFOs are available on the market, so it’s important to consult your doctor or orthotist to find the best device for you.

Here are some factors to keep in mind when choosing an AFO.

1. The Type of Foot or Ankle Condition You Have

There are different types of AFOs designed to treat different conditions. For example, rigid AFOs provide support for conditions like drop foot, while softer and more flexible AFOs are better suited for conditions like arthritis. Your doctor or orthotist will be able to recommend the right type of AFO for your condition.

2. The Level of Support You Need

Some AFOs provide more support than others. If you have a more severe condition, you may need an AFO that provides more stability and rigidity. On the other hand, if your condition is not as severe, you may be able to get by with a lighter and more flexible


AFO is a device that is strapped to the foot and ankle and is important for injury prevention and safety. If you’re experiencing foot or ankle pain, it might be time to consider getting an AFO. 

At Align Clinic, we specialize in custom-fit AFOs. Our team of experts can help relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. 

Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you, as, with the right treatment, many people with ankle-foot orthotics lead full and active lives!