November 30, 2023

Metal AFOs, Why You Can Benefit From One

1.) Reasons For Using A Metal ankle foot orthosis.

Many patients will turn to a metal AFO for one of two reasons:

A.) History of Edema

The patient who has fluctuating edema (swelling) can need to have room to expand and contract; with respect to volume of their limb. – A metal AFO (ankle foot orthosis) has medial and lateral uprights that go up and down the side of the leg (below the knee) and are attached to a shoe. These uprights are not directly in contact with the skin and this is done for a good reason. – This room on the sides of the leg allows a person with edema to still use the brace when their swelling goes up and down. If this swelling became much more controlled after the provision of this brace, the uprights of the brace could be recontoured and this space could be reduced if requested by the patient.

When you compare this to other thermoplastic AFOs, you will note that a traditional plastic AFO can not allow this same amount of room on the leg and still be effective for a patient. Yes, both thermoplastic and metal AFOs can be adjusted, but it is important to note that a plastic brace needs to be in more total contact with your leg to be effective.

B.) History of Using Metal AFOs

People will typically also turn to the use of a metal AFO when they have used one in the past. This is a second major reason for using a metal ankle foot orthosis. Many people have been burned in the past by trying something that they are unfamiliar with. The same person might also believe that if what they have used a metal AFO in the past and it works, then why change it?

2.) Where To Find A Metal AFO

It is very important to visit a licensed orthotist in your area to get a quality metal AFO. Why? – When you get one of these braces made for you (or one of your patients) then you will want to go with someone that has experience. This is typically an orthotist, aka a professional brace provider. – These braces (as described in this article) typically consist of a leather calf band which is attached to metal uprights. The uprights are connected to ankle joints (which are adjustable) and these ankle joints are connected to a stirrup within the shoe you will use with the brace. – Sounds simple, but if a professional does not make this brace for you, something is bound to go wrong.

3.) Benefits of Metal Ankle Foot Orthoses

These kinds of braces can help to provide needed support to someones ankle and foot. This is important when you have a problem with weakness or instability at the ankle joint. Moreover, it is also important to use a brace (whether metal or plastic) because this can help to provide indirect support at your knee. This can help to limit knee hyperextension or knee buckling.