As Podiatrists, we also provide a range of ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs), but they are specific to the problems that we see routinely such as drop foot and tibialis posterior dysfunction. Examples of the braces we supply are seen below but other types of braces may only be best provided by an Orthotist. As such, if you think that ankle-foot orthoses are part of your requirements, it may be best to discuss particular problems and options with us before attending for an appointment and, if another clinicians opinion is required, we will guide you in the right direction.
The Silicone-Ankle-Foot Orthotic is an advanced drop foot brace designed for use in patients with permanent foot drop. Its slim-line design and ability to be worn without shoes makes it superior in use in comparison to other braces on the market. It is worn next to the skin and can even be worn on the beach! The brace comes in 2 different versions, one which is completely custom-made from a cast of the foot and leg and one which is off-the-shelf. It is easy to apply and has no prominent edges meaning that, unlike other braces, there is less possibility of it rubbing and irritating the skin. Further information on the SAFO can be found <a href=”http://www.dorset-ortho.com/orthotics/orthotic-products/safo/”>here</a>.
The Richie brace is the only AFO specifically designed for the treatment of tibialis posterior dysfunction or adult acquired flat foot. Used earlier in the treatment of this condition, it can prevent the need for surgery when combined with an appropriate exercise and footwear regime. Its advantage comes in being able to control the rotation of the ankle bones over the foot as well as the rotation of the foot which is specific to this condition. The Richie brace can also be used to treat other complex problems of the foot and ankle such as chronic lateral ankle sprains, complicated, permanent drop-foot and arthritis in the rearfoot and ankle. Further information on the Richie Brace can be found <a href=”richiebrace.com”>here</a>.
Footwear can be adapted and changed in many ways to either accommodate the dimensions of a foot and ankle or to provide a corrective function. Examples are:
- Spot stretching of uppers
- Lacing technique (e.g. in running shoes)
- Sole raises (to correct larger leg length differences)
- Sole modifications to stabilise the foot or change function
However, it is also possible to help many foot and ankle problems just by wearing the right length, width and type of shoe. Therefore, as part of any assessment with a Walkrite clinician, footwear will always be assessed and foot measurements taken as simply putting on the right size and type of shoe could cure your problems without any further treatment.