An ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) is a medical device that is used to support or correct the foot and ankle. It is typically used to treat conditions that affect the muscles, bones, or nerves in the lower leg, such as cerebral palsy, stroke, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injuries.
An AFO is usually made of plastic or a combination of plastic and metal, and it is worn on the lower leg and foot like a brace. The device is designed to fit around the ankle and foot to provide stability and support, and it may extend up the calf or even the thigh, depending on the specific condition being treated.
AFOs can be custom-made or prefabricated, and they come in a variety of styles, including rigid, semi-rigid, and flexible. Rigid AFOs provide the most support and are typically used for severe conditions, while flexible AFOs are more comfortable and allow for greater movement.
AFOs can be used to correct foot drop, which is a condition where the foot hangs down due to weakness or paralysis of the muscles that lift the foot. They can also be used to correct foot inversion or eversion, which is a condition where the foot turns inward or outward.
AFOs can be prescribed by a physician or physical therapist, and they are usually fitted by an orthotist, who is a healthcare professional that specializes in designing and fitting orthoses.
Overall, an AFO is an important medical device that can help people with a wide range of conditions to improve their mobility and quality of life.