AFOs, or Ankle Foot Orthoses, are very common types of braces worn by children with a wide variety of conditions. When used properly, AFOs can greatly enhance a child’s function, by helping her stand or walk, and may also help prevent foot and ankle deformities.
The goal of AFOs is to help correct impaired biomechanics of the feet which will lead to a more functional foot position for walking. Achieving better walking will result in reaching all goals of each phase of walking so that the child is able to be mobile in a safe manner. Better walking quality will lead to better foot-knee-hip-trunk control, which is needed for balance and stability.
Preventing foot position from deteriorating with orthotics is also going to help with a correct walking pattern as the child grows. Children who have severe weakness in their foot muscles may show instability with walking which could possibly be alleviated from AFOs or other orthotics so that their feet remain in the correct positions throughout walking. Our feet move in different positions throughout the walking cycle and each movement is important so that we are able to walk safely and more efficiently.