Information for patients
This leaflet can be made available in other formats including large print, CD and Braille and in languages other than English, upon request.
What is an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)?
An Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) is a specific orthotic device that is fitted and worn on the lower leg below your knee.
There are a number of reasons why an AFO may be provided; including:
• To provide support for weakened or weakening joints
• To control abnormal muscle tone
• To prevent abnormal motion
• To reduce pain
• To offer increased control and stability of the foot and ankle
Your device may either be solid or hinged and may vary in colour.
This is to stabilise your foot and ankle and offer better control when standing and walking. Your AFO has been specifically provided to meet your own clinical needs and has been adapted by your Orthotist for your use only to treat your presenting symptoms.
How often should I wear my AFO?
Once you have been prescribed with an AFO, your Orthotist will agree a suitable wearing schedule with you. It is generally advised that you start to wear your AFO for approximately 30-minute periods, increasing this time by 15 minutes each day until your tolerance increases.
When you first start to wear your AFO, it is important to increase the wear time gradually.
As the AFO is made from a firm plastic material this increases the risk of skin pressures and soreness. Therefore a gradual wearing in will allow you to assess your skin and monitor any signs of pressure.
An AFO should not cause pain and therefore if you do experience pain or discomfort you should remove the device, check your skin for any obvious areas of redness or pressure and reduce the wear time to allow further adjustment.
What shoes should I wear with my AFO?
Your AFO will provide structural stability to the foot and ankle and therefore the footwear you purchase does not need to offer these qualities. AFO designs are generally a little bulky so you may need to purchase footwear in a larger size to accommodate this. You might also need to purchase different sized footwear if you only wear a AFO on one leg.It is recommended that once your AFO has been supplied to you, you should take it to a shoe shop to trial different styles of footwear.
This will ensure you are comfortable with both your AFO and your footwear. There are some brands of footwear that work well with an AFO.
- Shoe Zone
- Nike Flyease
- Cosyfeet Friendly Shoes UK
How often will my prescription be reviewed?
The Orthotics Service will not review your AFO routinely, however we advise that you contact us to arrange a review appointment if the following applies:
- One year after supply for a general review
• You feel your AFO has worn and is no longer functioning effectively
- Your symptoms have returned
- You are concerned about a change in your condition
How do I care for my AFO?
Your AFO is usually made from plastic and is easy to wipe clean. We would advise that your AFO is cleaned daily with a damp cloth or wipe to prevent bacteria build up and risk of skin irritation.
Should the straps or padding on your AFO become worn or damaged please contact the Orthotics Service to allow repairs to be arranged.
How do I contact the Orthotics Service?
Monday to Friday
Telephone: 01429 522471
Comments, concerns, compliments or complaints
Patient Experience Team (PET)
We are continually trying to improve the services we provide. We want to know what we’re doing well or if there’s anything which we can improve, that’s why the Patient Experience Team (PET) is here to help. Our Patient Experience Team is here to try to resolve your concerns as quickly as possible. The office is based on the ground floor at the University Hospital of North Tees if you wish to discuss concerns in person. If you would like to contact or request a copy of our PET leaflet, please contact:
Telephone: 01642 624719
Freephone: 0800 092 0084
Opening hours: Monday to Friday, 9:30am to 4:00pm
Email: [email protected]
Out of hours
Out of hours if you wish to speak to a senior member of Trust staff, please contact the hospital switchboard who will bleep the appropriate person.
Telephone: 01642 617617
Data protection and use of patient information
The Trust has developed Data Protection policies in accordance with Data Protection Legislation (UK General Data Protection Regulations and Data Protection Act 2018) and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. All of our staff respect these policies and confidentiality is adhered to at all times. If you require further information on how we process your information please see our Privacy Notices.
Telephone: 01642 383551
Email: [email protected]Privacy Notices
This leaflet has been produced in partnership with patients and carers. All patient leaflets are regularly reviewed, and any suggestions you have as to how it may be improved are extremely valuable. Please write to the Clinical Governance team, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospital of North Tees, TS19 8PE or:
Email: [email protected]
Leaflet Reference: PIL1411
Date for Review: 08/03/2023