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Mark A. Wolgin, MD, Orthopaedic Surgeon

Specialist (Fellowship Trained) in Spinal and Foot/Ankle Surgery, Albany, GA, Office Phone 229-883-4707

About Me
Spine Anatomy
Spine Disorders
Non Surgical Treatments
Surgical Treatments
Pain Management
Achilles Tendonitis
Anatomy: Foot/Ankle
Ankle Foot Orthosis
Ankle Instability
Ankle Arthritis
Hallux Rigidus
Lisfranc Fracture
Morton's Neuroma
Osteochondritis Dissecans
Plantar Fasciitis
Stress Fracture
Triple Arthrodesis
V-Y Lengthening
General Orthopaedics
Weight Loss
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Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)
On occassion, a prescription will be written for an ankle foot orthosis.  An "orthosis" is a brace, or an appliance that supports a body part.  Ankle and foot refer to the body parts being supported.
With this brace (AFO), the patient is able to bear weight, and usually a regular shoe can be worn.  Sometimes a half size bigger shoe is required.  The AFO will protect the tendons, ligaments, bones, and joints about the ankle and foot from the stresses of walking.
This type of brace is usually padded, but sometimes will require adjustments by the brace provider, as foot shapes can change in subtle ways over time.
Also, since the ankle doesn't move, often this brace is combined with a modification to the bottom of the shoe in the form of a rocker bottom, which allows the heel to contact the ground, roll to the sole, then roll off the toe.  This shoe modification is helpful since the ankle can't do these motions when supported by the brace.
The Rocker Bottom change needs to be made to the shoe since with normal gait (walking), the ankle moves up and down, and in the AFO (brace), the ankle won't be able to move in that manner.
Sometimes, for more limited instability, or when less support is needed, a brace can be used that allows for some up and down motion of the ankle, but gives more restriction to the side to side (subtalar) motion.  This brace looks like a stirrup, fitting on the inside and outside of the ankle by a strap under the heel, and straps around the leg just above the ankle.   This more limited brace can usually be worn within a lace up shoe.