Ankle Foot Orthosis Care

A plastic below-knee brace, or ankle foot orthosis (AFO), is usually used after ankle or foot surgery. Your doctor may order an AFO if your child needs extra support in the ankle or foot area.

The brace is made by a certified orthotist. Be sure you find out which orthotist makes the brace so you can call him / her if the brace breaks or needs adjusting. 

Your physical therapist may be involved in the brace fabrication and will direct you to a specific vendor.

To ensure the best results, follow these guidelines:

  • The brace should be worn just as your doctor orders. Make sure the flap of the top Velcro strap is under the buckle. Place lower Velcro strap to your child's ankle area, not across his / her foot.
  • Alcohol should be used on the skin under the brace two to three times a day to toughen the skin. No lotions should be used on the skin because they soften the skin.
  • A pair of well-fitting socks (preferably cotton) should be worn under the brace at all times.
  • Change the socks twice a day because your child's foot will sweat with the brace on it. Look at the skin under the brace three times a day. Report any red areas that do not go away in 15 minutes to the person who made the brace. It can be remolded to prevent pressure sores. Any style of shoe may be worn with the brace. However, you may need to get a size larger. The brace is too small when it is 3 inches below the back of your child's knee.
  • Swelling of your child's foot lasts one hour, even after the brace is removed and the leg has been propped up
  • Your child complains frequently of pain while wearing the AFO
  • Any open sores develop on your child's foot or leg

Call the orthotist if:

  • Red areas develop under your child's brace that do not disappear after 15 minutes with the brace off
  • Your child's brace breaks in any way or the straps loosen and / or fall off

To reach the orthopaedic nurse before 4 pm Monday through Friday, call 513-636-4567. After 4 pm and during weekends and holidays, call 513-636-4200 and ask that the orthopaedic resident on call be paged.


Last Updated 08/2013