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Thread: Afo

  1. #1


    Two years post, C-7 incomplete, can walk with cane or walker but not for long periods. I notice when I walk I drag my right leg and my PT wants me to get an AFO. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.


  2. #2
    I am 24 years post C6-7 incomplete and have been walking with a left AFO since. While I do not need around my house, it would be impossible to get around outdoors or in the community without it. In addition to frequent falls, my knee would be shot from hyperextending it. I am an OT myself and have seen all the different kinds that are currently available, I have found the traditional style to work best for me. Since your level of function is probably different, another style may work better for you. Don't hesitate to ask your PT questions and they should be able to explain their rationale for a particular design clearly. If your dragging your foot, however, the proper AFO should help.

    Mine is the basic custom molded plastic type which is open in the front and does not have any hinges. I wear a sock under it and a second sock over it. The second sock is partly for appearance, but its main function is to keep it securely in place. I have to buy two pairs of shoes because I need a different size for each foot. I would advise against using a shoe that is too big on the opposite foot because you increase your risk for claw toes or plantar fasciitis.
    Last edited by SCI_OTR; 12-13-2006 at 01:00 AM.

  3. #3
    I am C6 and use a right afo and a cane to walk. Mine is hinged and fabricated by Townsend Design. I use it to prevent hyperextension of my knee and to reduce foot drop. I was recently talking with my orthotist who showed me a new hinge that Otto Bock is making that is pretty slick, so I may have him make me a new one.

    I agree with SCI_OTR, work with your PT and find an orthotist familiar with gait issues for people with SCI to get something that will work for you.

  4. #4


    Thanks for the input just had PT and I tried the AFO, I certainly see the difference with dragging. SCI-OTR, the first thing I thought about was to get a bigger shoe. Thanks again for the input

  5. #5
    Senior Member Broknwing's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Central Florida
    I just got AFOs last week, I've been hesitant to try walking again with them b/c it's been several months since I was able to walk due to a foot issue anyway. HOWEVER, they've definately made a HUGE improvement in my stability already.

    If you want to look at different styles, mine are Richie braces. Here's the website for them...I've got the dynamic assist one.
    L-1 inc 11/24/03

    "My Give-a-Damn's Busted"......

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    I'm T6/7, incomplete. I can walk with a walker, for about 5 minutes. I wear an afo, from time to time, when my leg is tired, and my foot starts to drag. It's a thin plastic, hinged model, with a velcro strap around my calf, made from a mold of my foot and leg. I have no problem fitting it into my shoes. The lace is just loser on the afo shoe. I wear Sperry Top-Siders by New Balance nearly all the time. They are kind of expensive, but it's not like they wear out all that quickly.

    My PT advised me to use it, but not to fall in love with it. His thinking is that to rely on the afo may cause my foot to drag more. Every step I take, I need to concentrate on using my leg and foot muscles as naturally as possible, avoiding dragging my leg from my hip. When I can't do that, I put on the afo.

  7. #7
    You guys are great with all the info and encouragement. Sci_OTR, 20 years post, when you first rec'd the AFO did the walking improve greatly or was it gradual if you don't mind me asking.

  8. #8
    Back when I was injured in 1982, inpatient rehab length of stays were much longer so I had therapy every day. After going through nearly all of the usual C6-7 rehab process, my cord began coming out of shock (~4 months post injury). The AFO was always a part of my gait training as I progressed from platform walker, to walker, to loft strands, to a straight cane at 1 year. By 18 months, I rarely used the cane. I had an imbalance in my gluteal muscles on my left side which created a pelvic obliquity. To compensate, I have a 3/4" lift under the AFO.

    Everything held up well until I turned forty about two years ago. Because there has been more wear and tear on my joints, I now develop back pain if I stand for more than 20 minutes and am feeling some effects of osteoarthiritis in my hips and ankles. Ironically, I now use a Quickie GPV at work for energy conservation and joint protection. At first, co-workers would ask "Why are you using a wheelchair?" My response was "Why not?" I'm ten times more functional as an SCI seating therapist than I would be walking, standing, and bending all day.

  9. #9
    I think my cord is just now coming out of shock, I feel much stronger than before. I am getting better day by day, thanks for the reply.

  10. #10
    Junior Member aug149's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Fayetteville, Ga.

    Question FES device for foot drop

    I recently saw a web page promoting an FES type cuff to help with foot drop. It's called Walkaide

    this is the website

    has anyone tried this or know of someone who has?


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