Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) – Plastic

How to put on your AFO:

  1. Apply a long sock on the foot needing an AFO.
  2. Slide foot into brace.  Make sure heel is all the way back and foot is fully seated in the brace.
  3. Apply tension to the Velcro shin strap and pull for snugness.
    1. If brace has a figure 8 strap, make sure Velcro is criss-crossed over the front of the ankle and securely fastened.  Ensure the soft pad is securely fastened to strap closest to ankle.
    2. If brace has front shell, then apply the front section of the device, making sure it’s sides overlap the back section.  Fasten all of the straps to secure the front part of the brace to back.
  4. Once all straps are fastened, use a shoehorn to slide the heel into the shoe to prevent breakdown of the back of the shoe.
  5. Fasten shoes.

Wearing Schedule:

Just like a new pair of shoes, an AFO has a breaking in period.  Use the following wearing guidelines to allow the body to adapt to the use of the brace gradually.

Day 1: Only use brace for one hour.

Day 2: Use brace for two hours.

Day 3: Use brace for four hours.

Day 4: Use brace for eight hours.

Continue to use brace as prescribed by your Orthotist for full day use.

There may be some slight redness on the instep, under the ball of the foot or the on the sides of the little toe or big toe.  If redness doesn’t disappear within 20 minutes, do not put the brace back on.  Please contact your Ability Orthotist to schedule an appointment for an adjustment.

Remember that shoes are an integral part to any AFO brace.  The shoe becomes an extension of the AFO and provides proper support for the brace.

Cleaning and Maintenance:


  • The best way to clean an AFO is to spray rubbing alcohol on the inside and out and wipe down with a dry cloth. This will remove any body oils and residue.
    • If AFO has foam padding, it is recommended to clean once a week to prevent sweat, dirt and grime build up.  This can also help to eliminate smells.
  • If the Velcro is not sticking well on the brace, check for lint build-up on the Velcro and remove it.

Trouble Shooting:

  • If brace doesn’t fit into shoe –
    • Check to see if the heel is all the way to the back of the AFO.
    • Check if the back of the shoe is crushed, causing the AFO to hang up.
    • Check if the insole of the shoe has been removed to accommodate for the AFO.
  • Proper footwear should be worn at all times with the brace and on the opposite foot.


  • Never wear brace without shoes. It is slick plastic and the risk of falling is high.
  • Do not over use brace during the initial wearing phase.  This can cause skin irritation.
  • Be aware that volume changes in the body can affect how the AFO will fit.
  • Do NOT ever sleep in the AFO.
  • Be aware that changing shoe styles can affect your standing/walking balance. This may cause you to fall unexpectedly.