posted on March 23, 2010 12:10
Drop foot braces are often used to treat a person with drop foot, a condition in which a person in unable to raise his/her foot at the ankle joint. Since this makes walking difficult, bracing is used to provide the patient with a more normal, as well as comfortable, gait. Here are some types of different AFO braces that will correct drop foot:
Short Leg with Fixed Hinge Brace
This type of brace is light and easily fits into shoes. The main advantage to this type of AFO is that it offers excellent control of both foot and ankle. This is a great choice for people who have very flat feet. The major disadvantage of this brace is that it doesn't allow for flexion or dorsiflexion so a person's gait does not seem as natural. It also does not work as well on tall people since the brace is relatively short.
Dorsiflexion Assist Brace
This brace is quite similar to the above brace but it has a spring-like hinge which helps to raise one's foot as it comes off the ground. The major advantage of this brace is that it offers a more normal gait pattern. The main disadvantage of this brace is that it will not work well for people who are over 6 feet tall or for people weighing over 225 pounds.
Plantarflexion Stop Brace
This brace has the advantage of being very good for people having severe drop foot. The main disadvantage of this brace is that it is quite bulky.
Solid AFO Brace
The main advantage of this type of brace is that it not only stops plantarflexion but it limits or stops dorsiflexion as well. The one main disadvantage of this brace is that it is somewhat bulky.
Implanted Neuromuscular Stimulator
An example of this option is the Finetech Medical STIMuSTEP system. The system delivers small electrical pulses to the nerves that supply the paralysed muscles. This allows independent control of dorsiflexion (lifting the foot) and eversion (rotate ankle to the correct position), which correct the abnormal movement of the affected foot during the swing phase of gait.
These are just some of the foot drop braces that are available today for people who have the condition known as foot drop.