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Child getting a fixed ankle foot orthosis

Orthoses are externally applied devices used to modify the structural and functional characteristics of the neuromuscular and skeletal system in order improve and maintain function and posture.

Orthotics Clinic runs on alternate weeks at The Peacock Centre and Oak Tree Centre. An experienced Physiotherapist and Orthotist will complete an assessment using an evidence based approach always keeping the child at the centre of any clinical decisions. Following the assessment a plan will be made with you. This could include ongoing monitoring from the child’s physiotherapist or measuring/casting for the appropriate type of orthosis with a further appointment made to fit it.

We provide various types of orthoses such as, Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFO), hinged AFO, Supramalleolar Orthosis (SMO) and Functional Foot Orthosis (FFO), depending on need.

How orthoses can help

Different types of Orthoses may be prescribed depending on the goals agreed for your child. Orthoses are named by the joints/areas that they cover. We use orthoses to:

  • improve the walking pattern and other functional skills
  • support the foot in a more functional and desirable position
  • increase support and stability for the child
  • protect the structures of the foot
  • reduce falls

Non custom made orthoses

Custom made orthoses

Choice and looking after your child's orthoses

Your child will often get the choice from a range of colours and patterns for their orthoses so they can have something that they like. The clinic physiotherapist and orthotist can also can offer you advice on footwear which will work best with your orthoses.

Cleaning and maintenance:

You can clean the orthosis whenever it becomes dirty by wiping it with a damp cloth.
If it is a little dirtier, you can use water and a gentle detergent, rinse well afterwards with water, trying not to get the straps and padding wet. Do not soak or submerge in water.
If your orthosis gets wet, allow it to dry at room temperature. Do not use a hairdryer or place it near a heater or radiator as direct heat can damage them.

How to put on your child's AFO

How do put on my child’s AFO (ankle foot orthosis)? This video tutorial has been provided by the Children's Physiotherapy Team for Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust’s Children's and Young People Services. The video will demonstrate how to put on your child's ankle foot orthosis (or AFO) correctly. If your child has an AFO for both feet, make sure they put them on the correct feet.

Step 1: Make sure socks have no wrinkles and are pulled up high.

Step 2: Bend your child's knees to a right ankle or more.

Step 3: Turn that foot in an outwards direction, to pick up the big toe.

Step 4: Push their heel down back into the heel of the AFO and hold in place with your thumb.

Step 5: You can lift your child's toes upwards to check their heels in the back of the AFO.

Step 6: Fasten the ankle strap first. This should be fairly tight as it keeps your child's foot in place.

Step 7: Then the calf strap, this does not have to be so tight.

Step 8: If your child has a toe strap, fasten this next.

Step 9: Push your child's shoe over the AFO.

Should you have any specific questions about your child's AFO, you should contact their physiotherapist direct.

Last reviewed: 1 November, 2023


Who can help

If you need advice about your child's orthotics, please call us on 0300 029 50 50

Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm (excluding bank holidays).

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Young girl in a physio clinic sitting on a chair with an adult woman sitting next to her holding the girls leg and taking her shoe off.

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