Pediatric A.F.O’S – Help or Hindrince?

Today I was just randomly searching the internet and managed to stumble across a picture of AFOs and the memories came flooding back, of these beautiful, fashionable creations.

afo-foot-drop-splint-4

Gorgeous right? 😉

First before we debate weather we love ’em or hate ’em let me explain for anyone who doesn’t know what these lovely things are :

What are A.F.O’s?
Ankle Foot Orthosis are a plastic, lightweight foot splint that is fitted to your foot and goes up the leg. It is made to give support to weak ankle, foot or leg muscles and to keep muscles that are prone to spasms in place. The basic A.F.O is just a basic plastic leg splint with a Velcro strap across your ankle and across the top of the leg to keep your feet in the correct position.

What are the pros?

1. Improves stability
2. Controlling foot or ankle spasms should improve gait
3. Improves foot posture

What are the cons?

1. Can become painful.
2. Can cause blisters due to plastic making feet sweat.
3. Because of their bulky size they won’t always fit in regular/fashionable shoes.

I wore my A.F.O’s regularly from about the age of 6 up until I left high school at age 18, I’ll always remember being that excited 6 year old who wasn’t fazed at all by having to wear things on my legs. If anything to me they were the ‘best thing since sliced bread’ especially since you could get pretty patterns put on the side so they were like my own personalised toy!
afo

wanting to be the cool kid..
Like any other child all I wanted was to be like every other child and be cool but as you can imagine big plastic splints covering my legs weren’t part of my master cool plan! So I think that’s my main reason for disliking A.F.O’s they became the ‘things’ that made me and my friends stand out and feel restricted! As well as all the vain reasons for hating A.F.O’s I personally think that they haven’t done much for me physically in terms of changing or altering the way my feet and ankles move.

So as you’ll be able to tell from this post I see A.F.O’s as a Hindrince that have nothing but a negative impact on my school years but what are your opinions? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

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5 thoughts on “Pediatric A.F.O’S – Help or Hindrince?

  1. I wore afo’s from about the age of 3 – 18, and never had an issue with wearing them, even in school.
    I started wearing them again at age 24, as I felt that I needed more support, and am so glad I have, I feel a lot more steady on my feet, and the stretch I get from them means I don’t have to do as much manual stretching.
    I also started using a lot of things that I used when I was younger, as I was getting tighter and finding it hard to do things. Such as using leg gaiters to help me stretch out my hamstrings, and to help keep my legs where I want them (almost like an extra pair of hands) whilst doing physio. I also adapted some of my stretches to make it easier to fit them into my routine.
    I have always accepted the afos (as well as other splints and stuff) are just part of having cp, and therefore a part of me…..
    I have always customised them with stickers and graphics to suit me, and make them look ‘less disability related’.
    I was in the supermarket recently (wearing shorts, so they were on show) and a lady came up and admired them and said she might try that idea as her son has cp and refuses to wear his splints.
    I use custom graphics, so they are very personalized, as I said to someone who asked why I customise them…. some people get tattoos, I customise my splints as they are part of me
    The only down side I find to wearing afos is finding shoes is a nightmare!! It’s not so bad with trainers, as I wear skate shoes which are nice and wide, but smart shoes are really hard to fit afos in, so I have gone back to wearing Piedro boots

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    • Hi Chris, thanks for reading!
      I’m glad you’ve found that A.f.o’s are a help too you and it’s great that other people are inspired for there children by how you decorate your splints. If only I would’ve managed to think of more ideas to costumize mine I may of wore them more, Do you have any pics of how youve costumized yours? I’d love too see! Thanks again for reading hope you enjoy the blog 🙂

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