Ground Reaction Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) Instructions

Learn more about how to use your Ground Reaction Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO).

How to Put on Your AFO (Ground Reaction Ankle)

  • Apply a long sock on the foot needing the brace.
  • Point toes and slide foot into the brace from back.
  • Make sure heel is all the way back and foot is fully seated in the brace.
  • Secure Velcro strap just above ankle.
  • If brace has an ankle strap, apply tension to the Velcro strap and pull for snugness.
  • If brace has a figure 8 strap, make sure Velcro is crisscrossed over the front of the ankle and securely fastened. Ensure the soft pad is securely fastened to strap closest to ankle.
  • Once all straps are fastened, use a shoehorn to slide the heel into the shoe to prevent breakdown of the back of the shoe.
  • Fasten shoes.

Wearing Schedule

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

Orthotic Device 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 your AFO has foam padding, it is recommended to clean once a week to prevent sweat, dirt, and grime build-up.

If the Velcro is not sticking well on the brace, check for lint build-up on the Velcro and remove it.

Important Information

Take the following precautions with your AFO:

  • Never wear brace without shoes.
  • Do not overuse 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.