11/15/2010 2:03 PM
Last week we discussed carbon fiber AFOs in the treatment of dropfoot. Some studies indicate that in many situations they may be a better choice than traditional plastic AFOs due to the fact that there is evidence that there is greater function of the posterior muscle group with use of the carbon fiber AFOs.
Most carbon fiber AFOs, such as the ProLab Matrix, are prefabricated. This brings up the question of what kind of customization can be done. Below is information on how to customize the matrix AFO.
If you have any questions regarding adjusting carbon fiber AFOs, ProLab clients are encouraged to contact a medical consultant.
- Add a Foot Orthotic: One of the most important advantages of carbon fiber AFOs is the ability to control different planes of motion independently. Much of this ability comes from the use of the foot orthosis which must be used on top of the carbon fiber foot plate. You can use a prefabricated orthosis such as the ProLab P3 Sport or prescribe a custom orthosis. For example, for a patient with significant heel eversion you can prescribe an orthosis with a deep heel cup, medial skive and a medial flange. For a patient needing extensive lateral support you can use an OTC ankle brace or prescribe a supra-malleolar AFO. .
- Shorten Foot Plate: The strut on the matrix travels over the lateral and anterior ankle and can sometimes cause irritation in this area. If you have a patient where the strut isn’t hitting them in the right spot the foot plate can be shorted at the toe to allow the AFO to move forward in the shoe. Simply grind the toe of the foot plate to shorten it.
- Heel Wedges: Heel wedges can be added to change ground reaction forces at initial contact so you can create more of a flexion moment.
- Shin Plate Adjustment: The shin plate can be moved up and down on the main strut to better match the shin of the patient.