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Jun 30

Written by: Larry Huppin, DPM
6/30/2011 7:28 AM

I received a call from a ProLab client this morning with questions regarding how to make an AFO for a patient who had a poor outcome following a spinal surgery. She developed a dropfoot on the left side. This is not an unusual complication of such a surgery. What was unusual, however, was that on the right side she had posterior weakness rather than anterior weakness, and developed a calcaneus type of gait. She has a difficult time plantarflexing her right foot and this results in her walking on her heel on the right side, yet having a typical dropfoot on the left side. Our client decided to use a dorsiflexion-assist functional AFO for the left dropfoot (to prevent plantarflexion), but was not sure what to do for the calcaneus type of gait on the right.

As far as I know, there are no AFOs designed specifically to stop dorsiflexion for the right foot. This would require an AFO that either surrounds the entire foot to keep the foot dorsiflexed or has some sort of strap to hold the foot to the foot plate. After discussion, we decided that the best option would be to use a gauntlet AFO for the right foot. Because the gauntlet AFO essentially stabilizes the entire foot and ankle and does not allow dorsiflexion or plantarflexion, it should provide greater stability.

This is not a problem I had run into perviously. I would certainly appreciate any input that any reader might have as to other options on how to handle this situation.

ProLab clients are encouraged to call one of our medical consultants at anytime for help with orthotic and AFO prescriptions.

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