What is foot drop?
Foot drop, (sometimes referred to as drop foot) is NOT a disease; it is a symptom of an underlying neurological, muscular or anatomical condition marked by the inability to lift the front part of the foot. Foot drop can affect one or both feet. Depending on the cause, foot drop may be temporary or permanent.
Because people with Foot Drop aren't able to lift their foot fully, they may scuff their toes along the ground or lift their knees up high to avoid scuffing, stumbling, or dragging the toes while walking. This extra effort can often result in tripping or falling — a reality that cn lead to the patient simply thinking they are clumsy or careless, or worse, lead to more severe injuries to the patient from the fall.
Other indications of Foot Drop include a “slapping” of the foot with each step; an inability to point the toes upward or move the ankle from side to side; and pain, weakness or numbness in the foot or toes.
How do I know if I have foot drop?
It is best to see your general practitioner if you believe you may have foot drop. Signs and symptoms of foot drop may include:
- Frequent or increased incidence of falling or stumbling
- Difficulty lifting one’s toes or the front part of the foot
- Dragging the front of the foot when walking
- A “slapping” of the foot on the floor with each step
- Higher than normal bending of the knees and lifting of the thigh, as though one is climbing stairs
- Inability to voluntarily point the toes upward and/or move the ankle from side to side
- Pain, weakness, or numbness in the foot or toes
The effects of this condition become apparent as people try to resume their everyday lives. Foot Drop makes it difficult (if not impossible) for individuals to walk properly or participate in activities that require significant physical movement (manual labor, sports, etc). The inability to properly lift the foot can even make it hard to do the simplest of tasks, like getting dressed in the morning and putting on shoes. For some, it means spending some time in a wheelchair or using crutches.
What is an AFO?
An AFO is a brace that slips into the shoe and stabilizes the foot and ankle to regulate the process of taking a step. Due to the various causes of Foot Drop and the diverse group of people who can develop it, there are multiple types of braces that are made for different levels of support.
How do I know if an AFO is right for me?
The best person to refer to on this question is either your primary care physician or orthotist, and a prescription from a physician is necessary to obtain a brace. No one can evaluate whether AFOs are right for you over the phone or via Email. If you need help finding an orthotist in your area, please contact Allard USA’s customer service team:
What happens during an AFO fitting?
To schedule a fitting you will first need to get a prescription for an Ankle-Foot Orthosis from a physician. Your physician may refer you to a particular O&P (Orthotic and Prosthetic) facility or practitioner, but you are free to utilize the O&P of your choice.
Most fittings are done by certified orthotists in hospitals or in clinical settings, such as the facilities mentioned above. Before any fitting can happen there must first be an in-depth assessment between you and your clinician. During a first appointment the clinician evaluates your specific medical and physical conditions and may take various measurements, scans or casts of your affected limb/s.
Equally important in the initial appointment is that you, as the patient, provide crucial information about your daily activities and life goals: Do you have a job that requires strenuous labor? Do you have special hobbies or preferred activities where certain braces will not work well? The relationship between you and your clinician should be a partnership where good communication on both sides is key to obtaining a brace that works best for you. There is no one brace that is right for everyone.
Once you and your clinician have finished your initial assessment, various options of bracing will be considered and it will be up to both of you as to which one will best suit your needs. From there your brace will be ordered and a second appointment will follow where you will receive your brace and have it customized for best fit and function. It is not unusual to return to the clinician as you are first getting used to your AFO; often there are adjustments necessary for optimum comfort and function so be sure to call your fitter should you have any problems at all. If there is any redness, irritation or abnormalities of the skin integrity please contact your provider, especially if there is reduced feeling in the lower extremities.
What are Allard AFOs?
There are multiple Allard AFOs available in adult and pediatric sizes. Each brace is a technologically advanced, carbon composite orthosis that deflects in reaction to your weight and then reflects that energy to propel the leg forward. With varying supports, sizes, stability strengths and the ability to be highly customized, this dynamic ankle foot orthosis helps wearers walk with a more natural gait pattern.
Allard USA is the industry leader in carbon composite AFOs. What sets Allard AFOs apart from other AFOs are these unique features:
• The anterior design extends up from footplate onto front of leg to avoid pressure on the calf & Achilles.
• The lateral strut is on the outer side of the footplate to create stability and function.
• The shin plate provides for a more comfortable design for the user.
• The extreme thinness of the product makes it light and almost invisible under slacks or trousers.
• The dynamic footplate, unique layup, and shape contributes to a more dynamic, functional, and fluid gait pattern.
• The thinness of the footplate often allows brace to fit in the shoe without going up a shoe size.
• Made of carbon fiber, fiberglass and Kevlar® they are extremely lightweight yet structurally superior.
• The open heel allows for greater range of motion to achieve more normal gait, eliminates pressure on Achilles, calf, & heel.
• Each style of Allard AFO has a different level of rigidity to accommodate multiple levels of involvement.
• Offers one of the most generous Warranties in the industry and 30-Day Patient Satisfaction Guarantee
• To accommodate different needs, Allard’s sizes & products are graded in stability & dynamic response.
What can I do in my Allard AFO?
Many activities that individuals with a normally functioning gait do are possible in your brace. The activity level of those wearing an Allard AFO ranges from sedentary to very active (walking, running, cycling, triathlons, etc.). It is best to discuss your recommended activity level with your orthotist or primary care physician.
Will one of the Allard AFOs work for my condition?
The best person to refer to on this question is either your primary care physician or orthotist. No one can evaluate whether Allard AFOs are right for you over the phone or via email. If you need help finding an orthotist in your area, please contact Allard USA’s customer service team.
Who might an Allard AFO NOT be right for?
Ultimately, a certified orthotist should be consulted about whether an Allard AFO is appropriate for you. However, some instances in which Allard AFOs may not be the best solution are:
- Leg ulcers
- Moderate to severe edema (swelling caused by fluid accumulation)
- Moderate to severe foot deformities **NOTE: Some foot amputations can be managed with the insertion of a partial foot prosthesis
- Severe hyperextension of the knee that cannot be managed orthotically **NOTE: Ask your orthotist about Allard’s CROSS™ or COMBO™ brace in combination with an Allard AFO
How do I get an Allard AFO?
Allard AFOs are all prescription braces that can only be ordered and fit by a certified orthotist. All you need to do is get a prescription from your Primary Care Physician or Physical Therapist requesting an Allard AFO (MAKE SURE THEY INCLUDE THE PHRASE “NO SUBSTITUTIONS” TO ENSURE YOU RECEIVE THE HIGHEST QUALITY PRODUCT). If you are not currently seeing an orthotist, please contact our main office, where our friendly Customer Service Specialists will be more than happy to help you find one in your area.
Can I buy the brace directly from Allard USA?
Allard USA does not sell directly to patients as the braces need to be customized and fit by a certified orthotist. Fitting by a trained and certified orthotist with the proper equipment will ensure that you will receive optimal performance, comfort, and longevity from your brace.
How do I find an orthotist in my area that can fit me with a brace?
Our Customer Service Specialists are available Mon. – Fri. 9:00AM-5:30PM EST via phone at (888) 678-6548 or email at email@example.com.
How much is an Allard AFO?
Bracing cost depends on several variables such as your insurance provider and how much customization has to be done to the brace. Your orthotist should be able to help answer any questions you have about general cost/billing.
Will my insurance cover the brace?
Allard USA is the manufacturer and distributor of Allard AFOs, and as such, do not deal directly with insurance companies or insurance billing. The facility where you are fit for the brace should be able to help you with any insurance/billing/payment questions you may have.
Is there a warranty on Allard AFOs?
Yes. The warranty policies for our AFO products are as follows:
- All Models Ypsilon®, ToeOFF® and BlueROCKER® except Custom Allard AFOs – 2 Replacements within 1 year from date of original fit. Patient Satisfaction Guarantee – within 30 days of fit
- Allard AFO Padding Options and Liners – 90 days from original fit date for Maunfacturer's Defects. Patient Satisfaction Guarantee = within 30 days of fit
- Allard Pediatric AFOs – 1 Replacement within 6 months from date of original fit. Patient Satisfaction Guarantee = within 30 days of fit
What kinds of shoes are best to wear with an Allard AFO?
The best shoes to wear with Allard AFOs are ‘rocker sole’ (also called rocker bottom) athletic shoes. There are two types of rocker sole shoes:
1. Stable, with a mostly flat sole that curves up near the toe to facilitate forward motion.
2. Unstable, with a curved sole from the heel to the toe. Be sure to go with a stable rocker sole shoe so as not to put undue stress on the brace. If possible, it is recommended that you avoid wearing boots, high-heels, or slippers with your brace. Your orthotist should be able to help you pick out the optimal shoe for your brace, but some recommended brands are Aetrex, Dr. Comfort, and Orthofeet.
It is important to choose supportive shoes. Sandals and loafers do not offer sufficient support and should not be worn with your brace. Your orthotist fit your orthosis based on the heel height of the shoe you were wearing at the time of your fitting. Allard USA encourages you to speak with your orthotist before selecting shoes that have significantly different heel heights than those you wore during your initial fitting. It is recommended to have some type of interface or orthotic between your foot and the footplate. Your orthotist may have to place an insole or custom footbed on top of the footplate. If not, ask your orthotist what type of interface will be best for you.
Are there limitations to an Allard AFO?
It is recommended that certain activities be modified to extend the life and functionality of your brace:
- When climbing stairs, the wearer should place their entire foot on the step instead of walking on the balls of their feet.
- When climbing a ladder, the center of the foot should be placed on the rung to minimize weight bearing on the ball of the foot alone.
- Squatting should be avoided as it will significantly increase the stress on the brace and increase the risk of breakage.
- Take care to not leave your brace laying down to reduce possibility of someone stepping or sitting on it.
- Do not expose your brace to temperature extremes such as leaving it in a car trunk on a hot day or outdoors during extreme cold.
- Be sure to check the skin area around the brace as well as the brace itself every day for irritation or abnormalities, especially if there is reduced feeling in the lower extremities.
How do I clean my Allard AFO?
It is recommended to wash liners and straps approximately twice per week. Follow the washing instructions on the liner. The brace itself can be gently cleaned with mild soap and water.
I need a new SoftKIT/Strap/Other Accessory. Can I order it directly from Allard USA?
Replacement accessories for Allard AFOs can be purchased from Amazon, Rehabmart, or by contacting your orthotist to order any replacement parts. If for any reason your orthotist cannot provide you with replacements or you don’t recall where you were fit for your brace, please call Allard USA’s friendly Customer Service Specialists to help you find a nearby facility that can help.
My Allard AFO is cracking or broken. What do I do?
Please contact your orthotist immediately so that they can order you a replacement brace. If you do not recall where you were fitted, please call our Customer Service Specialists to help you find a nearby facility that can help.