Types of Orthoses (Lower Extremity)

There is a variety of orthoses for different parts of the body and indications. Sometimes, orthoses are also called braces or orthotics. In the orthotic field, FIOR & GENTZ is specialized in the lower extremity. Usually, there is a distinction between orthoses for patients with paralysis and relief orthoses.

In the following, we summarised the different types of orthoses playing an important role in this area.

AFO (Ankle Foot Orthosis)

An Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) is also called lower extremity orthosis. The joint in the orthosis assumes the function of the ankle joint or those functions that the foot is not able to perform on its own anymore like lifting the foot.

An AFO goes up to the knee at most, but does not cover it. Depending on the requirements, an AFO is either prefabricated or custom-made.

The possibilities provided by the orthotic joint are of a decisive importance. It can have a foot lifting effect, influence the dorsiflexion (extension of the foot towards the tibia) and the plantar flexion (flexion of the foot towards the ground).

KAFO (Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis)

A Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis (KAFO) extends over the knee. The focus is on the joint used at knee height.

They are divided into free moving, locked and automatic system knee joints. The joint is always selected according to the patient's indications.

KO (Knee Orthosis)

A Knee Orthosis (KO) only covers the knee. Contrary to a KAFO or an AFO there is no joint at ankle height.

Knee orthoses are used (post-operative) in order to protect and relieve the knee joint. Thus, knee pain can be relieved considerably.

Frequent indications are: cruciate ligament injuries, capsular ligaments injuries and meniscus injuries.

Other Types of Orthoses

Terms employed in connection with ankle foot orthoses can be confusing. Often, they describe an AFO's properties more in detail. However, there are no clear definitions. Here you can find an overview of the most common terms.

DAFO (Dynamic AFO)

Dynamic ankle foot orthosis.

FRAFO (Floor Reaction AFO)

Rigid orthosis with anterior tibial shell.

HAFO (Hinged AFO)

Orthosis with a hinge or ankle joint.

PLS-AFO (Posterior Leaf Spring AFO)

Ankle foot orthosis with narrow trim lines of material behind the Achilles tendon

SAFO (Solid AFO)

Rigid ankle foot orthosis

SMO (Supra Malleolar Orthosis)

Orthosis over the ankle to provide medial-lateral support.


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