AFO's or ankle and foot orthoses are braces that are custom-made to treat a wide variety of foot and ankle pain issues. When orthotics are not sufficient enough to control abnormal motion and function, a full ankle and or leg brace can be made to treat these conditions. Problems that often require AFO's are severe arthritis, severe foot injuries, dropfoot (such as the dragging leg that occurs when a person has a stroke), and chronic and constant foot and ankle pain.

In addition, New Jersey podiatrists Dr. Bruce Theall offers a balance brace which is extremely lightweight and has been shown to reduce the risk of falling 30% to 60%. The design of this brace is to stabilize the foot and ankle, but stimulates the skin receptors to provide proper feedback to the brain.  Balance is improved by reducing postural sway where the body rocks back and forth too much in walking and can then cause the person to tilt too far over to the side and fall (For more information about this brace see our section on fall assessment).

People who had trouble walking with canes and walkers for years, can oftentimes leave these devices behind once they are fit with the proper brace for their legs and ankles. The braces come in all different styles and height and are designed specifically for the individual problem once Dr. Theall has completed their evaluation.


AFOs are recommended for the control of foot and ankle movement. They are composed of thermoplast (polypropylene). The “Old” style AFO were constructed of leather and steel, but at Dr. Theall’s office, he used the latest in modern technology for the treatment of all lower extremity foot deformities to find the perfect, comfortable fit for your specific foot abnormality that may have been caused by the complications of diabetes. Options for treatment include a fixed, hinged and dynamic type AFO made custom to you. A Richie brace (fixed) may serve as an AFO as well. Patients who suffer from foot drop deformity, ankle instability, paralysis / neuromuscular conditions, ankle joint arthritis, unstable gait, flatfleet, tendon disease, severe ankle sprains (including recurring ankle sprains), diabetic Charcot deterioration of the foot and ankle, partial or full foot amputations, or any severe foot deformity, are all reasons for you to come see Dr. Theall. For more information on AFO's and braces, please contact our East Orange office today.

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