Do I need a new Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)?


I have been a customer of your practice for many years. I had a stroke in the late 1990s and use a leg brace, AFO, daily and walk with a cane. My current brace is old, maybe 10 years??, and needs to be replaced but, I am not sure how to go about that. There have been some stories in the paper and on TV about new prosthetics and braces. Maybe one of those new braces is right for me? Let me know if I need to see my doctor or just come in. I have Medicare.


Penny G.


Dear Penny G,

First, thank you for your business and for contacting us with this very common question. 

If your AFO is 10 years old, I recommend you have it looked at to be sure it is working properly for you. The place to start is with a visit to your primary doctor to be sure that you still require the AFO and that the overall care plan is in place to maintain optimal health. You can specifically ask your primary doctor to look at the AFO and, if they agree you still need to use the AFO and it is not optimal, they can write you an order to see us for an evaluation. During that evaluation we will talk with you about your goals, your experiences with the current AFO and problems or issues you are having. We can share with you advances in orthosis design and answer questions about those new braces you saw on TV and in the paper and, in the end, make a recommendation for repairs, adjustments or replacement of the current AFO. We will share that information with your primary doctor and make a plan to get the work done. In many cases, simple repairs and adjustments can be done that same day. If your primary doctor requests more information, we can help you with a referral to one of the specialist multi-disciplinary clinics we work with for a specialist evaluation for a new AFO and, possibly other rehabilitation treatment ideas. The specialist clinics are generally headed by a Physiatrist which is a physician who specializes in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) and who have special training in the evaluation and prescription of orthoses, including AFOs like yours. We attend the clinics with you and can provide our recommendation in person and help with the development of a new AFO prescription. Medicare does require some specific evaluation documentation for coverage of an AFO and, the specialist clinics are often a very effective method of getting that done.

Thank you again for contacting us with your question. Please feel free to call 800-879-1245 and talk directly to one of our Orthotists to get more information or ask additional questions. We look forward to working with you.


Mark S Hopkins PT, CPO, MBA and The Dankmeyer Team

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