How do I find a shoe to accommodate my ankle foot orthosis so that I can wear it comfortably and get it on and off easily? - C.M.
Thank you for your question. Finding a shoe that fits an AFO is not an easy task, which many other people struggle with as well. I have a few suggestions that may help you.
In terms of shoes, we have found that out of the standard tennis shoes, New Balance tends to be a little wider and easier to fit overall than some of the other brands. Removing the insole, if you have not already, will also give some additional room in the shoe. Some orthopedic brands come in extra-extra depth that will accommodate AFO's easier. These include Drew Shoes, P.W. Minor, Orthofeet, Darco, and others. Some patients have also mentioned that they have found inexpensive shoes at Walmart that actually are more accommodating than a standard tennis shoe.
For help in selecting the proper shoe and size, I would recommend going to a Van Dyke and Bacon store, as they have experience with fitting shoes over AFO's.
Several innovative companies have also come up with rear-opening shoes that allow you to pull the heel back when donning. An example is EasyUp AFO shoes, which use the Boa system to close the shoe and is meant to be able to be donned one-handed.
If it has been a while since you received the original AFO, I would also recommend coming in to see one of our practitioners to have a re-evaluation done. These can be done at no cost to you and will help to determine if you are still in the most appropriate device. If size or function has changed at all, an adjustment may help to make the AFO a little smaller and easier. And of course, bring in the shoes you might be struggling with to the appointment and the practitioner may be able to give you some further insight.
I hope that helps!
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