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The Different Types of AFOs

Piro AFO types

An Ankle Foot Orthosis, or AFO for short, is a medical device that can be used throughout your life. It is designed to protect the ankle and foot from injury. There are many different types of AFOs available on the market today.

Some are made specifically for children while others can be worn by adults who have certain disabilities or health conditions such as arthritis. If you’re not sure what type of ankle foot orthosis will work best with your lifestyle, feel free to consult with an expert!

What Are Ankle Foot Orthotics Used For?

An ankle foot orthosis can be used for various medical reasons. Some of the most common conditions that call for AFOs are cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and nerve injuries to name a few. Ankle foot orthotics may also be prescribed by your physical therapist if you’ve had an injury or surgery on your ankle or foot.

AFO Orthotics help by:

  • Help keep joints in proper alignment.

  • Improve stability.

  • Improves walking and standing.

Types of AFO Orthoses

There are different types of ankle foot orthotics available on the market. Each type is developed to help with a certain condition or injury so it is important to speak with your doctor or healthcare provider before choosing an ankle foot orthosis.

Here are a few of the most common types:

Articulated AFO

Articulated AFO

An Articulated AFO or Piro Dynamic (hinged) The hinge is adjustable, allowing your doctor to customize the range of motion supplied by the orthotic. It also offers ankle dorsiflexion and eversion control.

Rigid AFO

Rigid AFO

A Rigid AFO or our Piro Control This device, which is made of a soft fabric, provides full coverage along the back of the leg and prevents movement. This orthotic allows toe clearance and ankle inversion and eversion.

Supra-malleolar Orthosis

Supra-malleolar Orthosis

The supra-malleolar orthosis or our Piro Active Orthotics that keep the foot in proper alignment while allowing for free ankle movement are referred to as SMPO.

How to Choose the Right Type of AFO for you?

If you’re not sure which ankle foot orthosis is right for your needs, talk to an expert.

Your doctor or healthcare provider will recommend the best device based on your diagnosis and how much ankle control you need. If necessary, they may send you to a physical therapist who can assist in choosing the correct type of AFO that's best suited for your lifestyle.

When comparing AFO's, look at:


That is the basic idea behind orthotics, a treatment that uses equipment and gadgets to assist a child in maintaining his or her level of mobility or addressing physical problems that are preventing him or her from being completely mobile.