Hagen Orthotics & Prosthetics
Helping you to live at a greater level of independence.

AFO & KAFO Wear and Care Guide

Hagen O & P AFO & KAFO Wear & Care 

email: thebraceguy@gmail.com with any questions.

  Hagen O & P


Wear & Care




Patient Information Sheet


You have just received your new orthosis.  If this is your first appliance, you may have some questions as to its care and use. An understanding of the orthosis will ease many concerns you may have initially.  Your orthosis was designed in accordance with the highest standards of modem medical technology by a Certified Orthotist, an expert trained to fabricate, fit and maintain your custom-made device. You should arrange a follow-up visit to ensure that everything is functioning properly.



An Orthosis Is Like a Friend


In the meantime, you will be getting accustomed to wearing your new orthosis. It may help to think of it as a friend. Like a friend, it will offer support and generally make life more pleasant. But the relationship also requires some care, attention and concern on your part.  Often a new orthosis needs a slow break-in regimen. It may take as long as a month before the device can be worn full time, so don't become discouraged.

Heeding the following tips will make wearing an orthosis a positive, rewarding experience; and it will respond as the strong, supportive "friend" it was designed to be.



General Wear


Your orthotist will have shown you how to put on and remove the orthosis at the time of your final fitting. A plastic ankle/foot orthosis (AFO) or knee/ankle/foot orthosis (KAFO) must always be worn with a shoe since it is extremely slippery, unstable and ineffective without one.

Either fasten the orthosis first and then put on the shoe, or slide the orthosis into the shoe and, using the device as a "shoehorn," slip your foot into both. You will determine which method is more natural and comfortable.  The break in period should be a gradual introduction to full time wear.  Start with an hour a day and continue to add an hour each day.  If an irritation occurs remove the brace and evaluate if the skin in the pressure area.  This could be from just having a new orthosis, but if the area continues too stay red for more than an hour after removing the brace an adjustment may be necessary.  Call your Orthotist with any questions about the break in period.


Wear Supportive Shoes


It is important to maintain the same shoe-heel height for which your orthosis was designed. Excessive height strains your knees and back, creating instability. Heels that are too low may also cause knee and back pain. As we have explained, shoes worn with an orthosis should prove sufficient support; slippers, sandals and loafers are inappropriate.

Patients with metal, carbon or plastic AFO’s or KAFO’s should check regularly for signs of pressure and irregular shoe wear, reporting abnormalities to your Orthotist at Hagen O&P.




Your orthosis was made to fit you properly and provide the greatest possible degree of comfort. Like breaking in a new pair of shoes, it may take a brief period before the sensation of wearing an orthosis feels natural. Follow your orthotist's instructions regarding the length of time to wear the device as you build up your tolerance.

A properly fit orthosis exerts a firm, steady pressure, similar to an open-palm hand pushing against the body. It should not cause any sharp or stabbing pain or create bruises, calluses or blisters. Should this occur, call us immediately and arrange an appointment for an adjustment.

Occasionally, extended periods of standing during hot, humid weather will result in some swelling. Remove the orthosis and elevate your leg until the swelling subsides. If it persists or becomes painful, notify your orthotist at once.


Maintain Your Weight


It's also important to maintain a relatively consistent weight. Your orthosis was custom designed for your weight and dimensions, so extreme gain or loss may cause improper fit. You'll need to see us should this occur. Growing youngsters need to be checked at regular intervals to maintain proper fit or their orthotics.

Daily examination of skin in contact with the orthosis should become a habit. A new orthosis may cause some redness which should disappear within 15 minutes after removing the device. If redness does not disappear, make an appointment to have this inspected.

Diabetics and people with lessened sensation are especially vulnerable to skin irritation, particularly in bony areas such as the shin or on the bottoms of the feet. Extra care should be taken, and even minor skin irritations should be treated promptly.


Proper Hygiene


It makes sense to keep your orthosis and yourself as clean as possible. Any part of the body covered by the orthosis should be washed daily with warm water and mild soap. Generous rinsing ensures removal of all lather since dried soap irritates the skin. Thoroughly clean the bottoms of your feet and between the toes to avoid bacteria and dirt collection. The body should be completely dry before wearing the orthosis. Shaving your legs may cause an itchy rash or irritation.

AFO’s should be cleaned regularly with alcohol or mild soap and water. Do not soak the orthosis in water or attempt to hasten drying by using a hair dryer or placing the appliance in front of a heater. Your orthosis may be towel-dried or left to dry at room temperature. Talcum powder will help prevent odors.

If any part of your orthosis becomes cracked or broken, make an appointment and bring it in for repair or replacement. Worn fabric portions should also be replaced. Make an appointment to have this inspected.


Scheduled Visits


You should schedule a follow-up visit now that you have received your orthosis. It is necessary to be seen to make sure the orthosis fits properly, is providing the required support, and does not cause any undue pressure or discomfort. Follow the break in procedure properly and all special instructions to insure that the orthosis provides the greatest degree of function. If changes in condition (strength/weight/etc) occur, call us to re-evaluate the orthosis.

Future visits and orthotic maintenance checks may also be scheduled as determined by your individual needs. Orthosis with joints require greater attention. Metal joints and the like require evaluation every 6 months to insure they are working properly. All repairs require to be done at our facility. Any changes in orthosis must be evaluated by us as soon as possible.

By following this schedule it will offer you peace of mind and assurance that your orthosis is offering you maximum support, comfort and assistance.

See our warranty and also note that we are here to repair and adjust orthosis as needed. Repairs by negligence, accident, misuse or abuse will not be covered, but each is taken on a individual evaluation. We are not responsible for any misuse of the orthosis. This includes use beyond normal activities to which the orthosis can withstand. 


Thank You


In conclusion, we would like to thank you for selecting our services. Our team of skilled professionals is dedicated to providing you with the highest level of orthopedic care and to designing the appliances best suited to help you attain the greatest degree of function. We trust you will be pleased with your orthosis. Following these suggestions should avert any problems, but if you have a concern, please notify us at once. Each orthosis is made in a different manner and special instructions are provided for certain orthosis and must be followed carefully. If you have abnormalities or unsure of your abilities talk to us about Physical Therapists that can help you use your device in a gait lab or the like.

Even though your orthosis is constructed of the highest quality materials available to the industry, there may be some problem develop or situation arise for which you will need assistance. If this happens, contact your Orthotist as soon as possible to have the repairs made.

If there should be any questions not answered in this text, feel free to ask your Physician or your Orthotist.


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