Stepwell Custom AFO Information
Product Features and Benefits
- Truly custom functional brace
- Anatomically designed from the patient cast
- Enhanced comfort from orthopedic grade leathers allow for air exchange
- Heat thermo-moldable shell allows for easy spot adjustments
- Circumferential control provides stability with a lower height
- Disperses weight-bearing forces eliminating pressure points
- Lightweight and low profile, increases proprioceptive feedback for better balance and steadier gait
- Custom anterior tibial shell locks distal tibia, limiting sagittal plane excursion
- Range of motion control
- Protects surgical repair
- Superior reimbursement
- Industry best 5 day in-house fabrication turnaround time
- Semi-flexible design allows for bilateral use
- Allows normal function of healthy tissues to prevent atrophy
- Enhanced patient compliance
There are over 300 clinical diagnosis associated with the Stepwell Custom AFO including:
- Distal Tarsal Tunnel
- Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction
- Arthritic ankle/midfoot
- Post-fusion of the foot and ankle
- Chronic instability of the rearfoot and midfoot
- Late effects of foot and ankle trauma
- Pes Cavus/Pes Planus deformities
- Diabetic/Charcot deformities
- Peroneal/Achilles tendonopathies
- Nerve entrapments of the foot and ankle
The Stepwell Custom AFO vs. Other Bracing Options
The flexible nature of the Stepwell Custom AFO allows the
physician to approach patients who need a solution for more dynamic
activities, who still have muscle function and variance in their
posture. Rigid braces are for static postures, patients with little
muscle function and that no correction is possible in their
The Stepwell Custom AFO is designed to address the patients’
specific diagnoses. The AFO is designed much like a surgeon would
design a surgery, only locking the diseased portion of the foot while
allowing normal function of the other joints. A rigid brace is unable
to perform these tasks, as it attempts to immobilize ALL of the joints
of the foot and ankle.
Stepwell Custom AFO (Ankle-Foot-Orthotic) Instructions
This is a general list of things to do and questions you may have
about your Stepwell Custom AFO. At all times we are available to speak
with your clinician about your specific needs. You should always
follow the specific instructions provided to you from your healthcare
Initially, the Stepwell Custom AFO should be worn for short
periods of time. In this educational packet we have provided you with a
suggested break-in schedule that your healthcare professional may
modify depending on your clinical presentation and goals of your AFO
The AFO is designed in component sections and the use of each
component is based on your occupational, home and recreational pursuits.
Your clinician will determine the proper amount of time in each
component/combination, determined by the stage of your medical
The visual analog pain scale sheets provided in this packet, with
check off sections, should be completed daily between your follow-up
appointments. This log will be a useful tool for both you and your
healthcare professional to discuss impressions you have regarding your
therapy. In time, you will learn which component combinations are best
suited to your functional activity demands.
If you notice any areas of irritation, such as red spots,
blisters, or swelling, you should stop the use of the AFO and call your
healthcare professional for further instruction.
It is recommended to always wear a sock the same height as your
AFO to act as an interface between your skin and your AFO. Socks that
have a seam should be turned inside out to avoid seam irritation, fit
snugly, and not bunch to avoid creating an area of irritation.
The home scoring sheets provided to you will help form a dialog
with your healthcare professional. You may discover that certain
activities in your life may require the use of both AFO components
during or after your activity to control and manage your functional
demands. Your healthcare professional will be able to guide you on the
length of time that is necessary for you to wear your device, as well as
specific activities related to your medical diagnosis. Your healthcare
provider will determine, based on your specific medical diagnosis, an
appropriate follow-up appointment schedule. You should bring your AFO
and daily patient logs with you to each appointment.
The success of your AFO treatment depends greatly on you and your
expectations. If you maintain your AFO in good condition, you can expect
it to last for many years. As you age or face new physical demands, the
needs of your foot and ankle may change. Follow-up visits with your
healthcare professional may help control new foot and ankle problems
before symptoms develop. Your foot and ankle problem took time to
develop, so do not expect your symptoms to go away overnight. However,
if you wear your AFO as instructed, your symptoms can lessen over time
and healing can occur. Also, keep in mind that your AFO can help you
move more comfortably, but that the structure of your foot and ankle has
been unchanged. Also remember that your AFO will only work if you wear
them, with clinical symptoms subsiding over time.
Once you are wearing your AFO as directed, regular check-ups can help
you maintain the health of your foot and ankle condition. As with
contact lenses, your AFO prescription may change over time and your
healthcare professional may recommend a new AFO. Children, athletes, and
people with health concerns affecting the foot and ankle may require
special care. Your healthcare professional will recommend a follow-up
schedule to meet your individual needs. By controlling your foot and
ankle movement, your AFO can make it easier to get on with your life and
the activities that you enjoy. Help yourself keep this symptom-free
pace by wearing your AFO as symptoms may exhibit themselves, and
consulting with your healthcare professional on a regular basis.
Care of Your Stepwell Custom AFO
The Stepwell Custom AFO is made from structural leather, plastics and
various foams, and they will not withstand submersion in water. If the
AFO does become wet, simply let the device air-dry and do not attempt to
speed up the drying process. Walking around the inside of your home is
okay without shoes on, but when out in the community, footwear should
be worn at all times to prevent premature wear of your AFO, as well as
If your AFO does not provide functional improvement for your
medical condition within approximately 60 days, you must inform your
healthcare provider and bring your AFO in for a follow-up appointment.
If your AFO is providing necessary functional improvement to your
specific medical condition, but showing wear, you should contact your
clinician. Many times a simple refurbishment of an AFO component is all
that is needed to extend the useful lifetime of your device.
Socks should be worn at all times with your Stepwell Custom AFO. Comfortable socks should;
- Fit smoothly against your foot, above your AFO and be
snug. An athletic sock may be needed depending on the height of your
- It is best if the socks are seamless, but if seams are present, please turn your socks inside out to prevent seam irritation.
- Socks should not wrinkle easily since this can create a pressure point inside the AFO and cause an injury or discomfort.
Your Healthcare Professional Knows Best
- Look for a shoe (discussion with your clinician is
best) with a tongue that opens all the way, this is called an open-vamp
shoe. This allows you to put the AFO into the shoe easily.
- The AFO will function the best with a shoe that is new, has a large toe box and a stiff heel counter.
- Changing to different shoes may affect the function of your
AFO, as shoes can be constructed differently. Additionally, excessively
worn shoes will not allow the AFO to function properly and can
adversely influence the fit.
- A shoe with a removable foot liner allows for more depth, if
needed, to accommodate for the added volume of the foot with the AFO.
- If possible, have your feet measured while standing on them,
as the shoes you currently own may already be too short or too narrow to
begin with, regardless of the addition of the AFO.
- The lightest weight shoe will work the best, and usually a shoe with a stiff heel counter is ideal.
- Remember, footwear is an integral part of the proper use of an
AFO and can directly impact the functional success and symptom
improvement for your medical condition.
- Some popular shoe brands that work well with the Stepwell
Custom AFO are: Brooks, Pedors, Orthofeet, Aetrex, and Drew.
- It is best to wear the AFO when selecting shoes to ensure a
proper fit. If you are using the AFO on only one foot, then you may
find it necessary to only remove the shoe liner from that shoe, while
keeping the shoe liner in the non-AFO side so you are “balanced” in
- Keep your AFO dry
- Tighten the AFO to maintain a comfortable snugness, and as swelling subsides, some AFOs may need to be tightened at Walkwell.
- Change and launder your socks on a regular basis
If you notice any of the following, call your healthcare professional immediately:
- The AFO is “broken” (some creasing around the ankle is normal, acting as an “internal hinge”)
- You notice swelling above or below the AFO
- Your toes become discolored (red or white)
- Numbness occurs in your foot, ankle or toes
- You develop constant pain
- You develop a sore in your skin, a blister, or red irritation