Ankle Foot Orthotics

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An ankle foot orthotic is a brace device that supports the lower leg and the foot. It is a brace made out of hard plastic that aligns the foot and ankle at an optimal angle, stabilizes the ankle joint, and supports the arches.  It may even dynamically assist with lifting the foot off the ground when moving.  Ankle foot orthotics are often used to address neuromuscular foot conditions, like cerebral palsy or nerve damage resulting from a stroke. It is especially helpful for treating a condition called foot drop.

At our foot clinic, a chiropodist can prescribe, cast and fit you for an ankle foot orthotic during an orthotics assessment. Assessments are by appointment only. Please specify that you are seeking an ankle-foot brace orthotic when booking your assessment so that we can allocate enough time for your appointment. 

Most private insurers cover the cost of ankle-foot orthotics if it is prescribed by a recognized medical practitioner.

Purpose and Benefits

An Ankle-Foot Orthotic can be thought of as a specially designed orthotic that covers the ankle and calf, in addition to the soles of our feet (traditional orthotics typically just go under the soles). The device helps to correct significant biomechanical abnormalities during movement, and stabilize and support the joints and muscles of the foot and ankle. This in turn alleviates strain and pressure on parts of the foot, ankle and lower leg, which can prevent further injury and reduce pain. Some ankle-foot orthotics have a mechanical design that helps lift the foot off the ground during movement. 

Ankle-foot orthotics are often used to manage conditions secondary to substantial neuromuscular conditions. Nerve damage from neuromuscular conditions, such as cerebral palsy and diabetic neuropathy, can ultimately lead to severe muscle weakness. Overtime, this weakness (and the resulting compensation and strain) can change the structure and mobility of the bones and joints in the ankles and feet.  This can lead to conditions like charcot foot, foot drop or posterior tibial tendon dysfunction, which is the most common cause of adult-acquired foot drop. 

An ankle-foot orthotic can be a real game-changer for people with foot drop. With foot drop, individuals may have difficulty lifting their feet off the ground when they walk, and often drag the front of their foot when they move.  An ankle-foot orthotic alleviates this by helping to spring the foot off the ground during movement. 

The Process

A chiropodist orthotics assessment is required for an ankle-foot orthotic.  When booking your assessment, please indicate that you are seeking an ankle-foot orthotic. This will ensure that we allocate enough time for your appointment and book you with the appropriate specialist. Click here to learn more about orthotics assessments.  

At the assessment, the chiropodist will take a medical history, conduct their examination, and take a 3-dimensional mold of your foot, ankle and calf using a 3D digital scanner. You may need to change positions during the scanning process; we therefore recommend bring someone with you to your appointment to assist you if you have mobility restrictions. 

Depending on the mobility of the ankle joint, stability of the knee, and indications for the brace, one of the following may be recommended:

  • Hinged assist
  • Standard
  • Restricted hinge

After your assessment, the ankle-foot orthotic will be ordered. Depending on your insurer, you will either pre-pay for the device or leave a deposit at this time.  An appointment for a fitting will then be booked.  

At your fitting, you will try on the ankle-foot orthotic and the chiropodist will check it fits and works properly, and that there are no issues.  If there are any issues, we will fix them onsite and/or send the device back to the lab for adjustments.  If all goes well, you can take the device home and start enjoying its benefits.

If you have any issues or concerns with the ankle-foot orthotic, please contact us so we can book you in for a check-up. Any repairs made within 3-months of picking up your ankle-foot orthotic are free of charge. There will be a charge for repairs made outside the 3-month period.

Insurance Coverage

Ankle-foot brace orthotics are NOT covered by OHIP but most extended health insurance plans cover the cost of orthotics in part or in whole. Ankle-foot orthotics cost more than standard orthotics, and are sometimes listed as a different line item in your policy. If you are unsure about your benefits and coverage, please refer to your online benefits portal or benefits information package for a breakdown of your policy. You can also contact your insurance company directly, or check with your employer’s HR department to receive a breakdown of your policy.

We strongly recommend verifying your insurance coverage directly with your insurer prior to your appointment.

If you wish to use your private foot care benefits to get ankle-brace orthotics, ALL insurance providers require a prescription from a medical doctor, chiropodist or podiatrist.  Most providers will accept a prescription from a chiropodist.  Our clinic has multiple chiropodists who can assess your feet if you require an ankle-foot orthotic.  You can use the booking form below to schedule an assessment – no referral required!

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Carolina Charles

Patient Relation Coordinator (She/Her)

If you’ve been to the clinic before, chances are you had the pleasure of meeting Carolina! Carolina’s daily goal is going above and beyond to make sure patients are always completely satisfied. Having worked in the podiatry industry for 22 years, Carolina brings a wealth of knowledge pertaining to client service, insurance policies, and procedures. She steers the ship to make sure everything runs smoothly on the daily. Carolina is known for spicing up every outfit with her signature costume jewellery.