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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.  An ankle foot orthotic may be recommended for those with a condition called foot drop.

At our foot clinic, a chiropodist can recommend and fit you for an ankle foot orthotic.  An appointment is required.

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. 

Ankle-foot orthotics are often used to manage conditions secondary to substantial neuromuscular conditions: Nerve damage from neurological or musculoskeletal conditions, such as cerebral palsy and diabetic neuropathy, can ultimately lead to severe muscle weakness to the extent that it changes the structure and mobility of the bones and joints in the ankles and feet.  This can lead to conditions like charcot foot or 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 can prove to be very beneficial in these cases.

The Process

A chiropodist orthotics assessment is required for an ankle-foot orthotic.  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 and ankle for your device.

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.

Insurance Coverage

An ankle-brace orthotic is covered similarly to traditional custom orthotics.

They are NOT covered by OHIP but most extended health insurance plans cover the cost of orthotics in part or in whole. If you are unsure about your benefits and coverage, you can contact your insurance company directly, or check with your employer’s HR department to receive a breakdown of your policy.

The most accurate and sure-proof way to check your coverage is to contact your insurance company directly. We strongly recommend that you contact your insurance company directly to verify your coverage 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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