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November 26, 2014 - TCO

Behind the Scenes: St. Croix Orthopaedics Orthotics Center

Have you ever wondered how a custom AFO (Ankle Foot Orthosis) is made?  We recently visited Carl Cunningham, C-PED, at the St. Croix Orthopaedics Orthotics Center to find out.

It all begins by casting the patient’s lower limb with fiberglass or casting material. During this process, the ankle and foot are placed in the desired position to achieve the best outcome for the patient. Bony landmarks are marked on the casted limb and built-up with plaster to provide reliefs in the plastic. These areas are noted in order to provide comfort and reduce pressure at areas of concern.

Next, the plastic is heated and vacuum-formed over the modified cast. Trim lines are placed on the plastic-formed cast and the edges are smoothed for patient comfort (as shown in the photo). Next, the AFO is fitted with additional padding, joints, and stops.  It is now ready to be fitted with the patient.