There are various reasons that custom orthotics are recommended for children. Often, the purpose is to position the foot and ankle in alignment, stabilize a weak joint, prevent contractures, prevent gait deviations such as toe walking, or optimize gait pattern (heel-toe gait pattern). There are several types/styles of orthotics that each serves different purposes:

  • UCBL – shoe insert
  • Superomalleolar Orthosis (SMO) – custom molded to foot & ankle, inserts into shoe
  • Ankle-Foot-Orthosis (AFO) – custom molded to foot, ankle & lower leg (stops below the knee). The ankle support can be rigid or hinged, depending on the needs of the child.
  • Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis (KAFO) – is a leg brace designed to stabilize the knee, ankle and foot while supporting the leg. KAFO orthoses are generally used to assist mobility due to muscle weakness and/or partial or full leg paralysis.
  • Hip-Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis (HKAFO) or Reciprocating Gait Orthosis (RGO)- links two KAFOs together to assist with transferring movement from one leg to the other to assist with achieving a stepping pattern in children that do not have the neurological innervation to achieve a stepping pattern without assistance from the brace, typically due to paralysis.