How will an Ankle-Foot orthotic (AFO) or brace help prevent falls?
An AFO stabilizes the foot and ankle even in the absence of the visual information most necessary for balance. Seniors often have decreased sensory inputs or postural control. In order to maintain balance the interaction of multiple sensory inputs from either the same or different sensory systems is necessary by the brain to maintain balance and posture. Since an AFO will stimulate skin mechano-receptors, the stimulation by the constant pressure contact of the material in the skin leads to additional nervous information sent to the brain. This extra information provided by the AFO allows it to become an additional source of sensory information. An AFO can provided significant improvement in postural control and help reduce the risk of falling and it's potential for injury.