Take a virtual tour inside a “Brace Shop”
You have probably seen an AFO in one form or another as a medical professional. To understand them more fully, we are going to bring you inside the fabrication side to get an overview of how these custom thermoplastic AFOs are made. This information will give you a better understanding of the details that surround this walking aid. As a result, you will be able to inform your patients about how and why an AFO looks the way it does.
We will discuss the following in the next segment, so you are more aware of your options:
- How custom thermoplastic AFOs are made
- How to treat plantar flexion contractures with a custom AFO
- How to treat intoeing for your patients
- How to stop an ankle from rolling with an AFO and more…
In this particular video, we will show you how a custom AFO is made. We are going to start with the casting process. One of the things that we do in the casting process is we first start by protecting the skin. So we need a stockinette that is big enough. I am going to use a 3” stockinette here. We are going to go down here, and I am going to show you how we are protecting the patient’s skin. So an ankle-foot orthosis actually comes up to a point that is basically in this part of the leg. There are some that are made on a shorter level, but there are disadvantages to that. But we are going to show you the casting process today. So we are going to use the fiberglass like material that is in here. This is going to take the shape, it sets up relatively quickly, it has an exothermic reaction that happens when it comes into contact with water. So, in general, it means that it is going to start to harden the moment it comes in a contact with water, it is going to expedite the process. I suppose if I left this out, it would get hardened by itself, but the water helps it to go by much faster. We are also going to use a tube right here. This tube is going to be wrapped inside of the fiberglass, and the whole point of that is you never want to cut the patient. So that is why we have our tube here, there is no guessing involved, you do not have to worry about any of that, and do find that does get quieter around the time the cut off the cast- this is the whole point of the tube like this. Lastly, we will just use our cutting knife and go right down the tube.
So I just got this wet, you might be able to see a little bit of the water on the casting material. Instead of just putting this right on the patient’s skin like this, we have to think ahead. So what we are going to do is( can you hold that for me at the very top) to start to cast the foot and the leg here below the knee. This is for an ankle-foot orthosis a custom-made device. If you start thinking about it as we do this, there is a certain volume and shape here. It is all going to get and capsulate inside this impression that we are taking and the patient is going to benefit from that as we make the brace later. So we are just going to wrap up like this and bring it down a little bit and we are just going to keep going like this and we are going to think about our positioning here more in a second.