AFO Brace – Foot Drop Splint Pricing & Cost Information
If you are interested in obtaining an AFO brace (aka a foot drop splint), this article was written specifically for you.
In this article, we will be covering the costs of these foot drop splints but we need to bring you through a process because there is not just one cost or price for these items.
No, we are not trying to annoy you with a full blown article on the topic, because we are quite sure many visitors would rather have a quick response. We totally understand that, but the honest truth is that if we did that we would be cheating you out of information. We do not want to do that, because if we short cut this, you could walk away with information that does not exactly apply to your specific situation. Sound fair?
If you want a quick range then we will tell you that an AFO can easily range from about $24.00 up to approximately $1092.00 at the time of this writing. This is for people that are getting an AFO as an outpatient (meaning, outside of the hospital).
We have to preface this article by telling you that the range here is based on insurance quotes and the style of AFOs you will want to get. Also, online prices can vary due to distributors and shipping fees, depending on the type of AFO and day they are selling it. We will cover all of that with you here.
Ok. Let’s get down to the details.
AFOs fall into two general categories.
1.) Prefabricated AFOs (foot drop splints)
2.) Custom made AFOs (foot drop splints)
Prefabricated / Custom
You can tell right off of the bat that the two will have different price tags, without being an expert in the field.
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for. So, if you think your foot drop will go away within a week, then you can try the prefabricated types potentially. They do have value, but they also come with more significant draw backs. – If, however, you know your foot drop is going to be with you on a more permanent basis, we personally think custom is the way to go in most instances (unless you are an avid runner – more on that later in the article.
Therefore, you will have to pick out the one you are thinking of below and it can help you to come to a price based off of your situation and preferences.
If you are not sure which one you need, that is fine. That is normal actually, but we will help you down the road to finding the style that is right for you.
In the end, however, we always recommend you seen an orthotist. This is a professional in the field of orthotics. Not only do they know a lot about gait, but they can evaluate you and talk you through your options. This is invaluable actually. It is far better than seeing a picture on an internet website, reading a 2-5 sentence description of the product and taking a chance on one you think might look cool.
Pricing & Cost Information For Prefabricated AFOs / Off The Shelf Foot Drop Splints
Ok. So, there are 2 general branches to the prefabricated AFO style. Let’s quickly discuss those with you here :
1.) Off The Shelf Plastic Style
2.) Carbon Graphite
Prefabricated Plastic AFOs
Plastic AFOs like this are prefabricated to molds of people that are deemed small, medium and large for example. The plastic that is utilized is something known as thermoplastic. Meaning, it can be heated and vacuum formed over a positive mold that equates to the small, medium and large information we are mentioning.
Again, you can search for “off the shelf” AFOs and find a bunch of vendors. The lowest costs that we found are about $24.00, while others cost $35.00 and up to about $60.00.
This comes before shipping and taxes. Shipping can easily add on $12-20 for example to your bottom line, for example.
If an off the shelf AFO works for you, then that is a great!. It is not our place to tell you which one is best for you because we have not evaluated you. But, at least you know the cost of prefabricated plastic AFOs now and we can work our way up from here.
Just remember that if you think your foot or leg can not fall into a small, medium or large scenario, you might be in for a rude awakening. It is best not to guess on this one, because measurements of your leg do not tell the full story unfortunately. This is why we need to show you more information because while off the shelf has value, we do not want you to get burned on using one and then not get the full support you need – because there are other options available.
More over, off the shelf AFOs are typically more simple in function, which might not be what you need. Off the shelf AFOs of this kind typically only hold the foot up. While this sounds good, most people do not realize they have a whole host of other walking issues that need to be addressed. Like side to side balance, knee buckling and knee hyperextension and compensatory gait patterns.
Why Visiting An Orthotist is an Important Price Consideration Point
If you have insurance or other medical coverage, this section is very important for you to consider.
As you know, insurance can pay for stuff. This is true for medical goods, home expenses etc if the reasons are justified. And, yes, these coverages can also help you pay for an AFO. It all really depends on the medical coverage plan that you have but your costs might be anywhere from $0.00 for the AFO up to whatever your coverage does not taken care of.
So, for the AFO we spoke about above, there is an hcpc code of L1930. This code currently reimburses at $193.00 as it relates to insurance. So, if your plan covers everything at 90 to 100 %, then you are going to be happy, if you compare it to the price we mentioned above. If you go to an orthotist in this situation but your deductible is high then you might not be happy. It all depends on the situation. – Remember, orthotists do not make the prices for hcpc codes.
As the AFO brace / foot drop splint prices go up, however, you will be happy you had insurance / medical coverage.
If we are looking at the whole thing from a transactional point of view, then you can weigh your options. But do not forget that AFOs can need adjusting and an orthotist will typically do that for free within their warranty period. This in invaluable actually and is a secondary benefit to working with the professionals. If you had to pay $20 more for the AFO, but got it professionally fit and adjusted then it would probably be worth the investment, instead of trying to do the adjustments yourself. – I think you get what what mean.
2.) Off The Shelf, Carbon Graphite Foot Drop Splints / AFO Braces
The images above illustrate what a carbon AFO looks like. Due to branding we created these types of images for you instead, but they are very fair representations of what you will be looking at in this type of prefabricated AFO. These carbon graphite AFOs are known for being light weight.
The one carbon graphite “spiral” AFO above will be shown below here again below, to start our discussion.
The name speaks for itself : spiral AFO.
If you go to do a quick search online, you will see that these AFOs / Foot drop splints can be offered to you for approximately $620.00 USD, before shipping and taxes. The upside here is you might get a “deal” on price, but unless you go with an orthotist, you will always wonder if you go the correct one or not. As you can see the two above look very different and how does that translate to your specific situation? An orthotist knows the answer to that question.
Sometimes online sites will not take stuff back after it touches your skin and this is a consideration point for sure. And how will the customer service be for you after you purchase the online AFO? Do you get the padding kit or not? What will be the price to return that if you don’t need the padding kit? All of this stuff leads you to the experience of an orthotist over that of an internet purchase.
If you go to an orthotist, the code they will most likely use to bill your AFO to insurance is L1951 (for this AFO seen above and to the left). That is the base code. That price is approximately $645, prior to the addition of any padding. Padding for these AFOs uses a hcpc code of L2820. Otherwise known as “below knee” padding. That cost is approximately $62.00. As a result, you are basically looking at a total of : $707.00 to get that AFO as an outpatient.
The question is whether your coverage will come in handy or not. Remember, it is not only a straight monetary transaction. Sometimes, these AFOs need slight tweaks and that is where an orthotist comes in.
The next AFO / Foot Drop Splint, we are going to be discussing with you is what you have seen above. But we will also show it to you again here to the right. It is also a carbon graphite AFO, but you can see that it is different than the other spiral style. Right?
The carbon graphite material swings up in front of the tibia just below the knee cap. This is important for people who have a knee buckling issue. Many people have them but do not realize it in our experience. On the internet, the we quickly see some that sell for approximately $240 and go up to approximately $640.00, prior to any add on features, taxes or shipping.
These AFOs can still be very light weight and helpful for the right person.
But knowing when to move from one carbon AFO to another is something that should not be done without gait experience.
The upside to any prefabricated AFO is that you can get them very quickly. Custom ones do take at least 24 hours to make. They are quicker to get, but it is our opinion that they do not center the weight line (significant concept) or stop an ankle from rolling. – Most people break their hips from falling to the side, so this would not be the ideal fit for that candidate in our opinion.
The hcpc code for this AFO to the right is L1932 and it can or may not use an add on code of L2820 (padding). The general pricing and cost information for these codes are : L1932 = $ , L2820 = $62.00. So, you can try to do it online at minimum of $240, but that comes at a price. It is a choice you will have to make in the end, based off of your own thoughts and what we have already mentioned to you thus about returns, tweaks, etc. If you insurance paid for most of it you will most likely be a happy camper and you will have the expert of an orthotist to rely on if any “oh by the ways” come up.
There are carbon fiber AFOs made by a company named Turbomed as well. These are typically made for runners or highly active people in our experience. It is a recent development that these AFOs can be billed to insurance. If you are in the Illinois area, you can give us a ring and we can discuss this option with you as well.
Custom Made Foot Drop Splints / AFO Braces
Alright. Now that we have reviewed pricing and cost information for off the shelf foot drop splints, otherwise known as AFO Braces, we will continue our discussion to the “custom made” style of AFOs.
It is our experience that custom AFOs are typically made from thermoplastic. Kind of like what we mentioned at the beginning with the first prefabricated AFO, but typically custom is stronger and more resilient to ground reaction forces when you walk. That is a good thing.
The images you see above are called “articulated” AFOs. These allow some movement at the ankle and this can be good in certain situations. Other custom foot drop splints can be called “prearticulated”, when the joint is not activated yet. The base code for these AFOs is typically L1970 and they are typically not sold on the internet, unless it is an auction site or something (not what you want to do).
You see, custom means that it is made to the shape of you. Not someone else. If you are not a runner, these are the braces we would recommend that you get. But that is just us.
So, back to price. The base code that goes with an AFO that is hinged is L1970, as mentioned previously. This carries a cost of approximately : $531.00 USD. They can incorporate other codes as well, like :
L2820 : $62.00 for below knee padding.
L2275 : $100.00 for a varus / valgus correction component. This helps if your toe swings in too much or you are apt to rolling your ankle for example.
L2340 : $321.00 USD. This is to incorporate a pretibial shell. These
L2200 : $39.00 USD. This is for controls the amount of plantar flexion or dorsiflexion an AFO utilizes. Sometimes orthotists charge for one of these per AFO, sometimes there are two.
The picture to the right shows a custom AFO without a hinge. This is often times called a solid AFO. It utilizes a hcpc code known as an L1960. This is still a great walking aid, even if it does not have a hinge. Just because someone gets a hinge in their AFO, that does not mean it is better, actually.
If someone is going to get an L1960, or a custom AFO without a hinge, then the approximate price is $476.00. The add on codes above could be utilized with this AFO style as well. Also, remember we are showing you examples with colorful designs, yours can match your skin color if you want it to.
So, for a custom AFO, the price can range from about $476.00 as you see here to the right with no bells or whistles and it can range up to $1092 currently (as of the time of this writing) : $476 – $1092.00
When it comes to getting a custom AFO, one of the other bonuses is that the orthotics company can tell you what your insurance or other medical coverage tells them about your plan and its benefits. Let them help you. This assistance is free and trust me, if someone extends this help to you take it because you could be on hold forever and if you do not know the lingo, it is not going to be fun. You can be on hold sometimes long enough that it kills the batteries in your phone, for example.
Gauntlet Type AFOs
In our final section, we are going to cover a new style of custom AFO that you may or may not have heard of before. It is called a gauntlet style of AFO. I personally love these ones because they can help people with balance and foot pain and give people their lives back. Some people might suffer from balance problems in a side to side manner (those who are more apt to fall sideways and break their hip) or may have very painful feet and ankles. These AFOs can really help with that, to the point that you might be shocked by the outcome.
With respect to price, these AFOs traditionally have three hcpc codes assigned to them in our experience. I suppose they could have more codes, but that is not normally the case.
1.) L1940. Plastic AFO interior that provides structure to the AFO. Cost for this plastic frame interior, is approximately : $374.00 USD
2.) L2330 : Lacer = $282.00. You might be thinking, I can buy shoe laces for a shoe and they cost like a dollar! But with this it is different. Lacers are physically sewn into leather and added to the device. If you try it at home you will have a heck of a time completing that task.
3.) L2820 : Yes, we are back to padding. In this case it is a little differne though. A below knee padding in this case is more from the softness of the leather interface, however some AFOs do have padding under the lather as well. Price = $62.00 Below Knee Interface / Padding : $62.00
Total Price & cost is approximately (drum roll please) : $718.00
Thank you reading our article. We hope you found some of this information useful. Again, remember these are approximations and the price where you live might vary depending on time and place. Insurance / medical coverage can definitely help so if you have it, use it!
If you have insurance also have your doctor’s office call the orthotic company too so they can get the ball rolling for you on a script for the device.
If you like this information, check out our free mini course on AFOs, Foot Drop and Fall Prevention. It is based on our book and can really help you to learn more about the topic and how to help you solve your foot drop issues.
Here is a picture of the book below.
You will also be able to sign up for the free mini course by clicking this link below as well :