How do I apply and tighten my child’s brace?

  1. Hold the foot at or beyond 90 degrees
  2. Place the foot firmly into the heel pocket of the AFO
  3. Secure the ankle strap
  4. Secure the shin strap
  5. Fit the shoe over the AFO
  6. Prevent skin problems from occurring with your new brace by following a “wearing” schedule.
  7. Always check your child’s foot and lower leg for any areas of redness when you remove your brace.
  8. Notify your Orthotist if dark red areas do not go away after 20 minutes.
  9. Adjust your AFO by loosening the Velcro straps if you notice redness or if your AFO feels uncomfortable.

Orthokids. Melbourne, Australia.

How tight should the brace be?

The heel should be securely held in the brace with no “give” or movement. Wear your brace as tightly as possible. A loose brace will cause rubbing and lead to skin problems.

Protecting Your Skin

It is very important to prevent skin breakdown (i.e., sore, dark red skin). The skin under the brace needs to be toughened up, especially where the brace presses the hardest. Apply rubbing alcohol with your hands to the area. Alcohol plus the friction of your hand to your body will toughen the skin. Continue this procedure only until your skin toughens (usually about 2 to 3 weeks after you start wearing the brace).

Pay special attention to pink areas of the skin where your brace presses the most. The pink color should disappear within 30 minutes of removing the brace. If the skin remains pink longer than 30 minutes, adjustments may be required.

The use of cornstarch (a dusting) may be helpful in hot weather, or on skin sensitive to alcohol. Do not use creams, lotions, or powder under the brace initially because they tend to soften the skin and can lead to skin breakdown.

If there is skin breakdown (sore, red, raw skin), the brace must not be reapplied until the skin heals. This usually takes several days. If this happens, call Braceworks 403-240-9100 for an appointment to double-check the fit of the brace.

Bathe or shower daily. Always wear a cotton sock without seams under your brace. Some of our patients recommend socks made of Pima cotton or Gard cotton. They minimize wrinkles and extend the full length of the brace. This eliminates bruising caused by seams.

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