How to use an ankle foot orthosis splint (AFO) (1987)

Key points below

Using a Splint

How do I get my child ready to wear a splint?

Slowly but firmly, stretch your child’s leg and foot.
1. Bend the knee and then straighten. Do this several times. 
2. Bend the knee. At the same time move the top of the foot up towards the knee.  You should feel a stretch at the back of your ankle.  
3. Hold this for 5 seconds, and then gently let the stretch go.

How do I put the splint on my child? 

It is important to put the splint and straps on the right way for it to work.
1. Bend the knee. Move the top of the foot up towards knee. Put the heel into the bend (back) of the AFO splint.
2. Strap above and below ankle first and then fasten other straps.

Wear and care

Your child should wear the splint for 
Check every 2 hours to see if the splint is still fitting right. 
Watch your child’s skin for pressure areas. A pressure area is a red mark on your child’s skin that has lasted for more than 20 minutes after the splint is off.  If you see a pressure area, stop using the splint. This is not an emergency, but you should call your child’s occupational or physical therapist as soon as possible.
Put the splint on clean, dry skin.  If your child has bathed, let the skin air dry at least ½ hour before putting the splint on.
Do not use hot water when washing the splint.  The splint will change shape when put in hot water.


Call your child’s doctor, nurse, or clinic if you have any questions or concerns or if your child has special health care needs that were not covered by this information.