Braces Revisited

October 2, 2008 at 1:31 pm

I’m writing to pass along my latest discoveries regarding knee bracing. As a result of CIDP, my wife has lost 80-90% of her quadracept strength in both legs. If either knee starts to buckle she cannot control it and falls, causing damage.

It is always when walking that it happens, so I have been searching for a device to “force” or at least encourage full leg extension. She does not have the foot drop so I focused on knee devices. After many, many hours of searching with a lot of rabbit trails followed, I finally now know what I have been looking for. They are devices called Floor Reaction AFO (FRAFO). When weight is put on the foot in a normal stride, the device pushes against the upper shin to lock the knee. As weight comes off the pressure is released.

Once I found the right terms more options showed up. The literature for them even states they are for neurological conditions. I found them from Becker Orthopedic, Scheck and Siress, and others.

I also found a few Extension Assist KAFO devices. One with gas struts, another with a coil spring, a couple automatic locking KAFO’s electronic or mechanical. They all look heavy which is a concern for us. Some of these devices are called “Stance Control” KAFO’s which may not be reimbursed by insurance, but the info I found shows that FRAFO’s are.

If you are using a walker or chair but have some walking mobility, you may want to take a look. Just Google “Floor Response AFO” or “Ground Response AFO” (GRAFO). I hope this saves you the many hours I lost finding them.