AFO wear and tear

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KarenNWendyn

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This is more of a heads up than a question.

I have bilateral AFOs which are Allard toe-off 2.0. They appear to be made of either fiberglass or carbon fiber with the vertical piece welded to the foot plate. I’ve been using them 10-11 months now with great success.

I recently noticed that the weld seemed to be breaking down, causing separation and cracking where the vertical piece joins the foot plate. I went to the orthotic-prosthetics place today and discovered this problem was affecting both AFOs.

Fortunately they’re under warranty because I’ve had them less than a year. The prosthetics guy told me it’s actually a fairly common problem. I was not aware of that.

They ordered me a new set and gave me a loaner pair until the new set is ready. When I put on the loaners (which are essentially new), I was amazed at how springy they felt and how it changed the dynamics of my gait.

I’m thinking my old ones were breaking down for some time and I just got used to and accepted how the gait felt. But likely they weren’t fully doing what they were supposed to.

So my point is that if you wear AFOs to check them often for signs of metal fatigue or any kind of breakdown, and to replace them before it gets too far. They may be under warranty.
 

affected

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So glad you took em back, what a difference it must make to feel a bit of spring in your step again!
 

grounded

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I have Allard Toe Off AFOs for both legs. Probably 4 years now. First pair gone due to the cracking & loss of support described above.

Replaced the left with Allard Blue Rocker & it's still good. Right replaced two more times, most recently with the 2.0 version. Since I recently retired from work, I use them a lot less, so they should last much longer.

I was hoping that 2.0 fixed the cracking problem, but it sounds like not.

I really like the support they provide, so I put up with replacing them.
 

Nikki J

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My orthotist remarked that the Ottobok walk on reaction has more durability than the Allard in his experience. Mine is 3.5 years old worn increasingly often.

It is now squeaking when I walk. Was that a precursor to failure in anyone’s experience?
 

grounded

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The Ottobok Reaction looks a lot like the Allard Toe Off & is something I'd consider come replacement time.

My Toe Off failures (always cracking in the same place) were only noticeable by loss of good support. Never made any noise at all.
 

KarenNWendyn

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My Toe Off failures (always cracking in the same place) were only noticeable by loss of good support. Never made any noise at all.
This is what I noticed too. You have to visually inspect the AFO device from time to time to look for evidence of cracking . It can sneak up on you.
 
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