Best Foot Drop Braces for Weakness & Paralysis Reviewed
Criteria Used for Evaluation
There are plenty of different splint/brace options on the market that can treat foot drop. Each brace can have a different style tailored towards a different area of the foot/ankle. These can range from boots to lightweight splints, and even socks.
Included in this list is at least one of every type of brace, in order to provide the user with a wide selection of available treatment options to choose from. Below are the three types of braces as well as their advantages and disadvantages.
Boots, as you may expect, are a lot bulkier than perhaps lightweight splints made from a mixture of fabric type materials. But a bulker build, although it may be cumbersome, is built to last and is designed to be extremely durable.
As mentioned above lightweight braces are constructed from fabric type materials that are also breathable and moisture wicking to combat the tighter fit. Whereas boots are made to be durable, these braces are made to be feather-light, for a more comfortable experience.
There is in fact only one sock designed to go with your brace and help treat drop foot. However, it’s such a unique and new choice for treating foot and ankle pain, we felt it necessary to put it into its own category. Compression socks are great for outdoor activities, as they are a very low profile and lightweight compared to other brace options. Really the only disadvantage to using socks for treating foot drop is the fact that they’re not as effective compared to other available options. And truthfully, these should only be worn with the brace.
Because the vast majority of those looking for foot drop pain treatment options are going to be wearing their selected brace for long periods of time, each included choice has to have some element of comfortability. Most of the time this includes some sort of therapeutic aspect to assist in treating foot and ankle related pain.
Below is a list of popular therapeutic materials related to comfort as well as pain treatment that is utilized in a variety of different braces and splints.
Nylon is a tough and lightweight elastic fabric that is primarily used on braces like the Athletica Ankle Brace Lift and the Beyoung Day and Night Ankle Splint. This material is perfect for lighter-builds as it’s molecular structure isn’t very dense allowing for a lot of flex and mobility.
Neoprene serves the same purpose as nylon but is composed of rubbers rather than fabrics. This material while also light and flexible is used to keep the ankle/foot in a particular position in order to promote blood flow and allow the injury to heal.
A composite material is something that is made of two or more materials with different properties. In the case of composite plastics, braces such as boot attempt to keep the overall weight of the device as light as possible while maintaining a durable build quality; composite plastics assist in this.
This may not come as a surprise to most, but the foam is what’s used in the bed of the brace/boot to provide a sort of cushion for the foot to rest on. Foams can also be used in conjunction with gels to provide a more comfortable area for the foot to rest.
Comfort comes, first and foremost, in the form of the materials used. Look for molded footbeds, for materials, memory foam, and properly molded braces. When you’re already injured, the last thing you want is to wear a brace that increases the pain. The most important thing is that your foot is in proper position, without the brace digging into your skin or causing irritation.
Before you settle on a purchase, you should check that how the brace works with shoes, socks, or other things you might need while wearing the brace. The brace shouldn’t be so loose that your foot is slipping around – as you may risk skin irritation – but they also shouldn’t be too constricting and painfully digging into your skin.
Lastly, try to avoid heavy, bulky models. They tend to put a lot of stress not only on your feet but also on your shins, and they aren’t ideal for all-day activity.
The brace you choose to wear for your injury needs to have the correct features and offer the best stability and comfort you need during your recovery. Hopefully, the period of time you have to wear a recovery shoe is not too long, but you definitely need your brace to last. You don't want to spend money on a brace that falls apart quickly.
As we already mentioned, these braces will primarily be focused on positioning your foot in a way that helps to stretch or aleviate pain. A fact that you will have to face, however, is that most braces will wear down as you are using them. You can't expect them to last months and months or years, but we made sure that the choice on our list would last you a typical recovery period. That way you don't have to worry about buying multiple pairs.
Choosing higher quality braces will ensure you get the most for your money, but so will wearing the correct type of brace for your injury.
Foot injuries can vary greatly, so of course, the type of brace you need depends a lot on your needs. So, depending on what injury you have the purpose of the brace in question is crucial.
We've included many options on our list from night braces that hold your foot in an elongated position to stretch the tendons, or braces that will prevent your foot from dropping so you can have pain relief as you go about your day-to-day. The most important thing to look at is your specific injury and the treatment. Then you can make the decision of what foot brace will help to alleviate your pain or prevent further injury.
10 Best Foot Drop Braces
1. Furlove Soft AFO
A drop foot brace made for those who need versatility, the Furlove Soft AFO can be used both barefoot and with shoes. The name gives you the best description of what this product aims to be - a soft, comfortable solution to dealing with foot drop. It allows you to wear it with almost any pair of footwear you own, and won’t create unnecessary bulk inside your shoes, or feel heavy around your ankles either.
The Fulove Soft AFO is made with a soft synthetic foam that was developed with breathability in mind. This means that you will be able to wear it in warm conditions without having to worry about sweat or bad odors. As for the closures, they’re easy to adjust, even on the go, and hold everything securely in place.
The best thing about this product is the lifetime strap guarantee which allows you to replace it free of charge if it ever breaks. Considering all of these benefits, it comes as no surprise why this product is so popular among a number of people, especially those with dorsiflexion injury, leg muscle disorders or recovering from stroke. In terms of cost, this is an averagely priced product, affordable to most people.
2. DJ Orthopedics Universal
This is a simple-to-use device which handles foot drop rather well. It will fit in orthotic-friendly shoes easily and some regular footwear, as well; due to the low-profile design. A single strap wraps around the shin area to hold it into place. Made of plastic, it is flexible; yet, still holds its shape. Furthermore, this is a trim-to-fit design.
This drop foot brace is about as simple as it gets, in terms of usability. It utilizes a single strap which wraps around the lower leg. Combine this with your footwear, and stability increases.
Made of thin plastic, this is not as durable as some of the others on this list. It is, however, constructed well; especially, in terms of overall design and stress points. At the upper end of midrange, this still remains easy on the bank account. It is simple to use and works well for those who are always on the go. Furthermore, it is footwear-friendly and a desirable choice for those who need to leave the house each day.
3. CoreProducts FootFlexor AFO
This is an easy solution that will work with any lace up shoe or boot, and can even be used with certain sandals. It’s extremely easy to put on, and is lightweight enough not to cause fatigue or sweating. It’s a great product for anyone who needs dorsal flexion assistance, and can greatly improve life quality, allowing users to move more and with ease.
The material in contact with the skin is made from a soft, lightweight padded fabric that won’t rub or cause discomfort, even on very hot days. It is adjustable, with a secure strap to keep it in place, while an elastic part goes around the back of the leg, to the forefoot, lifting it as soon as you begin to make a step.
The back part of the FootFlexor allows for adjustment, so you can choose the angle at which you want your foot to be lifted. This drop foot brace is made in the USA and complies to high quality standards. As for the price, it’s only slightly above average, making this a great choice for a number of users.
4. The FlopStop
A lightweight product aimed at helping those with mild foot drop, mainly due to muscle weakness, the FlopStop is a one of a kind drop foot brace that works with almost any pair of footwear, and for all types of activities. It’s a one-size-fits-all product that will work for anyone, and is easy to put on and adjust, depending on your needs.
This product works by hugging the back of your heel, and attaching to the forefoot part of your shoe in order to keep your foot in the correct position. It will help eliminate foot drag, and will improve your gait, allowing you to go about your life without discomfort.
The materials used are made with comfort in mind - the back being padded with lightweight and soft foam, while the entire thing is a durable aid, despite its minimal looks. Unfortunately, the price is quite high compared to the other products listed, so we would only recommend it to those who really need something minimalistic.
5. Insightful Step-Smart
Insightful Products introduces yet another day/night brace but this time specifically tailored to support outdoor usage and day to day wear and tear. What sets the Step-Smart apart from its competition is its ability to handle shock absorption at the heel in an effective and energy efficient manner that keeps the user safe and pain-free when outside.
What makes the Step-Smart so fantastic is it's Plantar-Flexion Resistance that protects and distributes force as soon as the heel of the foot hits the ground. As a result, this prevents the foot from being damaged and allows the user to walk outside safely during the day.
This usually becomes a common theme among all drop foot braces, but the Step-Smart really does have one of the sleekest designs on the market weighing just under one pound. The low weight allows the user to maintain a natural gait that doesn't cause pain while working to aid foot drop as a whole. The Step-Smart is the most expensive braces featured on this list, but for a good reason. With extensive features that work to prevent damage to the foot due to impact, the Step-Smart really is one of the best foot-drop braces on the market. If you find yourself being out of the house often and need something wear during the day, this is definitely the brace you want to purchase.
6. Orthomen AFO Brace
This is a brace which works well inside of your footwear. Since the bottom is a bit noticeable, we recommend a shoe with decent clearance; preferably footwear which accommodates an orthotic. With that being stated, this particular brace is an ideal solution for those experiencing foot drag or foot drop (due to nervous system lesion or injury).
Made of PP material, this is rather sturdy and should hold up under quite a bit of usage. Furthermore, it handles severe cases of drop foot and helps to improve normal gait through better foot clearance.
This works inside of your footwear, so it is for daily usage and does perform well, in this regard. There are left and right-specific versions of this product. This means you can gain a better overall fit. Cost-efficient, this is perfect for those looking for a decent AFO to wear inside of their footwear. With the ability to order left and right-specific versions, it is tough to pass this one up. That is, you cannot go wrong in ordering this and it should last a fair amount of time.
7. StrictlyStability Night Splint
Perhaps one of the best night splints available on the market, the StrictlyStability Plantar Fasciitis brace is perfect in almost every aspect of nighttime stability and recovery. With included stretch wedges for added pain relief and fantastic overall design, this StrictlyStability brace is another fantastic choice for foot drop and really any sort of foot pain in general.
As mentioned above, this brace has two removable stretch wedges that serve as a way to alleviate aches and pains with a little extra dorsiflexion. These wedges come in two different sizes and are a great feature that gives the splint as a whole a lot of added versatility.
The design of the StrictlyStability Night Splint is perhaps one of the most durable and comfortable designs you can find in relation to foot and ankle pain. Included is a soft and comfortable latex-free foam pad ideal for treating drop foot as well as Plantar Fasciitis. Additionally, the straps on the brace are great too as they prevent excessive rubbing on the lower leg area when wearing. The StrictlyStability Night Splint is more of a budget brace but certainly, one that doesn't lack in quality when compared to its price. A fair amount of versatility is added to the splint in the form of the stretch wedges and the added foot massage ball is definitely a plus. Overall, this is a great budget brace if you're looking for something to relive any late night pains and is definitely a great option to consider.
8. VIVE Plantar Fasciitis Splint
This night splint works hard to stabilize your foot so you don't have to. Made to handle extensive use, this will last for quite a while. It has a double exterior and soft interior. After wearing this through the night, it can help relieve those early-morning shots of pain related to plantar fasciitis. In addition, it can be a great tool for foot drop, as well.
Although simply constructed, the buckle system may or may not be easy to use. This is dependent on your body type and how easily you can bend down to adjust the buckles and straps for a secure but comfortable fit.
The construction is okay; albeit, Velcro straps would be better than the buckling system; especially, for those having a hard time bending down. With that being stated, it is well built, in terms of sturdiness and durability. This falls into the budget-friendly realm of cost association. Furthermore, if you don't mind the buckles and can easily bend down to reach them; this is a wonderful night splint to have.
9. Tenbon Foot Brace
This design helps to strengthen muscles that can be, otherwise, lost over years of using a full-blown brace. It has an easy-to-use Velcro strapping system and is an ideal choice for those dealing with foot drop from a stroke. It offers a visible improvement to gait and is left and right foot compatible. Furthermore, it is breathable and comfortable to wear.
In terms of usability, this product is very easy to use. Moreover, you can use this for either foot and it has a simple Velcro system in place. For those who struggle with buckling systems, this may be the perfect choice for you.
Made of a velvet fabric, this will feel comfortable around your skin. In addition, the stretchy design will allow you to secure it well for a better overall fit. Velcro straps allow you to loosen or tighten as necessary. Budget-friendly, you cannot go wrong with this purchase. It does work well with both left and right feet. Additionally, this can help improve muscle tone, otherwise lost; due to extended heavy brace use.
10. Furlove AFO
We love the simplicity of this brace. Furthermore, it is lightweight and easy to use. It fits well inside of orthotic-friendly footwear or can be worn without shoes, altogether. This is ideal for daily moving about and gives visual improvement to gait. It comes with Velcro straps, plastic clips, and the inside has steel plates for support.
Easy to use, the Velcro straps are a cinch. Furthermore, the volume is low enough to allow easy placement inside of orthotic-friendly footwear. This is a moderate brace which helps to strengthen muscles but, also, adds more stability which can be found in heavier braces.
Steel plates align the inside for an increase in stabilization and support. The clips are made of plastic but are thick enough to remain durable. Furthermore, the Velcro strap system works great, as well. This is another cost-efficient brace which has decent construction and good usability. For those looking for the in-between from heavy and lightweight designs, this may be the perfect purchase for you.
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