FEBRUARY 7, 2024
Playing Sports and Wearing AFOs
Learn how professional athletes and kids can participate in sports while wearing AFO braces. Find out how to prevent leg irritation with the right socks for AFO braces.
Can You Play Sports While You are Wearing AFOs?
Do you or your child wear an AFO? You might have a lot in common with professional athletes. Several professional, as well as amateur, athletes wear AFO braces to help with injuries or conditions. AFO braces help give their legs and ankles stability allowing them to compete.
Do you remember Alex Smith? In 2018, Alex Smith suffered a compound fracture to his right leg while playing in a professional football game. Over the next nine months, he went through 18 surgeries to repair his leg. At one point, doctors even suggested that amputation may be the only alternative. Thankfully, doctors were able to avoid amputation, but Alex Smith was left with permanent foot drop. Wearing an AFO brace allowed him to gain the stability that he lost due to injury and his condition even improved enough to allow him to return to the professional football field.
Alex Smith isn’t the only athlete to wear an AFO brace. Other professional football and basketball players, long distance runners, and others have also worn AFO braces to correct foot drop.
Kids in Sports
If the pros can play with AFOs, what about kids? For many, the answer is of course!
You may notice that the AFOs that the athletes are wearing might look different than the ones you’re familiar with. Most of the professional athletes that wear AFOs are wearing a very specific type of AFOs called SpryStep. Children typically wear a more rigid type of AFO, but all AFOs improve the wearers ability to walk, run, or move in general.
There are many conditions that require kids to wear an AFO, and certainly there may be some conditions that prevent kids from playing sports. Speak to your child’s physician and inquire whether your child can participate. Look into recreation leagues that allow kids to participate and learn at the same time. Kids can discover what sports they love to play, as well as what challenges they might face with their AFO braces. Be sure to check back in with your physician or clinician. They may be able to make adjustments that help kids to overcome those challenges.
Just like with your child’s regular shoes, they may need to use larger athletic shoes to accommodate their AFOs. Make sure the soccer cleats or basketball shoes allow you to remove the insole and that the AFO will fit into the athletic shoe.
Wearing the right sock with an AFO is always important, but it is especially so when a child is playing sports. Athletic activity increases the chance for the brace to rub and irritate the skin. SmartKnit Seamless AFO socks fit snug against the skin allowing them to stay up and preventing wrinkling or bunching. Extra length allows the sock to fold over the brace further securing it and protecting the leg. The last thing anyone wants is painful and annoying blisters when it’s time to score the winning goal.
Do you want to learn more about the amazing SpryStep braces worn by many professional athletes? Visit our companion site using the button below.