KAFO Fittings & Rehabilitation Services
KAFO stands for Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis and is an orthotic device which encompasses the foot to below the hip.
They are used to provide mechanical-induced stability to the lower limb, and generally used for patients exhibiting weakness or paralysis in proximity to the knee.
Orthotics Plus provides professional custom made KAFO solutions from our clinics in Melbourne. Patients are scanned or cast to create the ideal KAFO with respect to their clinical diagnosis.
Our senior orthotists have a minimum of 10 years of clinical experience and have been working with people with neuromuscular conditions since our inception.
Types of KAFOs
The different subsets of KAFOs are as follows, Orthotics Plus provides all types.
Stance control KAFOs have the ability to both mechanically lock and unlock at the knee joint.
They facilitate a more normal walking pattern.
These are typically locked at the knee while standing or weight bearing either via a magnetic lock and sensor or a mechanical switch, yet unlock while walking.
Free swinging KAFOs have hinges at the knee which do not lock or unlock.
Instead they rely on the weight line of the patient to fall in front of the hinge to keep the hinge (and therefore knee) straight.
Once the hip muscles engage to swing the leg through the hinge will unlock and the KAFO will behind.
There are different components and joints which act slightly differently, but the principle is the same.
SSCO or C Braces are types of KAFO that use sensors and a computer to automatically adjust the KAFO knee joint. The joint will engage but allow a slight bend when accepting weight (like a normal knee) and unlock when the leg is swinging through.
These are the most expensive, most responsive and modern type of KAFO.
They can enable a very natural gait style and safer walking than other KAFO designs.
Reasons a Patient May Require a KAFO
KAFOs can be used to improve walking ability, reduce pain, lower falls risk, increase mobility, increase independence and reduce the risk of conditions caused by overuse.
We are experienced in providing KAFO solutions for cases involving:
- Neurological conditions such as stroke, polio, brain injury, spinal cord injury, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis, etc
- Physical condition or deficiency such as general weakness/atrophy, knee hyperextension, foot drop, progressive deformity
- Peripheral nerve injury causing a degree of paralysis in the lower limb
It is important to acknowledge there are contraindications for a KAFO. The most common contraindication is patient compliance. The patient should ideally be motivated to improve, open to wearing the device and participating in a rehabilitation program.
Additionally, a level of dexterity is required to fit the KAFO, so the person’s capacity to fit it themselves/with a carer is taken into consideration. For patients with upper limb limitations, there are buckles and straps which can be done with one hand and new technology available which we can advise you on.
In summary, if you cannot walk due to lack of strength or control in your knee or lower limb we would encourage you to book an appointment with us to discuss your options.
KAFO Referrals for Orthotics Plus
A medical referral from a GP is not necessary. We work with all paediatrics and adults, including NDIS participants and other insurance schemes.
The initial assessment takes approximately one hour. During the assessment, we will look at:
- Range of motion
- Gait assessment
- Reviewing medical history
- Tests specific to the person
At the end of the session, we will suggest an appropriate prescription and discuss whether this will suit your needs and goals.
Knee Ankle Foot Orthoses FAQ
They are made out of either plastic, or a laminated style using fibreglass and carbon fibre with metal structural components.
Orthotics Plus provides KAFOs using both materials and will discuss the patients individual requirements as necessary.
The primary way we achieve this is by maintaining relationships with product representatives, suppliers and industry leaders to review orthotic advancements.