Office Fabrication of Low Temperature Ankle-Foot Orthotics

MICHAEL N. SMITH, OTC**, MARY WILLIAMS CLARK, MD,AND MICHAEL D. SUSSMAN, MDCharlottesville, Virginia


Low temperature thermoplastic materials have been used for many adaptive devices, but few functional lower-limb orthoses have been fabricated from these materials. A functional ankle-foot orthosis made from Aquaplast splinting material has been used by a large population of neuromuscularly disabled children.

Aquaplast is softened in warm water prior to molding directly on the patient's lower limb, without the need for patterns or plaster molds. The Aquaplast-wrapped limb is gently manipulated into proper alignment and held in the corrected position for 3 to 4 minutes while the Aquaplast cools. The hardened Aquaplast is easily removed from the child's foot using bandage scissors and is readily trimmed to the desired configuration while still slightly warm. The Aquaplast orthosis can be molded, finished, and delivered in less than 20 minutes at minimal cost. In most instances, the Aquaplast orthosis maintains its structural integrity until it is outgrown.

**Division of Prosthetics and Orthotics, Department of Orthopedics, University of Virginia Medical Center, 1224 West Main Street, Charlottesville, VA 22903