Slippers for Kids Who Wear AFOs – A Guide for Parents
Does your kid wear Ankle-Foot Orthoses (AFOs) to treat a specific condition? Are you unsure of whether you can find a pair of slippers that can accommodate the AFOs while on leisure at home? Certainly, AFOs can often make it challenging to find slippers and shoes in general that accommodate the extra space and provide a comfortable fit. Here’s where I come to play, as I will showcase a selection of slippers for kids who wear AFOs and hopefully empower you as a parent by providing you with important information that will be helpful in practice.
Just because you find a shoe or slipper that fits over the AFO it doesn’t mean that they are the best option for your child’s feet. I also want to point out that allowing your child to walk around in shoes that are too large might compromise your child’s stability and make your child more prone to falling.
Pro Tip: If you’re pressed for time you can jump directly to the selection of supportive slippers for kids who wear AFOs.
Do I Recommend that Children Wear Slippers with Their AFOs?
I don’t recommend that children wear slippers with their AFOs inside the house. The main reason is that I believe children should wear shoes that provide a stable base of support for the AFOs. So, when parents ask me to recommend an easy on-and-off shoe that their children can wear with the AFOs around the house, I usually direct them in a different direction. I prefer that children wear a pair of sandals as there are certain models that provide a stable base of support, and sandals are still considered an “easy” on-and-off shoe to be worn around the house.
If you rather provide your child with a pair of slippers, continue reading as I have compiled the best styles that work well with AFOs. There are also two specific slipper styles that I recommend which have supportive outsoles and a stable base of support.
What Are Ankle-Foot Orthoses (AFOs) and for What Are They Used For?
As this post is meant to be an integral guide for parents, let’s go over some basic information. Ankle-Foot Orthoses, more frequently known as AFOs, are among the most commonly prescribed lower limb orthoses. They can be custom-made for children and they usually encompass the foot, ankle, and leg, finishing just below the knee, although not in all cases.
AFOs are made to treat a variety of factors and conditions, including joint instability, muscle weakness, and high muscle tone. One of the main purposes of wearing an AFO is to provide stability, but if your child wears shoes that are too large you will be defeating the whole purpose of wearing the AFO.
4 Key Characteristics To Consider In Your Kid’s Slippers
1️⃣ Adjustable slippers: I suggest that you look for slippers with adjustable features such as hook-and-loop (Velcro) closures or elastic bands. These adjustable elements allow you to modify the fit to accommodate the AFOs and ensure a snug fit for your child.
2️⃣ Oversized openings: You can opt for slippers that are intentionally designed to be slightly larger than the child’s foot size. This extra room can accommodate the AFOs while providing space for comfortable movement.
3️⃣ Open-back slippers: Slippers with an open-back design can be easier to put on and take off, especially when AFOs are involved. So, look for slip-on slippers with a backless design and adjustable features.
4️⃣ Soft and stretchy slippers: You can consider slippers made from soft, stretchy materials such as fleece or terry cloth. These materials can often adapt to the shape and bulk of AFOs, providing a more accommodating fit.
Slippers for Kids Who Wear AFOs – A Guide for Parents
Below are a few suggestions to explore. Make sure that you click on the specific model that you like (no matter if it’s a boy’s or girl’s color) as the shoe is probably available in many different colors. Disclosure: Some links in this post may be affiliate links and we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you) when you click our links and make purchases. This allows us to create free content and resources for many families around the world.
Remember to consult with your kid’s orthotist or healthcare professional for specific recommendations based on your kid’s unique needs and AFO design. They may also have valuable insights or suggestions tailored to your kid’s requirements.
Feedback From Other Families
Housekeeping of AFOs – Tips and Recommendations
➡️ On How to Fit AFOs
- I suggest that your child wears knee-high cotton socks under the AFOs as this can reduce the constant rubbing.
- If your child has an AFO for each foot, make sure that you are putting them on the correct feet.
- Make sure to fasten the ankle strap firmly, then the calf strap. Also, ensure that all the straps are fastened securely. Thereafter, your child’s shoe can be worn over the orthoses.
➡️ On How to Remove AFOs
Don’t forget to check your child’s skin when you remove their AFO. I say this because AFOs can cause a slightly red line around the edge of the orthosis, but this should usually disappear within half an hour approximately. Note, if your child has any pain or skin marks that do not disappear within half an hour or they develop blisters, please contact your medical professional at the earliest to make sure they can promptly evaluate the situation and advise accordingly.
➡️ On Care Instructions for AFOs
Bear in mind that the AFOs should be cleaned regularly by wiping them with a damp cloth and soapy water. Once the AFOs are clean, they should be completely dry before being reapplied. Please refrain from using direct sunlight or a hair dryer and tumble dryer to dry your AFOs.
Do you Know for Sure Your Kid’s Correct Shoe and AFO Size?
With accurate measurements of your child’s feet and AFO footplate, you’ll have a reliable reference point for shopping online. One of the most important features that both the shoes and AFOs need to have is that they must fit the shape of your child’s feet perfectly.
Quality measurements begin with expert consultation, so you should start by following the 3 steps outlined in a different resource I created.
Many thanks for reading! We hope you found helpful this post on slippers for kids who wear AFOs. Feel free to share this post with your community on social media as well as your experiences in the comments section below. Keep in mind that if you have any questions or need any assistance, you can also contact us via email and we will get back to you as soon as possible.