Introduction: A.F.O.R.D: Ankle Foot Orthosis Retention Device

The A.F.O.R.D. is a device to assist in the donning and doffing of an ankle foot orthosis (AFO). The device provides stabilization and reduces the amount of effort and fine motor skills required to pry open an AFO by oneself. With basic materials and 3-5 hours of time, you can make one customized to any AFO.


  • 2x4 Wood
  • 1x4 Wood Brackets (straight and triangular/right angle)
  • Screws
  • Foam (1 in multipurpose)
  • Ratchet strap (size dependent on size of AFO, but not very large, preferably with simple release mechanism)
  • Polyester straps
  • Springs
  • Felt Sheets
  • Velcro

Equipment Needed:

  • Wood Glue
  • Hot glue with hot glue gun
  • Wood saw
  • Sand paper
  • Drill with bits and screw head
  • Ruler or tape measure
  • Clamps
  • Pencil
  • Marker
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife
  • Velcro with sticky back
  • Needle and thread
  • Safety glasses


  • Wood Sawing
  • Hand Drilling
  • Basic Arts and Crafts (hot glue, cutting with knives)


  • If making an AFORD for a fulll wraparound AFO, position the velcro near the middle of the AFO. For an AFO with only a calf strap, position it near the top of the AFO.
  • Try using a simple ratchet with an easy release mechanism - the simpler, the better.
  • Use the proper bit for the drill - slightly smaller than the screws to be inserted.
  • If springs not easily available, springs from the inside of a pen can be used.
  • Be creative!

General Safety/Tips:

  • Be careful with the hot glue gun if you are using one.
  • Be careful while drilling - always wear protective equipment such as safety goggles.

Step 1:

Measure the dimensions of your AFO, such as its height, length, and width.

Step 2:

Determine dimensions of your device based on the measured dimensions of the AFO. The wooden 2x4 in the back should be roughly an inch taller than the AFO. The horizontal 2x4 block under it should be considerably wider (roughly 6 inches) than the AFO to account for the triangular blocks and springs to be added later. Make 3 triangular sections of wood with either the 2x4 wood or the 1x4 wood. Our design used 2x4 wood for the outer triangles, and 1x4 wood for the inner triangle. However, keep in mind that width of the wood used in the triangles determines how long the horizontal 2x4 in the back should be. These blocks should be large enough to stabilize the AFO, but do not need to be as large as the entire foot.

Step 3:

Cut wood to the desired dimensions using a wood saw

Step 4:

Mock up the device and mark spots to drill. Use the brackets to determine where these spots are located

Step 5:

Drill the necessary holes into the wood using a hand drill.

Step 6:

Assemble the device by screwing everything together (do not add any of the triangular blocks yet)

Step 7:

Attach springs to inner triangular block using hot glue. The springs should be compressible and have an adequate amount of resistance.

Step 8:

Glue the foam onto the wood using strong glue such as hot glue. The foam should be thick enough to provide generous cushion to the AFO. shave the blocks of foam to match the contour of AFO’s feet in order to get a better fit.

Step 9:

Attach the other side of the springs onto a fixed triangular block (with holes drilled in it).

Step 10:

Screw the fixed triangular block onto the main horizontal block with side braces / straight angle brackets.

Step 11:

Add velcro (the loop side) to the part of the AFO you want to open. Add the hook side to the end of the polyester straps for the ratchet clamp. For greater strength than merely the adhesive, sew the velcro onto the strap (optional)).

Step 12:

Securely attach your ratchet clamp to the back of the frame. For this particular clamp, we placed screws into the nooks present on the clamp.

Step 13:

Optional: add feet to the bottom of the structure to add stability, cover foam with felt, cover wood with paint, attach a polyester strap to the top as a handle, order a custom baby pink acrylic ratchet clamp for aesthetic purposes, etc.

Step 14: How to Use

This video explains how to use the AFORD you just made.

Wood Contest 2016

Participated in the
Wood Contest 2016

Maker Olympics Contest 2016

Participated in the
Maker Olympics Contest 2016