Best Foot Drop Braces for Weakness & Paralysis Reviewed

Foot drop is a weakness and paralysis of the front part of the foot ultimately caused by nerve injury. Braces can assist in healing foot drop altogether by acting as a sort of splint to keep your foot in its natural position.

Included in this list are plenty of foot drop brace options ranging from every day wears to something to use only at night. Each brace has both left and right foot options and have unique features to assist in bringing you the easiest and fastest healing process possible.

Featured Recommendations

Insightful Products Step-Smart
  • Insightful Products Step-Smart
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Plantar-Flexion Resistance
  • Price: See Here
Beyoung Day and Night
  • Beyoung Day and Night
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Alloy Support Bar
  • Price: See Here
Orthomen AFO
  • Orthomen AFO
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Leaf Spring Design
  • Price: See Here

Our list of the best foot drop braces aims to compare almost every available type of brace on the market suitable for treating foot drop and help you distinguish which one may be the best option for your specific condition and needs.

 

10 Best Foot Drop Braces

 

1. Insightful Products Step-Smart

Insightful Products introduces yet another day/night brace but this time specifically tailored to support outdoor usage and day to day wear and tear. What sets the Step-Smart apart from its competition is its ability to handle shock absorption at the heel in an effective and energy efficient manner that keeps the user safe and pain-free when outside.
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Plantar-Flexion Resistance
What makes the Step-Smart so fantastic is it's Plantar-Flexion Resistance that protects and distributes force as soon as the heel of the foot hits the ground. As a result, this prevents the foot from being damaged and allows the user to walk outside safely during the day.

Lightweight and Low Profile
This usually becomes a common theme among all drop foot braces, but the Step-Smart really does have one of the sleekest designs on the market weighing just under one pound. The low weight allows the user to maintain a natural gait that doesn't cause pain while working to aid foot drop as a whole.

Cost and Value
The Step-Smart is the most expensive braces featured on this list, but for a good reason. With extensive features that work to prevent damage to the foot due to impact, the Step-Smart really is one of the best foot-drop braces on the market. If you find yourself being out of the house often and need something wear during the day, this is definitely the brace you want to purchase.
Pros
  • Top of the line in impact protection
  • Very good at absorbing shock
  • Lightweight (1 pound)
  • Easy to use
  • Durable
Cons
  • Very expensive

2. Beyoung Day and Night

Beyoung ankle splint's feature plenty of features to accommodate a wide variety of foot related injuries including rehabilitation for foot drop, ankle sprains, and plantar fasciitis. This splint, in particular, is a day and night hybrid allowing for ankle support while you're sleeping or during the day.
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Alloy Support Bar
The alloy bar included at the instep of keeps the foot in a flexed position stretching the arch for the best possible pain relief. Additionally, the alloy bar is adjustable to provide the best fit possible.

Moisture Wicking
Moisture wicking materials are always a fantastic addition to ankle splint's preventing the splint itself from smelling bad and getting sweaty. The Beyoung ankle splint in addition to moisture wicking materials is extremely comfortable as it's composed of soft light-weight fabrics for optimal usage.

Cost and Value
Beyoung splint's offer great value as the pricing is very fair and affordable. The materials are also high quality and provide a snug fit. This splint is perfect for all types of injuries and is a perfect option for foot drop.
Pros
  • Moisture wicking
  • Soft and comfortable 
  • Night splint support 
  • Alloy support bar
  • Double enhance velcro
Cons
  • Hard to get used too

3. Orthomen AFO

The AFO Orthomen Drop Foot brace is one of the simplest braces you can find as the splint itself excels in being lightweight and easy to use. This is all due to the AFO Spring Leaf design that provides dynamic and static support for people who have trouble lifting their foot.
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Variable Thickness
The AFO design through the brace varies in thickness allowing for strength on the vertical aspect for a more rigid build and thinner on the footplate for easier trimming.

Easy Trim Design
This splint can be easily trimmed with scissors or molded with a heat gun for a better fit. A great feature adding quite a bit of versatility for a more customized fit.

Cost and Value
If you're looking for a lightweight, budget, and versatile brace option for foot drop this is the way to go. The pricing is extremely fair for the amount of value the buyer receives as the splint as a whole is extremely customizable and comfortable.
Pros
  • Easy to trim
  • Heelless design
  • Strong and ilghtweight
  • Flexible 
  • Versatile AFO Leaf design
Cons
  • Can cause blisters

4. Rousu Medi AFO

4. Rousu Medi AFO
Another AFO designed support splint this time designed by Rousu Medi and made to aid in foot drop pains as well as heel cord tightness and overall foot stability. the difference between this brace and the leaf design by Orthomen is the fact that this brace features an eight-inch padded strap around the calf that holds the AFO in place much better.
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Open Heel and Low Arch
The open heel and low arch design allow this AFO to fit into any shoe with ease, expanding the versatility of this brace as a whole and allowing much more flexibility.

Custom Trim
One of the many appeals to AFO leaf designs is the fact that they can be trimmed to fit any foot perfectly, and the Rousu Mendi design is no different. With a pair of scissors, this brace can be trimmed to size with ease for a perfect fit.

Cost and Value
This brace is in more of a middle range in terms of price but for a good reason. With plenty of features that aid in ease of use and comfort, it's no question that these are a great long-term investment for any ankle/foot pains you may have.
Pros
  • Trimmable
  • Left/right sizes
  • Lateral stabiltiy
  • Static dorsiflexion support
  • Low profile and easy to use
Cons
  • Takes a little modification to get perfect
  • Pricing

5. Freedom Swedish AFO

5. Freedom Swedish AFO
It's no question why Freedom is an Amazon's Best Choice product as the injection molded polyethylene design provides fantastic drop foot support and stability for the entire ankle area.
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Thin Footplate (Easy Trimming)
Just like the other AFO designed braces on this list, the Freedom splint is no different as you can trim the footplate with a pair of scissors for the perfect fit.

Injection Molding
Injection molding allows for stronger polyethylene materials increasing the overall durability of the splint itself.

Cost and Value
Freedom brace's come in at a mid-range price tag that's well worth the price considering the durability of the splint overall. This is due to the high-quality injection polyethylene design that defiantly doesn't disappoint.
Pros
  • Injection Molding
  • Easy trimming
  • Low arch
  • Open heel
  • Padded hook and loop
Cons
  • Can cause blisters
  • Pricing

6. StrictlyStability Night Splint

6. StrictlyStability Night Splint
Perhaps one of the best night splints available on the market, the StrictlyStability Plantar Fasciitis brace is perfect in almost every aspect pertaining to nighttime stability and recovery. With included stretch wedges for added pain relief and a fantastic overall design, this StrictlyStability brace is another fantastic choice for foot drop and really any sort of foot pain in general.
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Removable Stretch Wedges
As mentioned above, this brace has two removable stretch wedges that serve as a way to alleviate aches and pains with a little extra dorsiflexion. These wedges come in two different sizes and are a great feature that gives the splint as a whole a lot of added versatility.

Comfortable Design
The design of the StrictlyStability Night Splint is perhaps one of the most durable and comfortable designs you can find in relation to foot and ankle pain. Included is a soft and comfortable latex-free foam pad ideal for treating drop foot as well as Plantar Fasciitis. Additionally, the straps on the brace are great too as they prevent excessive rubbing on the lower leg area when wearing.

Cost and Value
The StrictlyStability Night Splint is more of a budget brace but certainly, one that doesn't lack in quality when compared to its price. A fair amount of versatility is added to the splint in the form of the stretch wedges and the added foot massage ball is definitely a plus. Overall, this is a great budget brace if you're looking for something to relive any late night pains and is definitely a great option to consider.
Pros
  • Foot wedges
  • Added message ball
  • Comfortable
  • Budget
  • Great price to value
Cons
  • A bit bulky
  • Takes some getting used too

8. Bitly Compression Socks

8. Bitly Compression Socks
These are a bit more of a unique choice among those with foot drop and Plantar Fasciitis pains as they come in the form of socks rather than a full-on splint/brace. The advantage of choosing a sock versus a brace is simply the amount of comfort and stability provided considering the low profile and sleek design. Truly something you have to try and experience for yourself before forming a true opinion on them.
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Innovative Design
Obviously, the main selling point created by this product is the fact that they're socks. They work by offering targeted compression to the top and bottom of the foot stimulating blood flow and ultimately a fast recovery in a form factor that's small and lightweight!

Interlocked Stitching
Bitly compression socks feature interlocked stitching which provides the wearer with a fantastic fit, overall making the socks very comfortable. Additionally, these socks can go where most braces/splints can't! The light and sleek design provide the user with pain relief and comfort all day whatever the activity is!

Cost and Value
Because these socks can only be purchased in one pair packs, they are a bit expensive. However, because of the technology implemented in these on-the-go brace/sock hybrids, they're are definitely worth a try, especially if you need something that's lightweight, and can be used for both day and night.
Pros
  • Unique
  • Low-profile and lightweight
  • Very comfortable
  • Can be used during the day or at night
  • Great ankle and foot support
Cons
  • Expensive for a sock
  • most likely not sutiable for more severe treatment

9. Athletica Ankle Brace Lift

9. Athletica Ankle Brace Lift
Athletica Ankle Brace's are designed in such a way that makes them act a bit different than a lot of other splints on the market. This brace in specific is made to limit lateral motion that may increase pain from plantar fasciitis and foot drop. As a result, this brace is a surprisingly good choice for treating both problems and also performs quite well during outdoor activities as well.
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Adjustable Closures
Athletica provides complete customization to their braces in the form of adjustable closures allowing the user to get the perfect fit for the best possible pain relief and treatment.

Breathable and Moisture Wicking
Because this brace is meant to be used outdoors and also because it's made of primarily fabrics, the splint itself features a very comfortable moisture wicking and breathable build that keeps your foot and ankle cool while outside.

Cost and Value
This brace is meant to be a budget splint and it's price definitely drives that point home. With outdoor compatibility and a comfortable frame to allow your foot to heal, the Athletica Ankle Brace Lift is yet another great and affordable option for outdoor activities.
Pros
  • Breathable and moisture wicking
  • Affordable
  • Can be used outside 
  • Durable
  • Adjustable closures
Cons
  • No included instructions
  • Can be hard to take off

10. VIVE Plantar Fasciitis Splint

10. VIVE Plantar Fasciitis Splint
Topping our list off is from one of the best-known companies in the world of therapeutic foot products: VIVE. Their Plantar Fasciitis Splint works just as well on foot drop and is designed specifically to alleviate foot pain and inflammation by maintaining a neutral position and stretching out the entire foot.
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Durable Exterior
One of the main advantages to boot style braces is the fact that they can take a beating without the worry of causing any major damage. Additionally, the outer shell is made from a hard composite material that can easily withstand day to day use.

Versatile Design
The entire boot is secured with three adjustable straps that can be customized to fit any foot comfortably. The straps themselves are made from a strong web-like material that is sure to keep your foot in-place while out and about.

Cost and Value
For a product from VIVE, the price of this splint is extremely good. A more than budget price and this brace features plenty of features suitable for outdoor activities and a build that sure to last quite a while. If your in the market for boot style splint's, this is definitely one to consider.
Pros
  • Durable exterior
  • Soft interior
  • High quality straps
  • Reputable company
  • Affordable
Cons
  • Not for walking long distances
  • Takes getting used too

Although a lot of the products on this list are marketed mainly for usage toward Plantar Fasciitis type injuries, they work just as well on foot drop depending on your particular type of injury. Just make sure before you purchase any of the products on this list that the selected brace will aid and help heal your injury rather than make it worse. Always make sure to use proper safety precautions and be sure to stay safe!

 

Criteria for Choosing the Best Foot Drop Braces

Brace Type

There are plenty of different splint/brace options on the market that can treat foot drop. Each brace can have a different style tailored towards a different area of the foot/ankle. These can range from boots to lightweight splints, and even socks.

Included in this list is at least one of every type of brace in order to provide the user with a wide selection of available treatment options to choose from. Below are the three types of braces as well as their advantages and disadvantages.

  • Boots:
    Boots, as you may expect, are a lot bulkier than perhaps lightweight splints made from a mixture of fabric type materials. But a bulker build, although it may be cumbersome, is built to last and is designed to be extremely durable.
  • Lightweight Braces:
    As mentioned above lightweight braces are constructed from fabric type materials that are also breathable and moisture wicking to combat the tighter fit. Whereas boots are made to be durable, these braces are made to be feather-light, for a more comfortable experience.
  • Socks:
    There is in fact only one sock on this list designed for treating drop foot, however, it’s such a unique and new choice for treating foot and ankle pain we felt it necessary to put it into its own category. Compression socks are great for outdoor activities as they are very low profile and lightweight compared to other brace options. Really the only disadvantage to using socks for treating foot drop is the fact that they’re not as effective compared to other available options.

 

Therapeutic Elements/Materials

Because the vast majority of those looking for foot drop pain treatment options are going to be wearing their selected brace for long periods of time, each included choice has to have some element of comfortability. Most of the time this includes some sort of therapeutic aspect to assist in treating foot/ankle related pain.

Below is a list of popular therapeutic materials related to comfort as well as pain treatment that are utilized in a variety of different braces and splints.

  • Nylon
    Nylon is a tough and lightweight elastic fabric that is primarily used on braces like the  Athletica Ankle Brace Lift and the Beyoung Day and Night Ankle Splint. This material is perfect for lighter-builds as it’s molecular structure isn’t very dense allowing for a lot of flex and mobility.
  • Neoprene
    Neoprene serves the same purpose as Nylon but is composed of rubbers rather than fabrics. This material while also light and flexible is used to keep the ankle/foot in a particular position in order to promote blood flow and allow the injury to heal.
  • Composite Plastics
    A composite material is something that is made of two or more materials with different properties. In the case of composite plastics, braces such as boot attempt to keep the overall weight of the device as light as possible while maintaining a durable build quality; composite plastics assist in this.
  • Foam
    This may not come as a surprise to most, but foam is what’s used in the bed of the brace/boot to provide a sort of cushion for the foot to rest on. Foams can also be used in conjunction with gels to provide a more comfortable area for the foot to rest.

Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

Q. How do I choose a brace?
When selecting an ankle/foot brace for foot drop it’s best to consult your doctor on the matter. If not, make sure you pick the right design of brace in accordance with the severity of your injury as well as

Q. Should I purchase a boot or lightweight brace?
This is a very popular question and really it all comes down to preference. If you need a brace specifically for sleeping, you should probably choose a boot as they’re a lot more durable and stable for when your sleeping. On the other hand, lightweight brace’s, as well as compression socks, can be a great choice if you’re going to be outdoors.

Q. Can I sleep in lightweight braces?
Depending on the brand and what the brace itself is designed to do, lightweight braces can slip off easily if the fit is not tight enough. Most of the time you can sleep in them but it’s best to check to product page beforehand to make sure.

Q. What are AFO Braces?
AFO stands for “Ankle Foot Orthosis” and is used to treat a variety of foot drop related injuries.

Q. How long will my ankle brace/injury last?
The brace itself can last quite a while before breaking down, but in terms of your actual injury, it’s hard to tell. In general, you’re really only supposed to wear your brace for around 8 days depending on the severity of it. Braces/splints, for the most part, are meant to treat the pain, not heal the injury altogether.

 

 

Sources

  • https://www.livestrong.com/article/354163-why-should-you-wear-ankle-braces/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ankle_brace

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