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. Most braces have both left and right foot options and have unique features to assist in bringing you the easiest and fastest healing process possible.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 18 hrs of research
Works in Orthotic-Friendly Footwear
Easy to Use
- DJ Orthopedics Universal
- AEXCare Plantar Fasciitis Splint
- Insightful Step-Smart
- Orthomen AFO Brace
- StrictlyStability Night Splint
- VIVE Plantar Fasciitis Splint
- Rousu Medi AFO
- YK Care AFO Brace
- Tenbon Foot Brace
- Furlove AFO
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Foot Drop Braces
1. DJ Orthopedics Universal
Works in Orthotic-Friendly Footwear
Easy to Use
Better for Females
This is a simple-to-use device which handles foot drop rather well. It will fit in orthotic-friendly shoes easily and some regular footwear, as well; due to the low-profile design. A single strap wraps around the shin area to hold it into place. Made of plastic, it is flexible; yet, still holds its shape. Furthermore, this is a trim-to-fit design.Read more
This design is about as simple as it gets, in terms of usability. It utilizes a single strap which wraps around the lower leg. Combine this with your footwear, and stability increases.
Made of thin plastic, this is not as durable as some of the others on this list. It is, however, constructed well; especially, in terms of overall design and stress points.
Cost and Value
At the upper end of midrange, this still remains easy on the bank account. It is simple to use and works well for those who are always on the go. Furthermore, it is footwear-friendly and a desirable choice for those who need to leave the house each day.
2. AEXCare Plantar Fasciitis Splint
Helps Relieve Morning Pains
Slightly Dorsiflexed Positioning
Recommended for Night-Only
This is a more comfortable night splint than some of the others on this list, as they are truly restrictive in bed positioning and how you can sleep. This is not a footwear-friendly device, so it is best used during the night. It has a one-size-fits-most construction and retains a slightly dorsiflexed position at all times. In addition, this does come with a free pair of compression socks.Read more
This is fairly easy to use. As it is a night splint, it is not versatile. It restricts the foot to a slightly dorsiflexed position; thereby, early-morning pains are relieved. The double-straps make for an easier solution than buckle systems.
All in all, this device is well built and has sturdy construction. Made to give a better overall fit to your specific customization needs, this brace does the trick.
Cost and Value
As far as night splints go, this one is cheap and easy on the bank account. With that being stated, it does do the job and performs equally well. As such, this is a device worth the investment if you are in need of a night splint.
3. Insightful Step-Smart
Great Impact Protection
Good at Absorbing Shock
Lightweight (1 pound)
Easy to Use
A Bit Expensive
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.Read more
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.
4. Orthomen AFO Brace
Foot Drag From Hemiplegia
Foot Drop From Nerve Injury
Foot Drop From Sciatica Nerve Lesion
This is a brace which works well inside of your footwear. Since the bottom is a bit noticeable, we recommend a shoe with decent clearance; preferably footwear which accommodates an orthotic. With that being stated, this particular brace is an ideal solution for those experiencing foot drag or foot drop (due to nervous system lesion or injury).Read more
Made of PP material, this is rather sturdy and should hold up under quite a bit of usage. Furthermore, it handles severe cases of drop foot and helps to improve normal gait through better foot clearance.
This works inside of your footwear, so it is for daily usage and does perform well, in this regard. There are left and right-specific versions of this product. This means you can gain a better overall fit.
Cost and Value
Cost-efficient, this is perfect for those looking for a decent AFO to wear inside of their footwear. With the ability to order left and right-specific versions, it is tough to pass this one up. That is, you cannot go wrong in ordering this and it should last a fair amount of time.
5. StrictlyStability Night Splint
Added Massage Ball
Great Price to Value
A Bit Bulky
Takes Some Getting Used To
Perhaps one of the best night splints available on the market, the StrictlyStability Plantar Fasciitis brace is perfect in almost every aspect of nighttime stability and recovery. With included stretch wedges for added pain relief and fantastic overall design, this StrictlyStability brace is another fantastic choice for foot drop and really any sort of foot pain in general.Read more
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.
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.
6. VIVE Plantar Fasciitis Splint
Alleviate Pain & Inflammation
Withstands Extensive Use
Buckles are frustrating
This night splint works hard to stabilize your foot so you don't have to. Made to handle extensive use, this will last for quite a while. It has a double exterior and soft interior. After wearing this through the night, it can help relieve those early-morning shots of pain related to plantar fasciitis. In addition, it can be a great tool for foot drop, as well.Read more
Although simply constructed, the buckle system may or may not be easy to use. This is dependent on your body type and how easily you can bend down to adjust the buckles and straps for a secure but comfortable fit.
The construction is okay; albeit, Velcro straps would be better than the buckling system; especially, for those having a hard time bending down. With that being stated, it is well built, in terms of sturdiness and durability.
Cost and Value
This falls into the budget-friendly realm of cost association. Furthermore, if you don't mind the buckles and can easily bend down to reach them; this is a wonderful night splint to have.
7. Rousu Medi AFO
Static Dorsiflexion Support
Low-profile and Easy to Use
Takes a little modification to get perfect
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.Read more
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.
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.
8. YK Care AFO Brace
Aluminum Alloy Inside
Nylon Sticky Tape
Fits Inside Footwear
Better for orthotic-ready footwear
Highly adjustable, this can be set to many various foot types. Furthermore, it can help improve gait and eases the stresses involved with foot drop. Additionally, this can improve and strengthen muscle loss sometimes caused by the extended use of heavier, stricter braces. Also, the velvet fabric is breathable and the nylon sticky tape adds to the ease-of-use factor.Read more
Perfect for customization toward various foot types, this can be used for both left and right feet. It is easy to use with the nylon sticky tape and has a minimal looping system.
Aluminum alloy aligns the inside, thus making this a rather durable product. Furthermore, the velvet exterior helps with breathability and adds an element of stretchiness. This, in turn, gives you more flexibility, in terms of creating a better fit.
Cost and Value
This does fall into the low side of the midrange of cost association. With the decent construction and ease of use, however, this becomes a go-to product for strengthening weakening muscles. As such, this may be the right tool for graduating from a more restrictive brace system.
9. Tenbon Foot Brace
Cushioned Ankle Wrap
Foot Drop From Stroke
Not as supportive as others
This design helps to strengthen muscles that can be, otherwise, lost over years of using a full-blown brace. It has an easy-to-use Velcro strapping system and is an ideal choice for those dealing with foot drop from a stroke. It offers a visible improvement to gait and is left and right foot compatible. Furthermore, it is breathable and comfortable to wear.Read more
In terms of usability, this product is very easy to use. Moreover, you can use this for either foot and it has a simple Velcro system in place. For those who struggle with buckling systems, this may be the perfect choice for you.
Made of a velvet fabric, this will feel comfortable around your skin. In addition, the stretchy design will allow you to secure it well for a better overall fit. Velcro straps allow you to loosen or tighten as necessary.
Cost and Value
Budget-friendly, you cannot go wrong with this purchase. It does work well with both left and right feet. Additionally, this can help improve muscle tone, otherwise lost; due to extended heavy brace use.
10. Furlove AFO
Simple to Use
Visible Improvement in Gait
Works in Footwear
May need orthotic-friendly footwear
We love the simplicity of this brace. Furthermore, it is lightweight and easy to use. It fits well inside of orthotic-friendly footwear or can be worn without shoes, altogether. This is ideal for daily moving about and gives visual improvement to gait. It comes with Velcro straps, plastic clips, and the inside has steel plates for support.Read more
Easy to use, the Velcro straps are a cinch. Furthermore, the volume is low enough to allow easy placement inside of orthotic-friendly footwear. This is a moderate brace which helps to strengthen muscles but, also, adds more stability which can be found in heavier braces.
Steel plates align the inside for an increase in stabilization and support. The clips are made of plastic but are thick enough to remain durable. Furthermore, the Velcro strap system works great, as well.
Cost and Value
This is another cost-efficient brace which has decent construction and good usability. For those looking for the in-between from heavy and lightweight designs, this may be the perfect purchase for you.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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, 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.
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.
There is in fact only one sock designed to go with your brace and help treat 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 a 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. And truthfully, these should only be worn with the brace.
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 is utilized in a variety of different braces and splints.
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 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.
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.
This may not come as a surprise to most, but the 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.
Comfort comes, first and foremost, in the form of the materials used. Look for molded footbeds, for materials, memory foam, and properly molded braces. When you’re already injured, the last thing you want is to wear a brace that increases the pain. The most important thing is that your foot is in proper position, without the brace digging into your skin or causing irritation.
Before you settle on a purchase, you should check that how the brace works with shoes, socks, or other things you might need while wearing the brace. The brace shouldn’t be so loose that your foot is slipping around – as you may risk skin irritation – but they also shouldn’t be too constricting and painfully digging into your skin.
Lastly, try to avoid heavy, bulky models. They tend to put a lot of stress not only on your feet but also on your shins, and they aren’t ideal for all-day activity.
The brace you choose to wear for your injury needs to have the correct features and offer the best stability and comfort you need during your recovery. Hopefully, the period of time you have to wear a recovery shoe is not too long, but you definitely need your brace to last. You don't want to spend money on a brace that falls apart quickly.
As we already mentioned, these braces will primarily be focused on positioning your foot in a way that helps to stretch or aleviate pain. A fact that you will have to face, however, is that most braces will wear down as you are using them. You can't expect them to last months and months or years, but we made sure that the choice on our list would last you a typical recovery period. That way you don't have to worry about buying multiple pairs.
Choosing higher quality braces will ensure you get the most for your money, but so will wearing the correct type of brace for your injury.
Foot injuries can vary greatly, so of course, the type of brace you need depends a lot on your needs. So, depending on what injury you have the purpose of the brace in question is crucial.
We've included many options on our list from night braces that hold your foot in an elongated position to stretch the tendons, or braces that will prevent your foot from dropping so you can have pain relief as you go about your day-to-day. The most important thing to look at is your specific injury and the treatment. Then you can make the decision of what foot brace will help to alleviate your pain or prevent further injury.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Whatever your ailment may be that requires a splint or boot, it's critical to find one that is comfortable. If it isn't, it's more likely you won't use it!
Many splints are adjustable to some degree, but if angle of the splint of boot isn't quite right, it's worth looking around at other options.
Best advice? Consult your physician to determine the kind of splint you need, and what aspects to avoid.
Recovery takes time, and seems to pass more slowly than before our injury or ailment came about. Don't rush the process, as you can cause greater damage, or re-injure the area. Take your recovery time to explore hobbies that perhaps you didn't previously, such as reading, cooking, puzzles, even gaming. If you can occupy yourself with some alternative things to keep you going, you're more likely to recovery properly, and be back up in no time!
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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, in addition to compression socks, can be a great choice if you’re going to be outdoors.
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 the product page beforehand to make sure.
AFO stands for “Ankle Foot Orthosis” and is used to treat a variety of foot drop related injuries.
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 and what your doctor has prescribed. Braces/splints, for the most part, are meant to treat the pain, not heal the injury altogether.
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