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.
- Insightful Products Step-Smart
- Plantar-Flexion Resistance
- Beyoung Day and Night
- Alloy Support Bar
- Orthomen AFO
- Leaf Spring Design
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
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.
- Top of the line in impact protection
- Very good at absorbing shock
- Lightweight (1 pound)
- Easy to use
- Very expensive
2. Beyoung Day and Night
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 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.
- Moisture wicking
- Soft and comfortable
- Night splint support
- Alloy support bar
- Double enhance velcro
- Hard to get used too
3. Orthomen AFO
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.
- Easy to trim
- Heelless design
- Strong and ilghtweight
- Versatile AFO Leaf design
- Can cause blisters
4. Rousu Medi AFO
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.
- Left/right sizes
- Lateral stabiltiy
- Static dorsiflexion support
- Low profile and easy to use
- Takes a little modification to get perfect
5. Freedom Swedish AFO
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 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.
- Injection Molding
- Easy trimming
- Low arch
- Open heel
- Padded hook and loop
- Can cause blisters
6. StrictlyStability Night Splint
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.
- Foot wedges
- Added message ball
- Great price to value
- A bit bulky
- Takes some getting used too
8. Bitly Compression Socks
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!
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.
- Low-profile and lightweight
- Very comfortable
- Can be used during the day or at night
- Great ankle and foot support
- Expensive for a sock
- most likely not sutiable for more severe treatment
9. Athletica Ankle Brace Lift
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.
- Breathable and moisture wicking
- Can be used outside
- Adjustable closures
- No included instructions
- Can be hard to take off
10. VIVE Plantar Fasciitis Splint
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.
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.
- Durable exterior
- Soft interior
- High quality straps
- Reputable company
- 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
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.
- 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.
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.
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 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.
- 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.
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.