Foot of the Week – Episode 18 – Toe Off

Gordon Holman Blog

In this week’s video blog, we compare the differences between braces designed for toe off and braces designed for drop foot. Braces designed for toe off are supposed to help in gait with plantarflexion, not dorsiflexion. Braces designed for drop foot or foot drop are supposed to help in gait with dorsiflexion, or lifting the foot up and not pushing off with weak toes. Some of these toe off brace designs do give clearance at swing phase, allowing the toes to clear the ground while swinging the leg forward, but most do not help with shock absorption at heel strike. A key component to any good drop foot brace is the ability to slow the foot down at heel strike thereby preventing foot slap while also not restricting plantarflexion too much. The reality is that most of these toe off designs are not strong enough to assist in toe off. As seen in this video, the brace bends almost beyond its limit at about 15 lbs and most people weigh between 120 and 200 lbs. Even though the toe off is made of carbon fiber or mostly carbon fiber, the designs we have looked at can not handle weight over 100lbs and therefore the toe off benefit claimed is worthless in our opinion.