I wore a cheap orthodontic device for a foot-drop, prescribed by Kaiser ( Maui) that destroyed much of my leg: my knee went too far back, my hamstring stretched out of sync, my high-stepping gait was not helped and my gait suffered causing lower lumbar pain and aggravation. I also think the AFO caused a hernia. Eventually, I had to go to a customized and expensive afo (prescribed by different HMO) to correct these problems. However this new afo immobilized my ankle and the surrounding foot muscles were weakened. Now I'm getting 2x weekly physical therapy to bring back the strength and function that these afo's brought me. However, with the second afo I rarely trip, fall, etc.
This customized AFO ($1250) needed constant adjustment (heating up with a spelized hot air blower, then bending to fit my odd foot bones, however this in turn caused rubbing and blistering on other bones. I find that I am constantly having to pad different parts of the AFO with neopryn from an old wet-suit of mine, with black electrical tape to eliviate rubbing and blistering.
My current AFO is black, thick plastic with velcro. It looks like Darth Vader's lower leg and since I wear shorts here Hawaii 24/7 I get stares and kids asking if I know Darth Vader personally.
If my CIDP had been diagnosed when symptoms first appeared in 2001, I most likely would not have had the foot-drop and a life time of IvIG. I also have high arches and corrective inserts really help. I wear Birkenstocks for walking and Aqua Sphere (blue shark shaped fins) for swimming. In Hawaii, because of the constant oppressive heat and humidity, I need breathing shoes, sandals, tennis shoes and I get size 12 EE which allows my AFO to fit into shoes and this size gives me more surface area which helps my balance and stability.
Not wearing an AFO for a foot drop can cause severe problems, problems that can radiate all the way to the neck, believe me.