Charcot-Marie-Tooth UK
1,241 members495 posts


I have used AFos in the past and have had problems with the velcro against my skin. I am now using my second pair of SAFOs which have been supplied by the NHS. I have had skin problems around both inside legs, with infections, swelling, pain, irritation etc. I have contacted Dorset Orthopaedic who said that they hadn't had this problem before but I see from other people's comments that sweating etc does cause this problem in others. I wonder how this can be prevented. I have tried wearing a dressing on the open sores and have tried cotton socks but have not been able to clear up the problem for some months. Doctors aren't able to help, other than to give me antibiotics.

12 Replies

Hi I have also had a problem with my safo with having an infection under them ,I think it was caused by sweating , but my doctor took a scrapping of the skin and had it tested it showed a yeast infection and the tablets I was given did clear it up , but I have had it twice and worn safos for about 6 years., in fact I never had it with my first pair !


Sorry but what is a SAFO and a AFO?


Hello to Whiterose,

1) An A.F.O. is an abreviation for an Ankle Foot Orthotic device (splint's) :

They are usually made from Lightweight "RIGID" Polyurothene Plastic,

materials, which are then individually moulded to suit each of your

foot/ankle/calf's, following you having plastercasts taken to match your own

particular lower limbs, contours, and shape's :

They are worn inside of your shoes, possibly one size larger, and an extra-

wide fitting: (E,EE, EEE, EEEE.)

2) A S.A,F.O. is an abreviation for a Silicone-Ankle-Foot-Orthosis

The SAFO ™, or Silicone-Ankle-Foot Orthosis, is an Award winning

flexible orthotic that was developed, and patented by Dosrset Orthopaedic:

It is made of silicone rubber, and is flexible: It provides a long-term solution

to drop-foot:

It works by supporting the front of your leg down to the top of your foot. This

helps you lift your foot while your leg swings during walking. However

many patients complain that the silicone rubber materials, cause sweating /

skin rashes etc:

The Dorsect Orthpaedics website contains much more information +

many photographs of their product:

However they may not be supplied by the N.H.S.


Hello to All....

I have been wearing a rigid (plastic toe - knee) LIGHTWEIGHT ! AFO's on both legs since 2004: They were made here in Glasgow by Westmarc who are attached to the Southern General Hospital, and are recognised the major supplier of surgical limb appliances in the west of Scotland:

They manufacture the various NHS limb supports "in-house", also have access to the external services of Buchanan Orthotics, Helen Street Glasgow: The AFO's that they supply are simply 1st class, and always fit first time, without the need for repeated adjustment: I also took part in trials using Carbon Fibre, a super lightweight material, which had to be abandoned due to sudden fracturing of the AFO's:

Whilst my current supports are rigid, you will require to simply buy your ORDINARY wide fitting shoes just one size larger to accommodate the AFO: They also recommend that you wear a "stockinette" socks to prevent "skin chaffing": I personally just buy ladies "knee high" 60 denier socks from Asda to wear inside my AFO / Splint: As part of my general health routine, my wife and I walk 3/5K, approx three days a week with no problems: However, whilst this may sound good, but as we all know life is full of "trade-off's", my calf muscles are now nil, and when I remove my "splints" I then have severe tremor in my lower limbs:

Still be totally positive, the fight continues on ! ! !

Sorry Cmt I've bad news for you "your ain't gonna' beat me"

John .... (Glasgow)


John - I was most interested to read your enthusiastic comments about Westmarc, and looked them up on Google. I see that they say they specialise in neurobiomechanics, which suggests that they understand, and can help with the complex gait problems that go with CMT. Is that correct?

The only problem from my point of view is that I am in a different NHS area (in Scotland), and am wondering whether it would be a good idea to ask my neurologist if I can be referred there.. (he'll probably say no, but I can at least try.)

I am becoming increasingly frustrated with Orthotics in my district. They appear only to supply off the shelf stuff, and make minor alterations.My gait has only been examined visually, and the only measurement has been to see whether I'd take a L,M or S size in the velcro-and-elastic jobs, which have been modified a bit, and mended several times in 8 months. They certainly help with the foot drop, but do practically nothing to stabilise my ankles or prevent my weight going on the edges of my soles (I have been told this is impossible to do - is that correct?), or help with balance . They have to be very tight to do the job they do, so may not be ideal for one's circulation or cold feet.

Please let me know more!


Same here ... regular bouts of contact dermatitis on SAFO but problem is they are just so good to walk with! Minimised the problem by wearing Ulcertec linings ( they are designed for folks with vein problems to wear under pressure socks).

Very thin, stronger than tights and no seams so no pressure points.

They are unfort not cheap...


Can you tell me the name of your health authority, mine are not keen to help so far.


Lanarkshire Health Board:


If you are anywhere in Scotland, you will not get SAFOs on the NHS.


Hi Amaita !

Why not ? what was your local orthotist's reply to your request ?


Hi John,

My new, much more communicative, orthotist looked at my elastic and velcro (L) orthosis, and my semi-rigid lace-up (R) orthosis, and commented that they were doing their job moderately well, but he'd consider ordinary rigid plastic AFOs for me (my present devices are very challenging to get on and off). He then added that probably SAFOs would be best for me but that they are not available on the NHS anywhere in Scotland.

I had understood from you earlier that your AFOs are the rigid plastic variety, and not the flexible silicone (=expensive) sort,, so I'd guess you really can't get SAFOs on the NHS in Scotland.

I can try to ask him more about it on Tues, when I get a trial fitting for a pair of NHS ankle boots. I shall also ask him about dynamic AFOs, and whether they'd be suitable ( and available on the NHS) for me.


Thanks John, just been given a pair of these I immediately felt my feet were supported but my left ankle is giving me hip. My right leg has swollen a tad. I will see how I get on. Kind regards. Terese


You may also like...