What is a DAFO?
DAFO stands for Dynamic Ankle Foot Orthosis. In the simplest terms, a DAFO is a custom-fabricated brace that helps gently hold the foot and ankle in a more functional position when standing, walking, or resting. The word DAFO has come to be like Kleenex in that the brand name has been adopted as the common name. Cascade Dafo created the original DAFO almost 30 years ago. Today we are the industry leader in creating high-quality orthoses for pediatric patients worldwide.
Who uses DAFOs?
Some super-cool, amazing kiddos, that’s who – and some equally-awesome adults too. People who wear DAFOs in some way lack control of their foot and/or ankle and need help to maintain a more functional position.
What makes a DAFO unique?
The intimate contact of a thin, flexible, contoured brace—with wrap-around support and comfortable plantar surface contours—provides better sensory input and alignment than a typical, rigid AFO (ankle-foot orthosis). We believe children learn movement by moving. Rather than bracing heavily, we want the foot to experience as much useful movement as possible. A child needs to explore positions in a guided range. Like guard rails on a highway, the DAFO provides the freedom to move ahead with protection from danger. To that end, we create orthoses with as much flexibility as possible along the planes where a child has good foot control, providing support only where needed—the least amount of support to be effective.
I have questions about a specific order, who do I call?
If you are the ordering practitioner, call us at 800.848.7332. For custom DAFOs and Fast Fit products, our Customer Support team will assist you. If you are a parent or patient, please contact the ordering practitioner.
What are your customer support hours?
Our customer support phone lines are open Monday-Thursday from 7 am to 3:30 pm, and Friday from 7 am to 2:30 pm, Pacific Time. (Bonus: you’ll talk to a real person on the phone, not a robot or machine!)
Are your products available internationally?
Ja. Tak. Hai. (That’s yes in German, Polish, and Japanese—the languages of some of the many countries we serve.) For a full list of international distributors, and their contact info, visit our International page.
Do you make braces for adults?
Yes. We are pediatric specialists but many of our brace styles work well for adult patients too. Custom-fabricated products are built from a cast of the patient’s foot and ankle, no matter how large or small. In addition, most of our Fast Fit shoe inserts go up to 12.25” in length, which is equivalent to a large-sized adult foot.
Is there a size or weight limit for DAFOs?
Nope – there’s no size or weight limit. DAFOs are custom-fabricated from a cast of the patient’s foot and ankle. But, keep in mind that the patient’s size and weight should definitely be factors in choosing which brace style is most appropriate. Learn more about brace selection in our DAFO Guide or our free online courses.
What colors and patterns are available to use on my DAFO?
Use our DAFO Creation Station to “try on” our various transfer patterns, ribbon trims, and strap and padding colors with a virtual custom DAFO. Or, print out our colors and patterns reference sheet, and slip the pages into a protective sleeve or laminate them for reuse.
Why don’t you have transfer patterns with Rapunzel, Iron Man, Thomas the Train, Doc McStuffin, or other various popular characters?
We’d love to, we really would. Licensing requirements for some characters are limiting and cost prohibitive. You can view our current available patterns and ribbon trims on the Creation Station. We do encourage patients to customize their DAFOs as much as possible—we’ll even sew on ribbon trim for you if you send it in with your casts.
Which types of shoes work best with DAFOs?
By far, this is our most frequently asked question. It’s hard to outright recommend specific brands of shoes because styles, sizes, and shapes can vary, a lot. We’ve created a shoe page that provides characteristics to look for in shoes that work well with DAFOs, along with some shoe shopping tips.
Can DAFOs get wet?
Yes. Please take your DAFOs to the pool or the beach! DAFOs can get wet – simply rinse and let air dry after use in saltwater or chlorinated water. Please do not put your DAFOs in the dryer or use a blow dryer to dry your DAFOs!
How do you clean a DAFO?
Use mild soap and water. Rinse and air dry. Do not put your DAFOs in the dryer. Do not use a blow dryer to dry your DAFOs!
How long should the initial break-in period be for a patient new to wearing DAFOs?
Find habituation guidelines, plus other tips, on our Using DAFOs page.
I’m a parent, how do I get a DAFO for my child?
The need for a DAFO is typically initiated by a child’s pediatrician or physical therapist. In most cases, the child then goes to see an orthotist who will assess his/her gait and, in collaboration with other members of the patient’s clinical team, determine which brace style is most appropriate for the patient. The orthotist then casts (for custom DAFOs) or measures (for Fast Fit products) the child and sends the order to us for fabrication. A fitting appointment is scheduled with the orthotist to coincide with the braces’ arrival. Learn more about the bracing process. For a list of DAFO providers/orthotists in your area, call us at 800.848.7332.
I’m an orthotist, how do I get started ordering DAFOs?
Call us. We'll walk you through setting up an account. Or, simply fill out our credit application. If you are new to Cascade Dafo, we encourage you to take our free online course series.
I’m a physical therapist, how do I get a DAFO for my patient?
Most DAFO products are ordered via an orthotist. For a list of DAFO providers in your area, call us at 800.848.7332.
Where is your price list?
When you set up your account, you’ll receive the wholesale price list for all our products. Misplaced your copy? Call our Customer Support team at 800.848.7332 and we’ll send one over.
What is your return policy?
All our products are covered by a Full (90-Day) Warranty. Call us to chat about your return—we are happy help.
Can I shop for your products online?
Yes, we sell our Fast Fit below-ankle shoe inserts online. Find them at www.cascadeshop.com. (Note: our online shop is for U.S. retail credit card purchases only. Product purchases from the online shop do not include patient assessment, brace planning, fit evaluation, or adjustments—for those services, consult with a practitioner.)
Do you offer continuing education courses?
Yes. All of our continuing education curriculum is available to take online, anywhere, anytime. (And psst…they’re free.) Learn more about our online courses. If you are an orthotist, therapist, and/or professor in need of materials to conduct an in-service, we’ve got downloadable presentations of varying lengths that can help. Call us to learn more.
Which trade shows will you be at this year?
Lots of them! Find out where we are going next.
What’s new at Cascade Dafo?
We’re all about continuous improvement, and we update our company news frequently. Find our latest news here. We’re also active on several social media sites—come on over and like us on Facebook, follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, or send us a tweet.
How do I choose the right size for a Fast Fit product?
Fast Fit products are prefabricated and are available in a wide range of sizes, from pediatric through adult. They are sized by measuring the length of the foot in inches. You may also use our Fast Fit Paper Sizing Jig, or simply trace the foot. When sizing, just be sure to add about a ½ inch to the end of toes for growth room. Sizes are available in two widths: wide and narrow (medium).
Do you have account reps that can visit my office?
Yes. We have a team of account representatives that cover all regions in the United States. Call us to find out more.
What if there is a problem after I receive a brace?
If you are a parent/patient/therapist, contact the practitioner who cast/ordered/fit the device. If you are the ordering practitioner, call our customer support team at 800.848.7332.
Can you send me a brochure about your products?
Most certainly. While all of our printed materials are available online, we’re happy to send hard copies via mail. Use our comments and requests form to ask for as much information as you’d like, or give us a call!
What’s your turnaround time for manufacturing custom DAFOs?
It’s quick. From the time we receive your order here, we take an average 4 working days to fabricate custom DAFOs. Total time from when you send us your order to when you receive a completed DAFO depends on shipping times and location.