There are many different types of leg braces—short, long, articulated (have an ankle/knee joint), solid, leather, plastic, carbon, the list goes on.
Custom Molded Ankle Gauntlet (Arizona style)
This is a short brace that is plastic encased in leather. It has a lace or Velcro closure system. This type of brace is often used for people with severe posterior tibial tendon injuries, degenerative foot/ankle arthritis, and other tendon/ligament injuries.
Short Articulated Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)
This is a short brace that has an ankle joint allowing the ankle to bend. This type of brace can also have special joints that pick up the toes when you walk. These braces are usually used for people with moderate to severe posterior tibial tendon problems, ankle arthritis, and ankle instabilities. They are also used for people with footdrop conditions (inability to pick up one’s toes when walking).
Solid Ankle Full Length AFO
This is a long AFO (just below the knee) that is used for people with severe ankle arthritis or weakness in multiple muscle groups across the foot, ankle, and legs. This type of bracing is often used for people who need ankle fusions but are not able/ready to have the surgery.
Articulated Assist Full Length AFO
This is a full length AFO that has a toe pick up ankle joint. These types of braces are used for people who have difficulty picking up their toes.
Carbon is used in bracing because it is very lightweight and very strong. Most carbon braces do not have an intimate fit with the leg but do work very dynamically. Carbon bracing can be used for people who have muscle weakness in the legs and feet, tendon injuries, arthritis, and other issues. Often carbon braces are used with foot orthotics to add more control.