Surestep’s Open Heel Modification – Everything You Need To Know

by Aculbertson

Surestep products have helped thousands of kids stand, walk, run, and play.

But that doesn’t mean they’re for perfect for each and every child. Sometimes changes are required to meet specific needs, which is why we offer a variety of modifications. And one in particular we’re very excited about it our new open heel.


What Is It?

The open heel modification is a minor design change to our existing products. We removed the heel and added a very thin molded inner boot.

At first glance, it looks like you’re just getting less brace. But this change provides several important benefits.

How Does It Help?

The open heel is great for kids who are sensory seeking. With the heel gone, your child can more clearly feel the ground beneath his or her feet, which builds confidence.

There are also more technical benefits. This modification helps improve posterior weight shifts. For example, it allows kids to squat more appropriately.

It also encourages the development of a heel-toe gait pattern. For some kids, the transition from initial heel contact with the ground to flat foot happens too quickly. They fling themselves forward with every step. But the open heel slows this process down to a more natural speed.


Who Is It Right For?

This modification can benefit kids with high or low muscle tone who demonstrate any of the following:

  • Sensory deficits
  • Anterior weight lines
  • A quick transition from initial contact to flat foot

Is It Just For SMOs?


In addition to the Surestep SMO and Toe Walking SMO, this modification is available for our full line of AFOs.


Will It Still Correct Pronation?


Pronation (also called flat feet) is most noticeable in the arch of the foot, but it actually begins in the heel. And with part of the brace gone, some people fear the brace won’t be as effective.

But that’s not the case.

We’ve compared the standard Surestep SMO to Surestep SMOs with the open heel modification. Both styles control pronation. This is because our products work through compression. Instead of simply forcing the missing arch upward, we essentially bear hug the foot and guide it into proper alignment.


Does It Make The SMO Bulkier? Will I Have More Trouble Finding Shoes?

Only slightly.

The open heel modification is just a minor change, but in general, the brace is about 1/16th of an inch wider across the ball of the foot. That’s about the length of the point on a pen.

And when putting shoes on, we don’t recommend shoving the heel. Instead, use a twisting motion until you’re over the lip of the plastic.


How Can I Get The Open Heel For My Child?

You can discuss this option with your orthotist and/or physical therapist.

Surestep can always be reached at 877-462-0711.


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