The Codivilla Spring: from then to now and beyond

Roberta Bardelli, Jaap Harlaar, Giovanni Morone, Patrizia Tomba, Alberto Esquenazi, Maria Grazia Benedetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ankle-foot-orthosis (AFO), originally called Codivilla Spring, is an orthotic device prescribed to the patients with foot drop due to neurological diseases in order to control the range of motion of the ankle joint, to compensate for the muscle weakness/spasticity thus optimizing the gait function. In this paper, a historical revision of the most known and used AFO worldwide from the origin of its name and the first applications at the Rizzoli Orthopedic Institute to the most advanced solutions in use today is covered. Through the critical analysis of historical documents available, the paper reports on the controversy about the true inventor of the Codivilla Spring during the first decades of the twentieth century. Main current adult and child AFOs, in terms of their design and indications are presented. Finally, possible approaches for the selection of the correct orthosis and the individual prescription are discussed in order to manage specific mechanical neuromuscular deficiencies of the subject's ankle-foot complex optimizing walking efficiency.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalEur J Phys Rehabil Med
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Apr 16 2021


  • ankle foot orthoses
  • history
  • drop foot
  • assistive device

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