Carbon Fiber Vs. Thermoplastic: A Comprehensive Comparison in Prosthetics and Orthotics
The fascinating world of prosthetics and orthotics has undergone dramatic advancements, contributing substantially to improved patient care. One area of particular interest is the types of materials used in creating these specialized devices. The two contenders making the most waves in this field are thermoplastics and carbon fiber. Each boasts unique advantages and finds utility in specific applications, enhancing the overall functionality and comfort of prosthetic and orthotic devices. Let's dive deeper into what these materials bring to the table.
Carbon Fiber: The Lightweight Champion of Strength and Resilience
Carbon fiber is an incredibly versatile player in orthopedic applications. What makes it stand out is its unparalleled strength and rigidity, all while being astoundingly lightweight. Importantly, carbon retains its shape excellently under high stress, due to its high tensile strength under both tension and compression.
Here's why this is crucial:
Why carbon fiber prosthetics? In the realm of prosthetics, carbon fiber often becomes the material of choice for the definitive socket. This is the final socket that the patient receives after giving their approval of the test socket.
The design of this socket is intricately tailored to the type of prosthesis being created, and the patient is even afforded the option to customize the outer design of the socket to their liking. This personal touch allows the device to become an extension of the patient's personality, promoting a more positive user experience.
On the orthotic front, the use of carbon fiber is determined based on the specific type of brace required and the patient's activity level. Given carbon fiber's rigidity, it provides increased stability, which is essential for devices such as those with an articulating ankle or braces that need to offer extra support. This is particularly crucial for patients who lead an active lifestyle and rely on their orthotic device to provide reliable, consistent performance.
Thermoplastics: Where Flexibility Meets Function
Despite the impressive qualities of carbon fiber prosthetics, thermoplastics offer a compelling alternative. They come with several advantages over carbon and other traditional materials. These include increased contact and support on the limb, a straightforward fabrication process, reduced weight while retaining strength, and numerous cosmetic options for color and decorative patterns.
While thermoplastics may not be as rigid as carbon fiber, they still bring considerable benefits to the table and are a fantastic option for many patients. This flexibility makes thermoplastics a go-to choice for patients who require a less rigid device that can adapt to various activities and conditions.
Thermoplastics in Practice: Their Role and Value
Different types of thermoplastics are harnessed for their specific strengths in prosthetics and orthotics.
Pros and Cons: Carbon Fiber Vs. Thermoplastic
Despite both being fantastic choices for prosthetics and orthotics, it's crucial to understand the advantages and potential drawbacks of carbon fiber and thermoplastics to make an informed choice.
Conclusion: Choosing the Right Material for You
Choosing between carbon fiber prosthetics and thermoplastics isn't about deciding which material is intrinsically superior—it's about finding the best fit for your unique needs and lifestyle. Whether you're an athlete in need of a rigid, resilient prosthetic for high-impact activities, or you're seeking a flexible, lightweight orthotic for daily use, there's a tailored solution out there waiting for you.
Why not explore your options further with a consultation at Align Clinic? We're dedicated to helping you find the best prosthetic or orthotic device to enhance your lifestyle. Get in touch with us today and start your journey to improved mobility and quality of life.
Are you familiar with the remarkable material known as carbon fiber? This extraordinary composite is currently taking the world of prosthetic devices by storm, and for good reason! Comprised of thinly spread carbon strands that are intricately woven together before being immersed in a protective resin, carbon fiber is the new golden child in the realm of prosthetics. Let's take a deeper dive into the unique properties of this innovative material and discover why it's become such a game-changer.
Why Carbon Fiber is a Prosthetic Game-Changer
In a world where comfort and practicality are key, traditional heavy and cumbersome prosthetics no longer make the cut. Carbon fiber ushers in a new era of prosthetics that are lightweight and sturdy all at once. Here's a comprehensive look at the multitude of benefits offered by this revolutionary material:
1. Unparalleled Strength-to-weight Ratio
One of the most impressive attributes of carbon fiber is its remarkable strength-to-weight ratio. It surpasses traditional materials such as metals and plastics, being much lighter yet significantly stronger. This means that carbon fiber prosthetics can offer users enhanced comfort and reduced strain without compromising on durability. Simply put, these devices are built to last and to be worn with ease, transforming the user experience from a burden into a breeze.
2. Superior Flexibility
Customization is a critical component of any prosthetic device. Here's where the flexibility of carbon fiber comes into play. Its moldable nature allows for complex shapes and designs to be created, making for prosthetics that are specifically tailored to each patient's unique requirements. The result? Prosthetic devices that aren't just more comfortable but also incredibly functional. They are designed to seamlessly align with the patient's unique anatomy and movement patterns, thereby ensuring a higher degree of comfort and usability.
3. Excellent Corrosion and Fatigue Resistance
When it comes to the longevity of prosthetic materials, two common issues often crop up - corrosion and fatigue. However, carbon fiber simply shrugs these problems off. Its high resistance to both corrosion (which occurs when metals come into contact with moisture or certain substances) and fatigue (caused by repeated stress or strain) makes it an excellent choice for devices that need to endure long-term use and exposure to various environments. The result is a prosthetic that stands the test of time, reducing the need for frequent replacements.
4. Athlete's Best Friend
Sports and athletics place unique demands on prosthetics. Devices for athletes need to be lightweight, strong, flexible, and capable of handling swift movements. Carbon fiber steps up to the plate admirably in all these aspects. Its properties allow athletes to perform optimally, and its durability reduces the risk of injury. Moreover, its lightweight nature allows athletes to move with greater agility, offering them a competitive edge.
5. Attractive Aesthetics
Why shouldn't prosthetics have a dash of style? With carbon fiber prosthetics, users can enjoy a sleek and modern look that can be further customized to suit individual preferences. These devices can be finished in a variety of colors and textures, making them as visually appealing as they are functional.
Carbon Fiber: Changing the Face of Prosthetic Devices
Let's look at a few of the prosthetic devices where carbon fiber truly shines:
The journey of carbon fiber in prosthetics is far from over. With continuous advancements in technology, several exciting possibilities are on the horizon:
Despite the multitude of advantages offered by carbon fiber prosthetics, there are a few potential hurdles to consider:
The strength, flexibility, durability, and aesthetic appeal of carbon fiber have cemented its position as a leading material in prosthetic devices. While there are certain challenges to consider, the benefits it offers are significant and can dramatically improve the lives of prosthetic users. As we continue to progress in technology and material science, we can anticipate an even greater role for carbon fiber in the field of prosthetics.
Excited to explore the potential of carbon fiber prosthetics for yourself or a loved one? Don't hesitate to reach out to us at Align Clinic for a consultation. We're eager to guide you through the array of options available and help you find the perfect solution to meet your unique needs.
People who have undergone leg amputation can use prosthetic legs, which mimic the function and appearance of a real leg, to enhance mobility and quality of life. With the right information, you can make a wise decision for your condition or help your loved one find a solution for their pain.
Above-the-Knee Prosthetic Types
Here are the common types of prosthetics for above-the-knee amputees:
What Type of Prosthesis Replaces the Leg Above the Knee?
Individuals who require an above-knee prosthesis (known as a transfemoral prosthesis) typically receive a personalized socket, a knee joint, a pylon, a foot, and a suspension system to hold the prosthesis in place. It's typical for patients to be fitted for a prosthetic a few days following the surgery.
After the above-knee amputation surgery, an Immediate Post-Operative Prosthesis (IPOP) will be provided to reduce swelling, protect wounds, and accelerate healing. To make the prosthetic more comfortable, an AK shrinker may also be used, which not only shapes the limb for the prosthetic but also desensitizes the limb in certain cases.
To ensure that the long-term prosthesis is the right type and fit for your needs, the process shouldn't be rushed. The following steps will be taken:
Above-knee prostheses consist of several components, such as the socket, knee joint, ankle joint, and foot parts. When starting the prosthetic fitting, patients typically receive a temporary prosthesis while their residual limb heals, shrinks, and changes shape over a few months. The prosthetic device can be customized to ensure a proper and comfortable fit for the individual's residual limb.
The following provides further details on how the various components of an above-knee prosthesis work in harmony:
Daily Activities with Above-Knee Prosthetics
To maintain the functionality of your prosthesis, it’s important to invest time in ongoing therapy and at-home exercises supervised by your doctor. Consistent effort can help improve your balance and coordination, and rehabilitation can take up to a year. Daily checks of the remaining limb for irritation, skin breaks, or redness are also essential.
A prosthetic does not mean you can’t have an enjoyable and productive life. Your doctor can advise you on what activities you can do at home, such as washing the remaining limb with soap and water. Depending on your individual case, you may even be able to drive or return to work as early as 4-8 weeks post-surgery, although full recovery may take longer.
1. How Do People with Above-Knee Prosthetics Walk?
Is walking normally with a prosthetic leg possible after an above-knee amputation? Since bearing weight is more difficult in this case and the risk of falling is higher, individuals typically use a wheelchair until their risk of falling is reduced. They work with a physical therapist to build strength and be fitted with short prosthetic training feet to aid in relearning balance.
The height of the prosthetic leg is gradually increased to build the necessary strength for a full-length prosthetic. With time and practice, you can progress to walking without any assistance devices.
2. How Far Can You Walk with a Prosthetic Leg?
The ability to walk after amputation and with a prosthetic limb varies depending on the individual's injury and healing process. While some people may experience fatigue or pain after walking short distances, others may be able to walk around as before the surgery.
3. How to Play Sports with a Prosthetic Leg
Various sports have distinct requirements, and people with prosthetic legs can engage in various activities. Some non-weight-bearing sports, such as cycling and swimming, are particularly popular. Others may enjoy activities such as walking, running, dancing, gardening, or practicing yoga. Consider exploring new activities beyond traditional sports.
4. How to Safely Fall with an Above-the-Knee Prosthetic
Mastering the art of falling can assist in preventing injuries for those who have prosthetic legs. Your physical therapist should guide you through the process of falling safely.
If you lose your balance, it's essential to let go of any walking aids and make your body flexible. Soften the impact using slightly bent elbows and roll to the side immediately to lessen the blow. You should also tuck your chin to your chest to prevent head injury.
5. How to Sit with Regular Above-Knee Prosthetics
To maintain proper posture while sitting with a prosthetic limb, keeping your shoulders back and your pelvis aligned underneath you is important. Aim your prosthetic limb towards the floor and let it hang naturally close to your other leg.
Tips to Feel Comfortable with a Prosthetic Leg
Adapting to a prosthetic leg can pose both physical and mental difficulties. The following are common obstacles to overcome:
Working with a licensed and certified prosthetist is essential if you need to get a prosthetic limb. Our team of experts will help restore your mobility and improve your quality of life. Reach out for questions regarding prosthetic limbs. Call us today, and we’ll be glad to help you.
A KAFO or knee-ankle-foot orthosis is a specially molded plastic shell with metal uprights and knee joints designed to provide corrective and supportive functions to the ankle, foot, and knee areas. It can improve posture, body alignment, mobility, and bone and muscle strength. It also increases independence and confidence levels in patients.
Whether you're a patient, caregiver, or healthcare professional, this post covers everything you need to know about KAFO, from its design and function to its benefits and limitations.
How to Put on a KAFO
Here is a simple process for putting on a KAFO:
Although KAFOs are designed to be worn for extended periods, they must be removed occasionally for activities like bathing, sleeping, and skin inspection. Proper KAFO removal technique is essential to prevent injury and ensure the long-term effectiveness of the device.
Follow these steps to remove your KAFO safely:
How to Take Care of Your KAFO
Ensuring the proper upkeep of your KAFO is crucial. To maintain it, use a damp cloth to clean and towel dry. Avoid exposing it to direct heat. If you notice any wear and tear on the hook and loop straps, linings, or padding, contact your orthotic facility for repair. Additionally, attend the clinic annually for knee joint service or as per your orthotist's instructions.
Types of KAFOs
KAFOs, or knee-ankle-foot orthoses, come in various types that cater to the diverse needs of patients. Different types of KAFOs available, each with its specific features and benefits.
1. Total Surface Bearing/Thermoplastic KAFOs
Total Surface Bearing (TSB) or Thermoplastic KAFOs are commonly prescribed for patients with a flaccid or weak lower limb requiring full leg support. These KAFOs are custom-made from a mold of the patient's leg using a thermoplastic material that becomes pliable when heated.
The mold creates a socket that distributes pressure evenly over the leg's surface, reducing the risk of skin irritation or pressure sores. These KAFOs also provide medial and lateral support to the knee and ankle joints, making them an effective option for patients who need joint stability.
Here are some advantages of Total Surface Bearing/Thermoplastic KAFOs:
Here are some potential disadvantages of Total Surface Bearing/Thermoplastic KAFOs:
Stance Phase Control (SPC) KAFOs are designed to provide stability and control during the stance phase of walking. They are typically prescribed for patients with weakness or paralysis of the quadriceps muscle, which can cause knee buckling or collapse during weight-bearing activities.
SPC KAFOs use a combination of mechanical joints and spring mechanisms to provide the necessary support and stability for the patient. They are usually custom-made to ensure a proper fit and function for each patient's needs. SPC KAFOs are an effective orthotic solution for patients with gait abnormalities caused by quadriceps weakness or paralysis.
Here are s few advantages of SPC KAFOs:
Here are the main disadvantages of Stance Phase Control KAFOs:
Knee orthotics have the potential to greatly reduce pain and improve mobility, enabling individuals to maintain an active lifestyle. You can make wise decisions regarding treatment options with the information provided in this guide.
At Align Clinic, we strive to assist patients in selecting the most appropriate option for their needs. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to help you find an optimal solution for your knee pain.
A TLSO, or thoracolumbosacral orthosis, is a type of back brace used to limit motion and promote healing in the thoracic, lumbar, and sacral regions of the spine. It's typically prescribed after surgery or for stable middle and lower back fractures and can also be used to correct lateral scoliotic curves. Proper use of the TLSO can help the patient maintain proper alignment and mobility during recovery.
Using a TLSO Brace
Bracing is based on the idea that increased weight on a particular area of a growing spine can inhibit its growth. A TLSO brace utilizes specialized pads placed in certain areas to apply pressure on abnormal curves, which helps slow their growth.
By controlling the progression and keeping the Cobb angle below 40 degrees, a patient may be able to avoid surgical interventions such as spinal fusion.
Typically, bracing is limited to the pediatric population as it's most effective for growing spines. Children between the ages of 12 and 15 with Cobb angles ranging from 20 to 40 degrees are often prescribed TLSO braces, typically pre-fabricated in a corset style using rigid plastic and available in small, medium, or large sizes.
In the US, the Boston brace is the most commonly used design. For bracing to be effective, the child is required to wear the brace for a minimum of 18 to 23 hours per day. The recommended duration of bracing is three to five years.
While wearing a TLSO brace underneath loose clothing is feasible, many adolescents may hesitate to wear one that restricts their movements throughout the day. The effectiveness of the brace heavily relies on consistent and prolonged usage.
Unfortunately, many teenagers choose to remove their braces as soon as they arrive at school, resulting in a substantial decrease in the success rate of the treatment.
How To Wear A TLSO Brace
If you've been prescribed a TLSO, brace for an injury or medical condition, it's important to know how to wear it properly. A TLSO brace is designed to provide support and stability to your thoracic, lumbar, and sacral spine areas.
By following some simple steps, you can ensure that the brace effectively manages your condition or injury and is comfortable to wear throughout the day.
Here are some key tips on how to wear a TLSO brace correctly:
Removing a TLSO brace properly is important to prevent further injury or discomfort and ensure that the brace continues functioning as intended.
Here are the steps on how to remove your TLSO brace safely and comfortably:
Following some basic guidelines, you can prevent skin irritation and achieve the best possible results from your brace.
Here are some key points to remember when wearing a brace, including tips on how to safely apply it, how frequently to wear it, and how to check for signs of skin irritation.
To wear a brace for up to five years without the ability to bend the torso makes breathing difficult and exercise impossible. While wearing the brace, activities like dancing, sports, and even simple movements become a challenge.
The physical discomfort is compounded by the psychological harm of teasing and peer stares. Some teenagers feel that the risk of spinal surgery is not worth enduring the challenges associated with wearing a brace.
While a brace can prevent scoliosis from worsening, it doesn't correct the Cobb angle, meaning that misalignment is still present after removing the brace.
That can cause scoliosis to wear out the discs in the spine more quickly, resulting in an increased Cobb angle. Although wearing a brace has a 75% success rate in preventing surgery, one in every four patients will still require surgery.
A Cobb angle of 30 degrees is often the tipping point for whether or not scoliosis progresses to surgery in adulthood, with a high chance that it'll increase at least 10 degrees over time. Doctors may consider surgery for patients with 40-degree Cobb angles or higher.
While a brace can prevent surgery during the teenage years, as the teenager ages, the spine may deteriorate, potentially making surgery necessary despite the brace being considered "successful."
Making the Best Decision for Your Scoliosis Treatment
TLSO Braces can significantly reduce spinal pain, improve posture and help maintain an active lifestyle. With the correct information, you can decide about your treatment options.
At Align Clinic, we help you select the right TLSO Brace for your needs. Call us today and we'll guide you toward the best solution to your spinal condition.
Bringing a baby home from the hospital is very exciting. But it can also be a scary time as you navigate the first few months as a parent. The list of things you have to worry about as your child develops can seem endless. Being on the lookout for health issues in your infant is part and parcel of parenting.
One of the most common concerns for new parents is the shape of the baby’s head. You’ll want to know as early as possible whether or not it’s a serious condition that requires further attention. This blog will discuss common skull deformities in babies and the remedies available for them.
Types of Cranial Deformities in Babies
Babies’ heads are usually soft at birth to help them pass through the birth canal and take around 18 months to get fully formed. Cranial deformities can show up during this period as their skulls are still developing. The most common cranial deformities in babies are:
Positional plagiocephaly, also known as deformational plagiocephaly or flat head syndrome, is a condition in which specific areas of an infant's head develop an abnormally flattened shape and appearance. It’s often caused by the baby consistently lying on its back. But in rare cases, especially multiple or premature births, positional plagiocephaly can occur at birth depending on the baby’s position in the womb.
How is positional plagiocephaly treated?
There are no preventive measures you can take to prevent the flat head syndrome. The pressure of birth can make newborns have unusually shaped heads. In some cases, the condition can resolve itself within six weeks.
There are also other techniques you can use to correct positional plagiocephaly. They include:
It’s advisable to discuss the pros and cons of using a custom-made cranial helmet with a baby cranial specialist.
Find a plagiocephaly treatment center near you.
Torticollis refers to a tight muscle on one side of the neck. It’s a condition that causes the baby to hold his/ her neck to one side and results in positional head deformity. The tilted neck position can cause changes to the child’s face and head shape over time.
Torticollis is also referred to as a wryneck. The condition is more likely to occur in firstborn children and the primary cause is unknown. It might happen from being cramped inside the uterus or in an unusual position (such as being in the breech position). Other causes include:
Physical, ultrasound, or heat therapy are often used to help correct abnormal neck positions. A neck collar can also help in correcting a wry neck. But in rare cases, the baby may require surgery to treat torticollis.
Craniosynostosis is a birth defect in which the bones in a baby’s skull join together too early. It occurs when one or more sutures close before the brain is fully formed. Sutures are the junctions between the bones that make up the skull. The types of craniosynostosis depend on what sutures join together early.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in every 2,500 babies in the US is born with craniosynostosis.
Early suture closure can cause the skull to grow in an unusual shape. It can restrict the growth of the skull and harm brain development. It can also lead to other problems depending on which sutures are closed, whether they closed before or after birth (and at what age), and whether or not the brain has room to grow.
Signs and Symptoms of Craniosynostosis
Craniosynostosis can be diagnosed as soon as a baby is born (when it occurs before birth) even though some might be diagnosed later. The most apparent symptom of craniosynostosis is an abnormally shaped head.
When the condition restricts the growth of the skull, it may lead to pressure building inside the baby’s skull. Signs of high pressure may include:
Learn More About Cranial Deformities in Babies
There are many contributing factors to cranial deformities in babies. Being aware of things that can affect your baby’s normal growth and development is important to parents. Align Clinic provides head and skull assessment using the latest technology and advises on the right treatment.
Have any questions or concerns about cranial deformities in babies?
Get in touch with a baby cranial specialist today.
Having your child get diagnosed with pectus carinatum can be a frightening experience. The disease can take a toll on you and your child’s mental state.
Bracing and other medical interventions can be used to remedy pectus carinatum.
What is Pectus Carinatum?
Pectus carinatum (or pigeon chest) is a structural malformation of the chest wall in which the sternum or ribcage protrudes outwards. Pectus carinatum affects 1 in 1000 teens, and many noninvasive treatment options are available with early detection.
What Are the Symptoms of Pectus Carinatum?
The breastbone pushing outward is typically the first symptom a person experiences. However, pectus carinatum symptoms evolve as a child develops and matures. Symptoms in infants can include:
There are two types of pectus carinatum:
The precise cause of pectus carinatum is unknown. The cartilage connecting the ribs develops abnormally, which leads to pectus carinatum. Sometimes pectus carinatum happens after cardiac surgery.
The high percentage of patients with a family history of a chest wall defect or deformity--estimates range from 25 to 33%—suggests a genetic component.
Pectus carinatum can occur in people with conditions like Noonan and Marfan syndrome.
How Is Pectus Carinatum Diagnosed?
Normal diagnosis of pectus carinatum occurs throughout the teenage years when growth is accelerated. It can be noticed as early as age 10, peaking at 16 and 18 for both men and women, respectively.
Your child’s physician can diagnose pectus carinatum during a physical medical examination. Further CT scans can be taken to calculate the depth of the chest. The doctor can detect scoliosis and other bone abnormalities with x-rays, electrocardiograms, and echocardiograms.
How to Treat Pectus Carinatum
There are three treatment options for pectus carinatum, depending on the severity of the condition. These include:
1. Non-surgical Correction
The first line of treatment is orthotic braces since they frequently yield satisfactory outcomes. Bracing can treat young children with flexible chests and can receive treatment for mild to moderate forms of pectus carinatum.
Depending on the manufacturer and the degree of the chest wall protrusion, the braces are worn by the patient for between 14 and 24 hours every day, either under or over their clothing. As your child grows, it might need to be changed regularly. The brace gradually reshapes the chest wall by applying pressure to the projecting cartilage and breastbone.
Once the chest bones have fully developed, bracing is no longer as effective. Your child's doctor might suggest a surgical procedure in this situation or if your child is unable to or refuses to adhere to the demanding bracing schedule.
2. Surgical Correction
A procedure known as the Ravitch can be used to repair pectus carinatum surgically. The chest wall is elevated during this invasive operation, and the distorted cartilage is removed after creating an incision in the front chest wall.
A metal bar is inserted through the incision and secured to the ribs using metal plates. The bar is left in the chest wall for six months to keep the proper shape. During this period, your child must avoid contact sports that could lead to a collision.
3. Cosmetic Concealment
Some adult patients who choose not to seek medical therapy for correction turn to bodybuilding to sculpt the muscles surrounding the protruding chest wall in a way that lessens its appearance.
Although this doesn't change the deformity, it can boost confidence and self-esteem. Breast augmentation has also been done on female patients to change the morphological characteristics of the chest and conceal the pectus carinatum.
Together We Can Defeat Pectus Carinatum
Some children and teenagers have a rare chest wall malformation called pectus carinatum, which may be inherited. The breastbone protrudes outward rather than lying flat on the chest wall, which indicates abnormal chest wall development.
Using a chest brace, children with pectus carinatum have excellent prognoses. Braces can frequently be used to improve the sternum's external appearance. Surgery may be required in some severe circumstances to fix the deformity.
Align Clinic has expert orthotists trained not only in pectus carinatum bracing but also are well aware of the psychological toll it can take on your child. They’ve vast experience helping hundreds of patients like your child in their journey to recovery from pectus carinatum.
Call us today to book an appointment with one of our doctors.
What Is a Pectus Carinatum Brace?
This is a lightweight tailor-made brace that surrounds the chest and applies pressure to the protruding front chest.
How Does a Pectus Carinatum Brace Work?
The Pectus Carinatum brace pushes the breastbone back to its proper place.
How Long Do Kids Need to Wear the Brace?
While some children will require a brace for longer, most children wear them for six months to a year. They can typically take it off for activities like sports and showers, but they typically have to wear it for at least eight hours each day.
Are There Any Problems With Wearing a Brace?
The brace usually has no negative effects. Sometimes the skin beneath it can become a little inflamed and red. Usually, this fades away on its own.
How Can You Help Your Child With Wearing a Brace?
Most children adjust to wearing their brace well. Nonetheless, some kids find it difficult. Parents can work with their kids to come up with solutions. Children self-conscious about wearing the brace can cover it with a baggy shirt or limit its use to sleeping.
Knee orthotics is an increasingly popular solution for managing knee pain and disability. They support and stabilize the knee joint, helping people with various conditions, from mild discomfort to more severe issues.
Numerous factors, such as age, lifestyle, and underlying medical conditions, can cause knee pain. That often significantly impacts daily activities.
Knee orthotics can manage knee pain and help people return to daily activities. This article will provide all the information you require regarding knee orthotics so that you can choose the best course of action.
What is a Knee Orthotic?
A knee orthotic is a device used to support, protect, and improve the function of the knee joint. These devices are custom-made to fit each patient's unique needs and provide stability and comfort while helping to reduce pain or disability caused by knee issues.
They’re typically made from a combination of plastic, foam, and fabric materials and come in various styles to support different needs. They can be worn on either side of the joint, with some models including a built-in cushioning system to help reduce pressure and strain on the knee joint.
What Conditions Can Knee Orthotics Help?
Knee orthotics can manage many medical conditions, providing support and stability to the knee joint. These devices can help reduce pain and discomfort, improve the range of motion, and maximize the effectiveness of physical therapy.
Knee orthotics can benefit the following common conditions:
Knee orthotics come in various styles, each designed to provide specific support for the knee joint. The common types are:
1. Sleeve-style Orthotics
These orthotics slip over the knee like a sleeve. They allow for a full range of motion and gently compress and support the knee joint. They’re lightweight and can be worn under clothing for discreet use during activities.
The sleeve-style orthotics are best for mild to moderate knee pain, providing minimal immobilization and cushioning.
2. Strap-style Orthotics
Strap-style orthotics are designed to offer low-profile support for knee pain. They use straps to stabilize the joint and provide additional cushioning where needed. These braces are discreet and easy to remove when needed.
They can help with mild to moderate cases of knee instability or pain, as well as after surgery and injury. They also provide a comfortable, supportive fit that won't restrict movement.
3. Wraparound Orthotics
Wraparound orthotics are ideal if you need extra support and stability for your knee. They use two adjustable straps that wrap around the knee, providing a secure fit and extra cushioning. The straps are also adjustable to customize the level of support needed.
These orthotics can provide support for moderate to severe knee pain or instability. They’re also perfect for motion-intensive activities like sports or running. For those who lead active lifestyles, they’re a great option because they’re cozy and easy to use.
Wraparound orthotics are also durable and lightweight, making them an excellent long-term option for managing chronic knee pain or instability.
4. Unloader Orthotics
Unloader braces take pressure off the knee joint, relieving pain and discomfort. They use adjustable straps to provide a customized fit and support for the knee joint.
These orthotics help manage moderate to severe pain caused by osteoarthritis or other knee joint conditions. The adjustable straps give the knee more stability and comfort, which helps to alleviate pain and discomfort. They also help prevent further damage to the joint by removing pressure.
5. Open Patellar Orthotics
Open patellar orthotics are designed to support and cushion the knee joint. They have an open kneecap (patella) area, providing extra cushioning and stabilization. As they ease the strain on the joint, these braces can also relieve pain.
They provide a secure fit, adjustable straps, and extra cushioning that can help relieve pain and discomfort. Plus, they’re lightweight and discreet, so you can wear them under clothing without anyone knowing.
Choosing the Best Knee Knee Orthotic for You
A suitable orthotic device can make a big difference when managing knee pain and instability. The key is finding the best brace for your individual needs. These are steps to find the perfect fit:
1. Determine the Pain or Injury Level
While choosing a knee brace, it is essential to consider your unique requirements. Consider the level of pain or instability you’re experiencing and any other factors that may influence it, such as prior injuries or health conditions.
2. Know Braces are Made for Specific Conditions
Different braces are designed for different conditions. Research and ask your orthotist questions about the brace to ensure it will meet your needs.
3. Consult an Orthotist
An orthotist is a professional who specializes in fitting braces and orthotics. They’ll assess your knee condition and recommend which braces are best for you.
4. Choose the Right Knee Brace for You
Once you’ve consulted with an orthotist and identified the right brace, ensure it fits properly and is comfortable. That’ll ensure that you get the most out of your knee brace.
Take the First Step Toward Pain Relief
Knee orthotics can significantly reduce pain, improve mobility and maintain an active lifestyle. With the correct information, you can decide about your treatment options.
At Align Clinic, we are here to help you select the right option for your needs. Call us today, and we’ll guide you toward the best solution to your knee pain.
Scoliosis is a condition that occurs when one or more of the spinal vertebrae curves are out of place. The term “scoliosis” derives from the ancient Greek word “skolios” meaning crooked or curved. It changes the spine’s shape and alignment, which may result in discomfort and pain.
Scoliosis is the most common spinal disorder in children and adolescents. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), it affects about 5.2 percent of children and young adults. It’s more prevalent in girls than boys.
The disorder can be classified as idiopathic (meaning it has no known cause) or secondary to another condition, such as obesity or osteoporosis. With scoliosis, as with many other medical conditions, the earlier it is caught and treated, the better the chance for a successful outcome.
This article will discuss the importance of an early diagnosis and treatment for scoliosis. Let’s start by looking at the different types of scoliosis:
Types of Scoliosis
There are four main types of scoliosis:
1. Idiopathic scoliosis
Idiopathic scoliosis is when there is no obvious reason for the condition. It can include cases of congenital or postural, or structural type.
2. Structural Scoliosis
Structural-type scoliosis involves a defect in the spine that causes it to bend, twist, and/or kink over time. It can be caused by trauma (such as an accident), genetics, or congenital disabilities such as spina bifida.
3. Postural Scoliosis
Postural types of scoliosis occur when the body's ability to correct itself slowly weakens over time due to injury or illness; this may cause one side of the spine to curve more than another side due to its position in relation to other joints throughout your body's structure (i..e., hips).
Kyphoscoliosis refers specifically to those who suffer from curvature along their thoracic area. It may also refer specifically to those with curvature along their lower back area.
What Are The Symptoms of Scoliosis?
A scoliosis patient may have a visible spine curvature on chest height (anterior) X-rays. This kind of curve is called "lateral" or "dorsal" because it runs along the side where it curves rather than down towards the feet, as would happen if someone had flat feet (posterior). In some cases, there will also be pain and tightness in muscles around joints near these areas where they're most likely located.
While scoliosis is often a silent disease, there are common early symptoms you can look out for and take steps. They include:
How is Scoliosis Diagnosed?
A doctor can diagnose scoliosis by examining the patient’s spine, looking at X-rays, or performing a scan. If someone has a spinal deformity or has curves in the spine greater than 5 degrees, then it may be time to get a diagnosis.
Some people with scoliosis may not need any medical treatment at all and will just live with their condition for the rest of their lives.
However, some people may need surgery to correct the curve or even a full spinal fusion (where bones are fused together). Surgery is usually recommended if scoliosis causes pain from excessive pressure on nerves in the lower back area or legs while walking or sitting down too long.
Complications of Untreated or Improperly Treated Scoliosis
If untreated, scoliosis can lead to:
How Can Early Scoliosis Diagnosis and Intervention Help?
Early diagnosis and intervention for Scoliosis can greatly improve a child’s health and confidence.
As a progressive condition, scoliosis is one of the most common childhood disorders. If left untreated, this condition may cause permanent damage to your child's spine, affecting their ability to walk or sit comfortably throughout life.
Unfortunately, many parents are unaware of this fact until it's too late: by then, it's already too late for treatment options such as surgery or physical therapy. And even then, there may be complications such as pain or breathing difficulty after surgery.
Early diagnosis and intervention for scoliosis can improve your child's quality of life today and make sure it doesn't get worse.
If your child has back pain and abdominal cramping, it's important to get them evaluated by a doctor. There are many types of scoliosis, so it's best if you see an expert who can determine if this is the type of scoliosis your child has or not. The sooner you start treatment for scoliosis, the better!
Treatments for Scoliosis
Treatment for scoliosis depends on your age, how severe the curve is, and whether it's likely to get worse with time. Most patients don’t need any treatment; only a tiny number ever need spinal surgery.
For babies and toddlers, the condition may improve over time. At best, they may need a scoliosis brace fitted to their back to prevent the curve from worsening as they grow. Older children may also need to wear a brace until they stop growing, but sometimes need surgery to control the growth of the spine until an operation to straighten it can be done.
Adult scoliosis patients occasionally need surgery to correct the curve, and a doctor may prescribe painkillers and spinal injections to relieve the pain.
Physical exercise can also help improve scoliosis, but it’s advisable to consult a doctor on the correct type of exercise.
Need more information on how to deal with scoliosis? Reach out to our scoliosis experts today.
What would life be like without an arm or a leg? It would make most of your daily routines difficult or impossible. That’s the reality for approximately 1.7 million Americans. They can use artificial body parts to regain the functions of the missing limb.
Prosthetics, commonly called artificial limbs, allow amputees to regain the normal functions of lost limbs. If you’ve watched someone with a prosthetic limb engage in day-to-day activities or participate in sports, you might have marveled at how prosthetics work. In this article, we’ll look at the basics of prosthetics, the different types of prosthetics, and how they work.
First, let’s look at the various orthopedic and congenital conditions that may lead to a need for prosthetics, especially in children.
Pediatric Orthotics and Prosthetic Services
Various conditions can lead to your child needing prosthetics. Some of the most common conditions are:
Types of Prosthetics
Prosthetics are usually classified according to the level of amputation: above the knee, below the knee, above the elbow, and below the elbow. There are four main types of prosthetic limbs. They include:
What are Prosthetic Limbs Made of?
A wide variety of prosthetics are designed to suit patients' varying needs. But they should be lightweight, durable, and easily attachable to the body.
Several plastics, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, acrylics, and polyurethane are usually used in making prosthetics. Other lightweight materials used are carbon fiber, aluminum, and titanium.
There are electronic prosthetics that also have rechargeable batteries.
Additionally, many leg amputees wear silicone liners between their residual limb and sockets. The sockets are usually made from thermoplastics and are tested periodically for comfort and fit.
Prosthetic limbs are usually suspended using suction systems or by a harness, depending on the level of amputation and type of prosthetic. Many prosthetic limbs rely on a sock (for legs) or sleeve (for arms) to improve socket suction and help with fit and skin protection.
For body-powered prosthetic arms, the harnesses are made from leather and attached to the cables that control arm movements. The harnesses can also be made from artificial materials. But the hooks to the cables are typically made of stainless steel.
How Prosthetic Limbs Work
For prosthetics to serve their purpose and improve the quality of life of amputees, they need to fit right and function well. There are three main components that ensure a prosthetic limb is a good fit:
1. The Socket
This is the part that fits into the end of the real limb. A patient wears a layer of prosthetic socks to ensure the socket fits snugly. If not fit well, the socket can cause irritation and even damage to the skin tissues.
2. The Pylon
The pylon is the internal frame of the prosthetic limb. It’s also referred to as the skeleton. The purpose of the pylon is to provide structural support to the prosthetic limb. It’s usually made from lightweight carbon-fiber composite rods. Then a foam cover, matched to the skin tone of the patient to look more like a real limb, can be put over the pylon.
3. The Suspension System
This is the part that keeps the prosthetic limb attached to the body of the patient. Suction is the most common type of suspension system, but straps can also be used. An airtight seal is then used to keep the prosthetic limb snugly fitted to the residual limb.
What You Should Know Before Getting a Prosthetic Limb
While many amputees would do well with a prosthetic limb, not everyone with limb loss is a good candidate for prosthetic limbs. Some of the factors you should consider before getting a prosthetic limb include:
Making a Prosthetic Limb Work for You
If you need to get a prosthetic limb, working with a licensed and certified prosthetist is essential. Our team of experts will help restore your mobility and improve your quality of life. Reach out for questions regarding prosthetic limbs. Call us today.
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