Bracing may be the non-surgical approach to treat idiopathic scoliosis so far proven. Yet, exercise is also a reliable method to keep your back flexible. It keeps the spine strong and encourages excellent posture.
This article will look into the following:
What Is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is the lateral spine curvature, most often affecting teenagers. This disease may develop in adults who have cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. Most cases of juvenile scoliosis, however, have unclear causes.
Scoliosis is usually moderate, although certain curvatures increase when children grow older. Scoliosis can lead to disability in children. In severe cases, the curvature of the spine reduces the space in the chest. The lungs could stop working correctly.
Mild scoliosis patients are generally followed by regular X-rays. This is for assessing whether the curvature is worsening. In many circumstances, there is no need for therapy or to wear a scoliosis brace designed by an orthotist.
However, doctors may recommend that a child wear a Kid's scoliosis brace to prevent the curvature from getting worse. Whereas adults must wear a scoliosis adult brace. Others could need surgery to correct extreme spine curvature.
Scoliosis manifests itself in diverse ways but here are the common scoliosis symptoms:
Scoliosis may lead to more obvious abnormalities like
Patients with scoliosis often feel self-conscious about their appearance. Especially when the case has worsened, they need to wear a brace.
Doctors aren't sure what causes prevalent scoliosis cases. The disease, however, relates to inherited factors. Most times, the condition runs in families. There are other known causes for scoliosis, including:
The following factors can put you at risk for scoliosis:
For patients with scoliosis, the goal of exercise and physical therapy is to relieve pain and improve posture. Your doctor or physical therapist can devise an exercise program for you. You’ll probably do a series of stretches and strengthening movements to help reverse the curve in your spine.
Here are the 4 scoliosis exercises that should be performed as often as possible or necessary:
The abdominal muscles will be strengthened because of this exercise. The exercise is best done on a mat.
The tendons and muscles supporting the spine get to be stretched with this workout.
This is a stretch that can help release the lat muscles to strengthen them. These might be feeling tight in scoliosis.
Scoliosis is a potentially harmful condition. It makes living more difficult, but finding relief might be simpler than you think.
Additionally, scoliosis poses different obstacles according to age and severity. Scoliosis is more than a physical problem. It might also influence mental health like the ability to take part in activities.
However, with the support of qualified specialists and minimally invasive non-surgical solutions like the exercises mentioned in this article, you can manage scoliosis and possibly avoid wearing a scoliosis brace.
Those who aren't candidates for surgery will always have these alternative options useful. Consult your doctor to determine if these exercises for strengthening the back are recommended for you or if you must see an orthotist.
You’re probably considering a foot brace as a treatment option for your child’s mobility issues. If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a complete guide on AFO treatment, orthotics types, and maintenance requirements for children’s AFO braces.
What is an AFO?
An ankle-foot orthosis or AFO is a brace that supports the lower limb. It’s designed for managing various conditions of the ankle and foot. Moreover, it helps regulate the alignment of joints, eases the physical functioning of the affected part, and gait correction.
What Are the Types of Orthotics?
Different types of orthotics are available in the market, each designed to address specific needs. Some of them allow movement, while others have a design that restricts movement. Your choice will depend on the nature and severity of the injury or disorder. . Let’s look at some of the most common AFOs.
1. Dynamic Ankle-Foot Orthosis
Called DAFO for short, these orthotics are slender, lightweight, and flexible. It’s used for treating conditions like spasms in the lower limb area in adults. Yet it can help children with clubfoot, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, and muscular dystrophy. Extensive trials and research shows that DAFOs improve motor skills among children.
2. Static Ankle-Foot Orthosis
It’s an AFO that immobilizes the ankle and foot completely — hence, it is also known as the rigid AFO or solid AFO. Podiatrists often prescribe these AFOs for children who have extreme pronation of the foot. Excessive pronation occurs when the foot's arch has fallen inwards or downwards.
3. Hinged Ankle-Foot Orthosis
Also called articulated AFOs, they enable free movement in the ankle region while stabilizing the foot. The adjustable hinge at the ankle can allow healthcare practitioners to set the required level of flexibility. Articulated AFOs are useful in treating conditions like flat feet but not suitable if your kid has diabetes.
Difference Between a Regular AFO and a Pediatric AFOs
Pediatric AFO's designs make them convenient for children. . For instance, they are big enough r to accommodate growth spurts and changes in the alignment values of the foot. The heel seats are deep, and the undercuts are reduced to better support kids’ foot architecture than regular AFO. Finally, there are colorful options that make them bright and fun.
When Does Your Child Need an AFO?Your podiatrist (foot doctor) may suggest AFO for your child if they identify any lower limb problems that affect the kid’s regular routine. Here are some common conditions that doctors often treat with AFOs.
1. Lower Limb Injury
AFOs promote healing in kids suffering from a fracture or sprain near the ankle region. Besides, it can also mitigate pain after a surgical procedure.
2. Cerebral Palsy
It’s a disorder that impacts the child’s ability to maintain balance and posture. In cerebral palsy, the brain struggles to communicate with the muscular structure, causing muscle cramps and involuntary movement of the body. AFOs give children with cerebral palsy the help to perform motor movements such as running and jumping.
3. Foot Drop
It’s a muscular condition in which your child might face difficulties raising the forefoot. A study conducted in Edinburgh’s Queen Margaret University shows that most patients with multiple sclerosis and foot drop who used AFOs saw improvement.
4. Hypotonia and Hypertonia
Hypotonia results in a loss of muscle mass, and hypertonia manifests as a high level of tension in muscles. . Although there is no conclusive evidence to show that AFOs are effective for children with hypertonia and hypotonia, the results are far better when AFOs are combined with physical therapy.
5. Spina Bifida
It’s a congenital condition in which the spinal cord is not developed correctly, leading to paralysis of the lower limbs. An AFO could improve gait and increase energy expenditure among children with spina bifida.
Tips for Maintaining Pediatric AFOs
Caring for a child's pediatric AFO is no more complicated than maintaining your favorite pair of shoes. Follow these tips to improve the efficacy and longevity of the device.
1. Clean It Regularly
Fortunately, cleaning an AFO isn’t a tedious task. You just have to apply liquid soap and rinse the device with clean water. It’s that simple. You can use a towel to pat dry or simply leave it under the fan. Don’t use other heat sources, such as hair-dryers and flat irons, as they can cause damage to the AFO.
2. Lubricate the Brace
If the AFO has metallic joints, you need to lubricate them periodically or, as suggested by your orthotist, to keep them in good condition.
3. Get It Checked Periodically
Get the orthotics checked up regularly. It’s essential to account for various factors like usage duration and wear & tear for course correction. That’s important for your kid's everyday lifestyle and could help speed up the healing process.
4. Inform Your Orthotist If There are Any Issues
The ankles need some time to adjust. At times, there are chances of getting redness around the skin, which should ideally disappear once your child gets used to the same. However, if there is persistent discomfort, pain, blisters, or other issues, consult your orthotist immediately. More importantly, avoid adjusting the brace yourself.
Choosing the Best AFO for Your Child
Your decision can make a profound difference in everyday life of your kid. The perfect AFO can help them participate in activities with other children. For them, this sense of freedom and support is quite liberating.
At Align Clinic, we focus on designing customized AFO braces for adults and children. To create the right treatment strategy based on your child’s condition, our well-qualified orthotics will assess and suggest whether to go for a standard pediatric AFO or a customized one. Please reach out to us to schedule a consultation with our experts.
Plagiocephaly, Brachycephaly, and Scaphocephaly: How Can Cranial Bands Help in Treating These Conditions?
Infants often have skull deformations due to a number of reasons. This is commonly known as flat head syndrome. But you don’t have to worry in most cases? Studies suggest that nearly all infants have a small degree of deformation in the skull.
On the other hand, when the deformation is beyond normal, it can lead to many developmental issues. It includes ADHD, ADD, issues with speech, slow motor movement, aversion to social interaction, and more.
These flat head syndromes are either congenital or acquired — based on whether they developed the condition in the womb or after birth. It is of three types:
1. Plagiocephaly: It’s the flattening of the skull’s back on the side. Typically, it’s a consequence of your baby lying on the back with its head exerting more pressure on one side. At times, it is seen when there isn’t enough fluid in the mother’s amniotic sac. The condition is more likely to occur if the baby is delivered prematurely or is having growth issues.
2. Brachycephaly: It’s the flattening of the skull’s back, and the cause is often linked to the baby lying on the back for long spells. Just like plagiocephaly, it can also occur if there aren’t enough amniotic sac fluids in the mother’s womb. At times, it occurs when there are two or more fetuses in the womb.
3. Scaphocephaly: This is the rarest of the three conditions. The skull’s side is fattened to create an elongation of sorts. It’s caused when the baby lays on its side for many hours in its initial months. Babies who are in the neonatal ICU for a long time tend to develop this condition since they spend a lot of time lying on their side. Although rare, it can also occur due to physical exertion when the baby is in the womb.
Now that we have an idea about flat head syndrome and the ways in which it develops, let’s look at the use of cranial bands to treat them.
When Does Your Baby Need a Cranial Band?
A cranial remolding helmet or a cranial band is called so because it is used to correct the cranium portion of the human brain. It’s worth noting that cranial bands and helmets are a bit different in their appearance and nature of use, but for the sake of the article, we’ll use them interchangeably.
A 2188 patient study conducted at Claude-Bernard University showed that by using a cranial helmet, nearly 4 in 5 babies with a severe flat head condition saw improvements. On the contrary, there are studies that show they don’t bring about any significant changes. Either way, using a cranial band will not harm your child’s growth in any way.
Tips to Make the Process Easier
As is the case with any medical device, there are a few good practices to be followed if your kid is going to wear a cranial helmet. Here are the most important ones.
1. Consult the Experts
Does the current plagiocephalic condition warrant a helmet? Do thorough research about your child’s condition and get them treated in the best possible manner. While you can consult blogs and other parents who went through the same process, your doctor’s advice should be given due importance. After all, it’s their medical expertise that is going to help your child’s flat head condition improve.
2. Make It Fun
Your child should want to wear a helmet. Give it a name, some colors, and a personality to it. Make it an enjoyable activity for them by playing their favorite music, reading a story they like, or simply by bringing out their favorite toy. When you start associating the helmet with positive things, your child will start doing the same.
3. Regular Maintenance
Remember, cranial helmets are not like your kid’s regular clothing. Clean any dirt on the helmet from time to time. It’s best to use your child’s soaps and shampoos to wash the helmet to avoid any allergic reactions. If you feel the helmet smells a lot, you can use scented baby products (ones made of tea tree oil and the likes). Finally, follow the instructions given by your orthotist.
4. Commit to the Process
Making an infant wear extra apparel is never going to be easy. So, brace yourself for all the struggle. Don’t stop using the helmet because it’s too inconvenient or yields social pressures. Ideally, your child should be wearing a cranial band for over 22 hours a day.
Your infant’s brain size doubles in size by their second birthday. So, even if you miss a single growth spurt, it will undo all the efforts of wearing the helmet. Meet your doctors and orthotists periodically. Based on developments happening in your child, they might want to change the process or make tweaks to the helmet.
If you’re not comfortable with the treatment prescribed by your doctors or orthotist, you can opt for physical therapy instead. Ensure that the therapist you approach is capable and has experience working with children. Whether it’s cranial helmets or physical therapy, focus on what’s best for the child while keeping your beliefs and social pressures aside.
Looking for the ideal infant cranial band for your child? Contact us at Align Clinic. With the help of skilled doctors and brilliant medical engineering minds, we’ll take care of your pediatric orthosis needs in the best possible manner. Meet us at a clinic near you today.
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