The full-back orthosis or the TLSO brace is an orthotic treatment for a variety of spinal issues.
Although these days the brace is rather common and you’ll see people of all ages wearing it, it’s still a bit daunting for first-time users who have several questions about it.
If you’re new to TLSO then keep reading as we explore its types, indications, and other FAQs. By the end of this post, I trust that you’ll know all the basic information about this orthosis and that’ll make wearing the brace much easier for you.
What is The TLSO Brace?
The Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis [TLSO] is a corrective brace that covers the entire back, from below the chin or the collar bone down to your pelvis.
It’s made of a plastic material with foam and padding inside so that it’s comfortable to wear. The TLSO brace is fitted for your body and it applies pressure and provides stabilization to the back.
This brace is for the entire back but your Orthotist can prescribe the brace for specific segments of your spine as well. Such braces are named according to the regions they support. So the brace that only covers the thoracic spine [mid back] and the lumbar spine [low back] is called a Thoracic- Lumbar Brace [TLO].
There are several brace designs; some are one-piece with an opening on the front or the back while others are two-piece braces called clamp-shell style that come together by straps on the sides.
TLSO Brace Types
The two main categories of this brace are off-the-shelf or prefabricated brace and custom TLSO brace. Your waist measurements are used to determine the size for the premade ones. And your Orthotist makes the custom brace based on a mold or exact measurements of your body.
Here are some types of the spinal brace:
1. Boston Brace
The Boston brace is the most widely used TLSO brace for scoliosis patients today. It’s prefabricated and comes in many different sizes. The Orthotist matches the brace according to each patient's abnormal curvatures.
2. Wilmington Brace
The Wilmington brace is a customized scoliosis brace. Its pressure points are designed according to the specific patient and it doesn’t have open slots or relief areas as seen in the Boston brace.
3. Knight Taylor TLSO
This brace is different from the other TLSO braces because it usually only has rigid support on the back while the front is a cloth-like material to hold the back frame tight. However, some variations of the Knight Taylor brace do come with chest support/pad.
It’s used to stabilize fractures or injuries.
Indications for Prescribing the TLSO Brace
The TLSO is mostly prescribed to fix lateral curvatures of the spine in Scoliosis. But it’s also used to correct postural issues, stabilize your back after an injury, surgery, or a degenerative condition.
Some of the TLSO brace indications include:
Patients just beginning to use the TLSO have several questions about what they can expect down the line. Based on our experience with back brace clients, here’re some of the FAQs:
1. How Long Should I Wear the TLSO Brace?
The brace is worn for 18-23 hours a day. You have to keep it on while sitting, standing, and doing your daily activities. Some of the braces are required to be worn while laying in bed as well.
Your Orthotist is the best person who can tell you the exact duration you have to wear it based on your condition. Most scoliotic patients wear it for several months to a year and a half.
2. How Can I Clean the TLSO Brace?
The different parts of the brace are cleaned separately. You can wash the cloth straps with mild detergent and water, the plastic with mild soap and water, and clean the leather portion with a damp cloth.
Don’t use strong cleaners or detergents on the brace. And always ensure it’s completely dry before putting it back on.
3. Can I Wear the TLSO Brace While Exercising or Being Otherwise Physically Active?
Yes, since you’ve got to wear the brace all day you can exercise with it as well.
Each brace has some limitations that your doctor can tell you about. Generally, it’s recommended not to lift heavy weights more than five pounds or perform exercises that’ll make you excessively sweaty.
4. How Much Does TLSO Cost?
The TLSO brace cost is dependent on various factors such as materials used, customizations, and production company. An off-the-shelf brace can cost an average of $1000-2000 while a custom TLSO brace can be over $5,000.
There are other costs involved in TLSO care such as screenings, lab tests, scans, and doctor’s office visits.
Insurance plans do cover most of the cost. You should check with your insurance provider to get an estimate of how much will be covered in your case.
5. How Will the TLSO Brace Affect My Skin?
Some redness on the pressure areas is normal and it’s nothing to worry about as long as it’s resolved once you take the brace off and the region isn’t painful or tender. Wearing a T-shirt helps avoid friction between the brace and skin and it keeps the skin healthy by absorbing perspiration as well.
You should contact your Orthotist in case of skin breakdown or if you develop a bruise because that’s an indication that your orthosis needs to be refitted.
Find a TLSO Expert Near You You’ve got to remember several details and tips about cleaning, maintenance, donning, and doffing when using the TLSO brace so that you can fully benefit from it. For that, you need qualified Orthotists who can guide you through this challenging process.
Book an appointment with our Orthotist or visit our clinic near you to get a brace fitted for your back. Our multidisciplinary teams can answer all your questions and help you get started with the best TLSO for your needs!
It provides external support to the foot and helps resolve numerous deformities in pediatrics.
This article is for anyone who’s new to the world of foot orthoses. We’ve been making orthoses and training patients in using them for many years now and here’s the information we share with patients and parents during our preliminary meetings.
1. What Is DAFO?
The dynamic ankle-foot orthosis is a modification of the rigid AFO.
Its working mechanism is different from the classic version in the sense that it gives you more freedom to move hence you have more active muscle training while staying in a safe range of ankle motion.
The DAFO brace is made of a thin and flexible thermoplastic material that is strong enough to support the body weight and also to provide control to the foot to maintain neutral alignment.
You can get a custom-fitted DAFO or one off-the-shelve. The cost of the two versions will vary and you won’t always get your preferred designs or graphics on the prefabricated one.
2. Who Is the DAFO Brace For?
The DAFO is for people- adults and kids alike- who need extra support maintaining the correct posture of their feet and ankle. Although the AFO does the same thing, the dynamic brace is for such candidates who need minimal support.
Some more indications for prescribing a DAFO include:
However, that doesn’t mean adults can’t benefit from these at all. DAFOs for adults are mostly prescribed to provide additional external support during walking after injury or surgery.
It’s used by the elderly suffering from degenerative joint conditions, drop foot and ankle instability.
The muscle weakness in old age makes the ankle vulnerable to twisting injuries, especially while walking on uneven surfaces. The orthosis provides ease of mind to the elderly and improves their confidence in walking independently.
3. Benefits of DAFO
The DAFO brace is helpful not only in walking but also in preventing contractures and supporting the ankle and surrounding structures during rest. Here’re some benefits of dynamic ankle orthosis:
That facilitates skill training sessions with the physical therapists because it increases active patient participation.
4. Complications of DAFO
The dynamic AFO comes with some avoidable complications and side effects along with the many benefits. Faulty and ill-fitting orthosis are the primary culprits of causing complications. That’s why you should never use lower quality orthosis.
Some common complications include:
You should contact your Orthotist’s clinic at once if you face any complications and they’ll help you sort out the issues.
5. How’s the DAFO Brace Different From a Rigid AFO?
Since the dynamic AFO and the rigid AFO [R-AFO] cover the same regions of the leg, it’s good to know how the two are different.
The R-AFO improves balance and provides excellent support by holding the ankle in one position and not giving room for any motion.
But not all patients need the same level of stability and so a DAFO fixes this issue with its flexible nature by allowing sufficient movements while also providing necessary support.
The various types of AFO are prescribed for different conditions and the expected outcomes also vary.
Duration for adjustment to the orthosis, training styles and the effects on your body are also different for the DAFO brace and the R-AFO.
Reach Out to Our DAFO Experts
Getting a well-fitted DAFO brace for yourself or your kid doesn’t have to be a difficult process. You just need to find the right team that’ll take care of all the technical aspects of it and train you to properly use the orthosis.
We’ve got several clinics all over the USA with certified Orthotists in each one. You can book an appointment or walk into our office near you to get a consultation for your dynamic orthosis.
With years of experience in dealing with patients of all ages and conditions, we’re sure that we can help you with whatever you need related to orthosis and prosthetics.
Rehabilitation after amputation is a long and laborious process. Generally speaking, the fewer joints that are lost in the amputation, the easier the rehab is.
A below-knee [BKA] prosthesis rehab is a difficult process. There are numerous items to check before prescribing the prosthesis such as the condition of soft tissues on the residual limb, range of motion, and mobility goals to name a few.
It’s best to know what you’re getting into before you begin the rehab program. This article covers the top five things you should be prepared for during your prosthesis rehabilitation.
What Is the BKA Prosthesis Rehab?
The below-knee prosthesis rehab is a specialized program to get amputees back to regular functioning with their new prosthetic leg.
It involves re-learning to walk, run, pick up objects from the floor and return to life as much as possible!
There are distinctive protocols to follow for the various types of lower limb prostheses. Some of the commonly used prostheses types include the preparatory prosthesis, total surface or the patella tendon weight-bearing prosthesis, and sports prosthesis for athletes and runners.
The rehab begins with counseling and physical assessment and ends with the patient being completely independent in performing his or her daily activities.
In the beginning, the main portion of the rehab is conducted at the clinics under a professional Prosthetist’s supervision.
As you progress and get better at balancing yourself and understanding the techniques, your appointments with the physical therapists [PTs] are spaced out and you’re given more tasks to do at home.
Overview of BKA Prosthesis Rehab The rehab begins soon after the amputation surgery or after you get your first prosthesis fitted.
The process looks different for each person but some general guidelines can help you prepare for what’s next.
Here’re five things you should expect from a BKA prosthesis rehab:
1. A Multidisciplinary Rehab Team
Your BKA prosthesis rehab team primarily has Prosthetists and physical therapists but physicians, nurses, and psychologists will also be a part of your multidisciplinary team.
Your rehab doesn’t only mean training you to walk independently. Rather it also involves helping you emotionally cope with the change, getting your entire body adjusted to the prosthesis, and keeping an eye on the internal body systems.
For that, an entire team of experts is required.
Your physical therapist will also recommend support groups and community rehab sessions where you’ll interact with other patients going through a similar rehab program.
2. BKA Prosthesis Rehab Will be Ongoing
The BKA prosthesis rehab process is a long one.
Initially, you’ll need a cane or a walker to assist you in walking on your prosthesis. After sufficient rehab, you can reach a point where you no longer need assistive devices and you can easily walk on your legs but that’s not where the rehab journey ends.
You should get comfortable with the fact that the below-knee prosthesis rehab will be ongoing for months.
You won’t need aggressive pain management treatments or hour-long gait training once you’re past the initial phase, but you’ll need to come in for regular checkups for your stump and the prosthesis to make sure that your leg is in good operating condition.
How long it’ll take varies from patient to patient; so you should ask your physical therapist for the estimated time.
3. The Rehab Depends on Your Level of Activity
The BKA prosthesis rehab is highly customized to each patient and it depends on what your daily routine is like.
So before beginning the rehab, your physical therapist will conduct a detailed assessment of your activities, functions, endurance levels and gait pattern then set up your goals and expected outcomes.
The rehab is designed differently for different people. For example, there’ll be higher intensity and fast-tracked programs for the relatively young and active adults or veterans as compared to the elderly or chronically ill patients.
So don’t be alarmed if your rehab program isn’t the same as someone else’s, even if the two cases look the same to you. PTs are experts in physical rehab and they’ll develop a program best suited to your needs.
4. It’s Going to Be Painful
You should brace yourself for a physically, mentally, and emotionally draining journey.
Re-learning to walk and to do all the things that you did before takes effort, time and a lot of strength. You’ll deal with issues related to your stump, sweating, prosthesis damage, and phantom limb pain.
The good news is that it’ll get better with suitable pain management protocols. And with the right team of Prosthetists and PTs, you’ll be on the other side sooner than later. But the process will test your limits and unfortunately, there’s no avoiding that.
5. Rehab Continues Outside the Clinic as Well
You’ll spend a few hours at most at the PT clinic. After that, the rest of the rehab is continued at home.
Your doctors and PTs will give you a few tasks to do at home; such as home exercises for strength, stretching, weight shifting maneuvers, massaging the stump, and a pain management routine.
There’ll be several precautions to follow as well and these’re just as critical as the active exercises. Your BKA prosthesis rehab will be a full-time job in the beginning, and then it’ll become a part of your routine as time goes on.
We Offer Expert BKA Prosthesis Rehab
These are some of the general things you can expect from a rehab program. But it’s good to remember that each person has a unique experience and you shouldn’t compare your progress or program with anyone else’s.
We’ve got an experienced team for BKA prosthesis rehab. With us, you’ll have access to various experts under one roof because we’ve got Prosthetists, physical therapists, nurses and more all working in the same clinics.
Reach out to us if you’ve got a new prosthesis fitted for your lower limb or if you want a customized rehab program to improve your activity level.
Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) affects millions of people worldwide. To date, there’s no cure for OA so medical professionals prescribe palliative care to patients who’re diagnosed with osteoarthritis.
The knee brace is a commonly used treatment for KOA. Your Orthotist can prescribe you one based on your symptoms, severity of the disease and a few other factors.
In this article, we’ll discuss five scientifically proven benefits of using knee orthosis for osteoarthritis.
A Bit About the Osteoarthritis of the KneeOsteoarthritis (OA) is a degenerative condition that often appears in weight-bearing joints of the older populations. The knee joint is the most common area for OA.
It’s caused by a loss of the joint cartilage, wear and tear of the joints, obesity, metabolic causes or as a consequence of trauma. Repeated stress on the joint such as that due to running or playing aggressive contact sports is also a major contributing factor for knee osteoarthritis.
KOA usually appears after the age of 45 and patients can manage the condition for several years before needing knee replacement surgery.
However, the cumulative stress over the years can increase the severity of OA at onset or decrease the effectiveness of conventional treatments.
The main symptoms include moderate or severe pain in and around the knee joint, difficulty in walking, loss of range of motion, stiffness and cracking sounds whenever you move the joint.
Your doctor confirms the diagnosis based on the X-ray results. The severity of knee OA is categorized in four grades according to the level of joint space loss; with grade 1 being minor loss and grade 4 being the most severe.
Benefits of Using Knee Orthosis for Osteoarthritis of the KneeUsing a knee orthosis for OA reduces the need for a total knee replacement (TKR) surgery later on. Medical research concluded that using the brace decreases the need for opioids and pain-relieving injections, which is a win for patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
There’re several other benefits of using knee orthosis, some of which include:
Since knee osteoarthritis is caused by a decrease in the natural joint space due to articular cartilage loss, this separation created by the brace increases comfort levels and also protects the joint structures from further damage due to excessive articular contact stress.
A knee brace helps shift the weight away from the region of highest contact, thus reducing the pain.
The knee joint is divided into the medial and the lateral portions and most patients have OA in one of these compartments [called unicompartmental knee OA]. At this stage, offloading the most damaged area with a knee orthosis decreases pain and improves the ability to walk.
In such cases, a knee orthosis such as a hinged brace or a polypropylene knee sleeve provides three-dimensional external support to compensate for the loss of internal stability.
It’s also worn as a preventive measure to reduce wobbling of the knee during walking or standing.
Hence using the knee orthosis directly contributes to reduced disability due to osteoarthritis. Your muscle strength improves as a result of the increased weight-bearing activities you can perform while wearing a brace as compared to without one.
Knee orthosis also improves the range of motion and the rate of bending [flexion] and extension of the knee during walking.
A knee orthosis corrects the knee alignment by providing stability and a medially or laterally directed force to counter the misalignment during walking.
That improves the gait pattern of patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
Types of Knee Orthosis for Osteoarthritis There’re different types of knee orthosis for the various severity levels of knee osteoarthritis. Your Orthotist is the best judge to decide which orthosis can help you the most.
Here’re the three most common knee orthoses for osteoarthritis:
If your osteoarthritis is located in the medial compartment then your Orthotist will prescribe you the Valgus unloading brace to shift the bodyweight to the lateral side, which is the less damaged compartment.
The offloading brace is made of rigid plastic with foam padding, steel struts and belts for added support.
They’re made of polypropylene and also provide a compression force to the region. That’s done to reduce the swelling associated with osteoarthritis.
In this model, the hinge is placed at the level of the knee with the straps above and below the joint. Low-grade evidence suggests that it improves walking posture and fixes malalignment.
Final Words Technology and medical research have improved the quality and variety of knee orthosis for osteoarthritis.
If you suffer from knee pain due to OA, then visit our clinic and get an orthosis fitted for your joint. Our certified Orthotists can identify your functional limitations and prescribe you the knee orthosis perfect for your needs.
Being told that your child needs an orthosis is difficult to hear for any parent. But learning about the brace, how it works and what it helps with can ease the transition to accepting the diagnosis.
The SMO brace is safe for kids to use. It’s small enough to go inside the shoe and comfortable enough for your kid to walk, run and play in the jungle gym with it.
At our clinic, we regularly meet with patients who need the SMO brace. And we also educate the parents on everything they need to know about this orthosis.
If you’re new to this term then keep reading for valuable information on Supramalleolar orthosis that caregivers should know!
What Is the SMO Brace?
SMO or the Supramalleolar orthosis are braces that support the foot and ankle region. We’ve talked about AFOs before and the SMO is very similar to that, but this brace is much smaller than the Ankle Foot Orthosis and ends just above the ankle.
1. The Structure of the SMO brace
The Supramalleolar orthosis is made of a mixture of different materials, same as the AFO and other orthotic braces.
Thermoplastic, acrylic and carbon fiber are the most commonly used materials.
Although the SMO braces are available off the shelf, most Orthotists customize them to each patient for best results. Since these are prescribed early on in life, you might have to get the SMO brace refitted a few times as your child grows.
2. Who Should Wear the SMO Brace?
Children with a poor muscle tone often pronate [turn inwards] their feet when walking and crawling. Supramalleolar orthosis is prescribed for them to improve their walking and to help increase their tone.
Babies and toddlers with Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, gross motor delay and such conditions which result in hypotonia often need to wear the SMO brace.
The duration they’ve to wear the brace for varies according to the level of recovery the Orthotist is going for and the stage of your child’s crawling or walking.
3. What’s the Best Age for Wearing the SMO Brace?
Often, there’s no specific age to start wearing the Supramalleolar orthosis. But the general rule of thumb is; the earlier the better.
Your Orthotist will prescribe the brace once your kid begins to bear weight either in standing or walking. Kids can comfortably wear and benefit from it up to the age of 2 or 3 years.
4. What Structures Does the SMO Brace Stabilize?
The SMO brace is similar to the AFO. The difference being that the Supramalleolar orthosis only stabilizes the ankle and the foot instead of also the region above the ankle.
That’s why it’s prescribed for toddlers with a deformity located specifically in or around the foot and the ankle region.
5. Benefits of Wearing the SMO Brace
Wearing the SMO braces increases your kids’ confidence in walking and balancing themselves. The SMO brace adds to the stability of the ankle and improves the foot muscle tone.
It aligns the heel in the neutral position which helps develop the arch of the foot.
Indications for Wearing the SMO Brace
The primary indication for wearing the SMO brace is foot pronation [flat feet] which is due to hypotonia in toddlers.
Although all toddlers naturally have flat feet because their arches are not yet developed, the kids with pathological flat feet need the Supramalleolar orthosis to compensate for the missing arch.
If the flat feet condition is not addressed early on, it can lead to several secondary conditions such as knock knees, hip issues and an increase in the spinal curves.
Here’re the foot conditions SMO bracing is used to correct:
1. Hyper Pronation or Flat Feet
Flatfeet in kids is due to the three issues; lack of an arch, heel eversion and toes pointed outwards.
SMO brace applies pressure on all three regions to bring them towards the midline. Your child has to wear the brace until the ligaments and the arch are strong enough to maintain the correct alignment without the orthosis.
2. Hypermobile Ankle or Foot
Hypermobility is due to a laxity of the ligaments that stabilize the ankle. That increased range of movement also contributes to instability in walking.
The SMO brace controls the range of motion at the ankle and provides external stability to prevent dislocation. Toddlers can balance themselves much better while standing and walking with the help of the SMO brace.
3. Decreased Muscle Tone (Hypotonia)
The decreased muscle tone in kids prevents them from mastering balance and gait patterns. Using the SMO early on in life helps them develop the muscle strength necessary for walking.
Proper weight-bearing positions also tend to increase the tone enough to allow your kids to catch up with their milestones and peers.
4. Congenital Clubfoot Deformity
The infants’ foot is turned inwards or even upwards in the clubfoot deformity due to a shortening of the tendons.
The Supramalleolar orthosis along with proper stretching is prescribed to correct the deformity and allow kids to stand and walk normally.
How Can You Know If Your Child Needs the SMO Brace?
Some deformities are obvious enough for you to realise that your child needs additional help to develop normally. Other times, the signs are much subtle.
If you notice developmental delays, toe walking or difficulty balancing then you should approach a professional and get a diagnosis.
The paediatricians perform a full checkup of the babies during each visit. If there’s an issue, that’s when you’ll find out.
A proper diagnosis should guide your next steps. You can contact an Orthotist to find out which device is best for your child and follow the guidelines s/he shares with you.
The world of orthosis is scary for most parents, but what helps is having a great Orthotist and a support system to get you through the difficult times.
Supramalleolar orthosis is used by toddlers all over the world. Most kids grow out of it and live a healthy life with little or no trace of deformity.
Contact us for a free consultation from our experienced Orthotists and learn more about the SMO brace. We’ve got branches all over the United States so book an appointment at any one of our clinics today.
These days, we see a lot of babies wearing colorful helmets. That’s because they suffer from a flat head or some other condition that requires extra protection and a dynamic force on their skull.
Plagiocephaly is becoming more common due to babies sleeping on their backs, which is a safe way to lay babies down because it protects them from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
In this article, we’ll discuss the flat head condition, its causative factors and treatments with a focus on orthotic treatment.
Let’s dive right in.
Overview of Plagiocephaly
Plagiocephaly is simply the flattening of a baby’s head. It usually goes away on its own as the bones develop and fuse to create a round shape.
In severe cases, however, treatment is required. Plagiocephaly can happen to anyone if proper precautions are not taken, but it’s mostly reported in premature infants since their skull bones are much softer and pliable.
1. Causes of Plagiocephaly
Plagiocephaly has various causes, which can be prenatal to postnatal but more times than not the actual cause of Plagiocephaly is unknown.
Prenatal causes which lead to Plagiocephaly include a small uterus, twins or unusual pressure on the head during pregnancy although these lead to only mild Plagiocephaly.
Other causes include sleeping in the same position [known as positional Plagiocephaly], muscular torticollis and craniosynostosis.
2. Severity Levels of Plagiocephaly
Almost all babies have some level of asymmetry of the head when they’re born. And the bones align themselves as the skull matures.
The severity of Plagiocephaly is determined by two scales; the Cranial Vault Asymmetry and the Cephalic Ratio. The results help classify your baby’s Plagiocephaly in one of the three categories of mild, moderate and severe.
When you visit the Orthotist for assessment, s/he measures the baby’s head to determine what kind of treatment, if any, is required to correct the skull shape.
3. How’s Plagiocephaly Diagnosed?
The most prominent symptom of Plagiocephaly is flattening of the head from one side. It’s diagnosed based on the test performed by the Orthotist or a paediatrician.
Other symptoms include facial asymmetry, mismatched ear levels, prominent blood vessels and palpable bony ridges around the flattening.
4. Plagiocephaly Treatment Options
Oftentimes the Plagiocephaly will fix itself once your baby starts to lift his head and move around.
Various treatments of Plagiocephaly include:
Orthotists are a part of the multi-disciplinary team of medical professionals who treat your child’s Plagiocephaly. From paediatricians to neurosurgeons and physical therapists, several team members decide on the best treatment approach for your baby based on the severity of the condition.
The cranial band is the generally preferred orthotic treatment for this condition.
But that’s not the only treatment. Babies aged less than 2 months old rarely ever need a cranial band. In their case, proper positioning and exercises are enough to correct the deformity.
1. How Does the Cranial Band Work?
The cranial band is also known as the baby helmet and the cranial orthosis is made of a rigid thermoplastic material. It offers support to the growing skull while applying gentle pressure to the bones.
Each cranial band is customized with an opening close to the flattened region. The main purpose of wearing the baby helmet is to realign the skull bones.
2. How Long Does Your Baby Have to Wear the Cranial Band?
The duration of wear depends on how early you start treatment. For babies aged less than 6 months, 12 weeks of wearing the cranial band is enough time to correct the Plagiocephaly. On average, the treatment lasts for three months.
The time increases with an increase in the Plagiocephaly severity and the age of the baby.
Your baby has to wear the helmet for 23 hours a day.
3. How to Care For Your Baby and Their Helmet
The good news is that the baby helmet is not uncomfortable for the kiddos.
When your baby first starts wearing the cranial band, we recommend one hour off and one hour on. That helps babies get used to wearing it and also gives you an idea of how much your baby will sweat in the orthosis.
You’ve to follow your Orthotist’s guidelines while cleaning the cranial orthosis and washing your baby’s head. And reach out to them in case your baby looks uncomfortable in it because that could mean that there’s an issue with the cranial band.
Scientific Evidence for Effectiveness of Cranial Band Therapy
There’s some controversy around the use of the cranial band for Plagiocephaly. But various researches have concluded that baby helmets are effective for reducing flat head deformity.
One study found that the effectiveness of the cranial band for Plagiocephaly increases if the treatment is started early, before 24 weeks of age. Here, researchers found that 83% of their sample had a positive result after using the cranial orthosis.
Another research conducted on 18 months and older babies also concluded that the cranial band reduces the deformity if it’s worn for the prescribed duration. However, they also found that the treatment lasts for around 16 months when it’s started later in the baby’s life.
Plagiocephaly is a big word and scares most parents who’re hearing it for the first time. But the condition is much more treatable as you’ve read above.
If you’re looking for a treatment plan for your baby’s Plagiocephaly or need a cranial orthosis fitted, then reach out to us for a free consultation. We’ve got clinics all over the country and experienced Orthotists to help you.
The low back or the lumbar spine is susceptible to many injuries and pain.
Although most people use the general term low back pain (LBP) to describe all of the painful conditions of the back, these pain syndromes are in fact rather complicated because many structures in the lumbar region can cause your LBP.
Spine alignment braces, also known as back braces are a common non-surgical treatment approach for these low back pain issues.
But how does a brace actually help? And why should you ask an Orthotist to prescribe you a back brace for best results?
Keep reading as we explore these questions and the relation of a spine alignment brace to low back pain relief in detail.
What’s a Spine Alignment Brace?
Spine alignment braces are devices used to correct your misaligned back. Commonly known as a back brace, Orthotists use this to help patients with a variety of conditions and pain syndromes.
The back brace comes in several designs and for the different regions of the back; upper back (Cervico-thoracic), mid-back (thoracic) and low back (thoracic-lumbar).
But the working mechanisms of all spine alignment braces are similar. These tend to produce traction between your vertebrae [bones of the spine] to reduce tension on muscles, improve postural awareness and control, and bring your spine back into its anatomical alignment.
The spine alignment braces can be rigid, semi-rigid and flexible which your Orthotist will prescribe according to your condition.
These back braces are made of different materials. The rigid ones have vertical supports made of metal or plastic, with straps to wrap the brace around your body.
The semi-rigid and flexible spine alignment braces are commonly made of synthetic rubber and breathable mesh materials.
General Causes of Low Back Pain
For an otherwise healthy adult who has an acute complaint of low back pain, the causes are mostly lumbar muscle strains or mechanical.
Here’re some general causes of low back pain for which your Orthotist can prescribe a spine alignment brace: 1. Mechanical Low Back Pain
Bad posture while sitting, standing or lifting over time damages the muscles of the back and the vertebrae alignment.
That leads to mechanical low back pain which is aggravated by heaving lifting or long days at work. 2. Stability Issues
Spinal instability arises due to weakened bones, ligaments, muscles, osteoarthritis and degenerative joint conditions.
The muscles surrounding the spine overwork due to instability issues and that leads to a dull and constant low back pain 3. Disk Slippage or Isthmic Spondylolisthesis
Disk slippage happens when one vertebra slips over the other, commonly resulting in a small fracture as well. Patients report a deep ache in the low back in such cases.
The condition usually becomes chronic if left untreated and leads to long-term LBP. 4. Compression of Spine
A decrease in the space between the vertebrae leads to pain in the low back region. That’s also a risk factor for compression fractures that can pinch the nerves and lead to a more severe low back radiating pain. 5. Sudden Low Back Pain Due to Muscle Strain
Sometimes you tweak your back while shovelling snow or playing catch with your kids. That leads to LBP because your muscles overwork, overstretch, tear or go into spasm.
Since the lower back needs these muscles to maintain the upright posture, any damage to them leads to LBP.
How a Spine Alignment Brace Reduces Low Back Pain
Scoliosis is a major cause of LBP for which a spine alignment brace is used. This brace helps reduce the pain in such spinal deformities by forcing the spine back into its position by continuous pressure, increasing or decreasing over time.
Here’re five more ways that a spine alignment brace can reduce low back pain:1. Corrects Posture
A back brace helps maintain the spine in the correct posture and brings the spinal segments back in their original healthy alignment.
It also shifts your weight to the abdomen to unload the spine. That’s helpful to fix the inward curvature of the lumbar spine [medical terminology: Lordosis] and thus treats some of the mechanical causes of LBP. 2. Provides Stability to Structures
The rigid back brace adds stability to the spine by providing external support. That also relieves the muscles of the extra load and tension they endure due to the instability of the bony structures.
Spine alignment braces are almost always used as part of a comprehensive back treatment program. So while your Physical therapist trains the muscles of the back to increase stability, the brace helps add support and reduce pain in the meantime. 3. Limits Unusual Range of Motion
A back brace or spine alignment brace helps reduce low back pain by limiting the extreme range of motion activities and preventing any pinching of nerves by aligning the back perfectly.
Limiting motion gives time to the body to heal itself. The back brace makes sure that there’s no additional damage to the structures while also reducing pain by avoiding the motions that aggravate the LBP. 4. Provides a Favorable Environment for Healing
A back brace takes the pressure off of the strained muscles to give them ample time to heal in a favorable environment.
The spine alignment brace takes over some of the work the postural muscles perform. That reduces the low back pain and speeds up your recovery. 5. Traction
Using a rigid or dynamic spine alignment brace creates a space between the vertebrae.
That helps treat low back pain caused by compression issues. Thus the brace enables you to perform activities of daily living with ease.
It not only reduces pain significantly but also improves the quality of life.
Low back pain can be exhausting. It limits your movements and keeps you from doing the things you love.
If you’re suffering from acute or chronic LBP and need to find a solution, contact us or book an appointment with our Orthotists to get yourself checked out.
Our state-of-the-art orthotic treatment techniques using a spine alignment brace can help you get back to living your life to the fullest!
Amongst all the different types of back braces, the Boston brace is the one usually used for the treatment of kids and teens.
It’s the most widely used thoraco-lumbo-sacral- orthosis or full back brace in the United States. You need a doctors’ or an Orthotists’ prescription to wear one because it has to be specific to your case.
This article will help you understand how the Boston brace works, what the indications for use are and how much it costs. If you’re suffering from a condition for which you need a Boston brace, then this post will help answer many of the questions you might have.
Overview of the Boston Brace
The Boston brace is made of rigid polypropylene material and you wear it by wrapping it around your chest, ribs, back and hips. There’s padding inside the brace for comfort since patients have to wear it for many hours at a time.
The main purpose of the Boston brace is to keep the spinal deformities from getting any worse.
Recently, there’ve been advances in treatment technology and the most prominent one’s the Boston brace 3D. It’s a customized orthosis that provides corrective forces in all three planes and has room for rotational movements.
Although it’s a full-back brace, your Orthotist can prescribe you a region-specific brace such as the Boston Lumbar Brace or Boston Thoracic Brace based on your condition.
Working Mechanism of the Boston Brace
Just like any other spinal brace or spine alignment brace, the Boston brace works by applying steady pressure on the spine to force it back into alignment.
The Boston brace has pads on either side that are the main areas for providing a medially directed force. The location of these pressure points is decided based on the kind of spinal deformity your Orthotist wants to treat and varies from case to case.
The pads are placed in a zigzag shape (push-relief principle). If one of your pads is on the left side of the lower back, then the next pad will be on the right side and slightly above that level.
This brace is prescribed for teens, and the way a Boston brace works is that when the pads apply force to centralize the spine, the developing spine of an adolescent starts to grow towards the midline.
Your Orthotist will regularly reassess your scoliosis and measure the spinal deviations to determine if you need a better fitting Boston brace.
The Boston brace is highly effective in fixing spinal deformities. But it takes four to five years of wearing the brace to have a full recovery.
Indications of the Boston Brace
The primary indication of prescribing a Boston brace is Idiopathic Scoliosis. That’s the condition where the spine is curved sideways early on in life. It’s due to genetic factors and not the result of a bad posture or injury.
The Boston brace is indicated to correct the spinal alignment of the growing spine.
It’s used when your doctors determine that the conservative approaches will not be effective and a brace is necessary to stop the progression of the curve.
The exact size of the brace depends on your Cobb’s angle, which is in most simple terms, the level of lateral spinal deviation from the neutral position.
There’re also some contraindications to using the Boston brace. Obesity and psychological conditions such as claustrophobia are at the top of the list. There can be other factors as well which your Orthotist will tell you about after your physical examination.
Boston Brace Cost
The cost of a Boston brace varies in different areas of the United States, but the average cost is around $2,600 to $3,000. The actual price can be higher depending on which design you use such as Boston brace 3D, Jacket, Night Shift etc.
Since this treatment is a medical necessity, most insurance plans cover the cost of a Boston brace.
Complications of Using the Boston Brace Although one of the best solutions for treating Idiopathic Scoliosis, the Boston brace has several side effects which cannot be ignored.
Since it restricts the spine, there’re limitations to what kind of physical activity you can do and how much forward or backward bending is permitted while wearing the Boston brace.
Here’re some more complications to watch out for when using a Boston brace: 1. It Restricts Your Breathing
Since the Boston brace demands a snug fit around your chest and ribs, you’ll find it hard to take deep breaths. Your Orthotist might refer you to a pulmonary physical therapist for breathing exercises to counter any long-term effects.
But the restricted breathing will remain a complication as long as you’re wearing the Boston brace. It also affects the amount of physical activity you can do. 2. Effects on the Abdomen
Weak muscles, increased abdominal pressure and bowel issues are some of the complications of using the Boston brace.
A good Orthotist will provide you with ample instructions on how to use the brace and effective home exercise programs to reduce these problems. 3. Skin Issues and Perspiration
Hot and humid climates are a major issue for those who wear the Boston brace.
Proper cleaning methods and safety guidelines are helpful. But since you’re required to wear the brace for 15+ hours a day, you’ll still suffer from skin rashes, pimples, and raw skin at some point.
That complication is avoidable by staying cool, using antiperspirant creams, taking care of the skin and most importantly by understanding the warning signs.
The Boston brace is a great device to treat spinal issues in adolescents. The success rate is high and there’s evidence supporting its use for Idiopathic Scoliosis.
If the complications become too much to handle then there’re other options you can consider.
If you’re dealing with a new Boston brace or looking for alternative therapies, then reach out to us online or visit any one of our locations for an expert consultation with our Orthotists.
Our multidisciplinary teams will guide you on how to properly use a Boston brace and help you with all your queries.
Foot injuries and ankle problems are common in all age groups. From congenital conditions and athletic injuries to old age issues, your ankle and feet undergo a lot of trauma.
Arizona brace is one of the most efficient options for food and ankle bracing.
In this article, we’ll cover the nine conditions for which your Orthotist will prescribe you an Arizona brace.
What Is an Arizona Brace?
The Arizona brace is an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) prescribed to increase the stability of your ankle and reduce complications of an injury. It works by fitting inside your shoe and wrapping around your ankle and foot. The Arizona brace supports the region from all four sides and has a few different designs that you can use according to your need.
Wearing an AFO or an Arizona brace takes some getting used to, but once the training is complete patients gain their mobility back and enjoy a stable ankle.
Reasons Why Your Orthotist Will Prescribe You an Arizona Brace
Now that you know what the Arizona Brace is, let’s look at the nine conditions where your Orthotist might prescribe you one:
1. PTTD (Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction)
The Posterior Tibial Tendon is one of the most important tendons of the leg since it connects the calf muscles to the bones of the foot. Problems with this tendon lead to difficulty in walking, holding up the foot’s arch, thus reducing fall risk and, if left untreated, lead to a multitude of other foot-related problems.
An Arizona brace provides external support to the area by stabilizing the ankle of PTTD patients during walking and relieves the tendon of its function, so the tendon can heal.
2. Hindfoot Osteoarthritis or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD)
The Hindfoot means the posterior region of your foot or the ankle area. Degenerative changes related to inflammation and arthritis cause pain and affect your gait pattern as well as mobility.
Using an Arizona brace for Hindfoot OA provides symptomatic relief. Since it supports your joint from all sides, the brace reduces unnecessary outward (abduction) or inward (adduction) motion at the ankle joint and improves your walk.
Sinus Tarsi Syndrome is a consequence of Hindfoot arthritis. It’s where tendons impinge in a tunnel between two of the ankle bones. Arizona ankle brace helps prevent that as well.
3. Hindfoot Varus or Valgus
Hindfoot varus is a condition where the heel of your foot moves inward as compared to its midline position (line passing through the talus and the calcaneus bones). And Hindfoot valgus is the opposite with the calcaneus moves outwards or is abducted.
Your Orthotist will prescribe you Arizona foot braces for either of these conditions as a non-surgical treatment. It’ll correct the alignment of your ankle by bringing the bones and the joint towards the midline. And also prevent other conditions such as flatfoot.
4. Postural Stability in Older Population
A major reason for older individuals’ postural problems is the instability of the ankle joint and the loss of proprioceptive feedback from the foot.
An Arizona foot brace helps stabilize the area and reduces the postural sway that older people suffer from. It also contributes towards increased confidence in walking.
Due to a lack of muscle strength, the elderly have reduced postural stability. An Arizona ankle brace provides them with much needed external support. 5. Tibialis Tendonitis
Tibialis tendonitis is a condition where the posterior or anterior tibial tendon is inflamed, mostly after an injury to the area. That results in pain and an unstable gait because this muscle is responsible for holding up the arch of the foot.
When the tibial tendon is inflamed, the arch falls and produces flatfoot.
The condition takes about 8 weeks to heal properly and an Arizona ankle brace is used during that time. It takes the load off the tendon and provides additional stability. 6. Severe Pronation or Flat Foot
Pronation of the foot (inward turning) or flat feet can be a congenital condition or adult-acquired due to damage of the surrounding structures.
Although this condition doesn’t always require treatment, the Arizona foot brace is sometimes prescribed in extreme situations where the flatfoot is leading to knee problems, pain or damaging other structures. 7. Reducing Risk of Fall in Elderly
Incorrectly fitting shoes cause foot problems in people of all ages. But the older population faces more difficulty in balancing themselves while standing or walking with foot deformities. That leads to an increased risk of falls.
That’s just one of the reasons for falls in older people.
The Arizona brace for the ankle reduces foot deformities such as Hindfoot varus, flatfoot or degenerative changes and increases balance thus reduces the risk of fall. That’s a major reason why your Orthotist will prescribe you an Arizona brace. 8. Charcot Foot
People suffering from peripheral neuropathy (damage to the nerves of the lower limb) develop Charcot foot. It’s a condition where foot bones may break and joints may dislocate due to weakness of the entire ankle region.
There’s a risk of the entire foot being deformed due to Charcot foot. Your Orthotist will prescribe you an Arizona foot brace for this condition to avoid permanent damage to any of the foot or ankle structures. 9. Ankle, Subtalar or Midtarsal Trauma
Subtalar is a joint in the foot at the level of the ankle. And Midtarsal is the joint between the rearfoot and the midfoot. Trauma to these regions can mean dislocations, injury, fractures or any other damage.
Ankle trauma results in instability and weakness of the surrounding muscles and ligaments. The Arizona brace for the ankle helps stabilize the region.
Foot or ankle problems require prompt treatment to prevent the issues from getting worse. Our mobility is one of our key strengths and it’s difficult to function without a healthy foot.
If you suffer from any of the conditions mentioned above, then book a free consultation with our Orthotists to learn more about AFOs specifically the Arizona brace and get one fitted for yourself.
Back pain is a familiar problem all adults faced. Stressful work, strenuous physical activity, and bad posture are typical causes. It’s a common scenario to visit your doctor to get a prescription for ordinary back pain. But, this changes when your common back problem turns out to be a medical condition in the spine called scoliosis.
Scoliosis is most detected in late childhood and early teens. Usually, when a growth spurt is happening. However, many people don’t know that scoliosis is a severe medical condition that can develop later in life.
What is Scoliosis?
Scoliosis is a medical condition in which the backbone or spine deforms in an "S" or less commonly a "C" shape. Some noticeable signs are uneven shoulders, waist or hips, leaning to one side, and odd posture.
A physician performs diagnosis through a physical exam and studying the patient's medical history. In some cases, doctors conduct neurological exams. That is to check for muscle weakness, numbness, and abnormal reflexes. The diagnosis is usually confirmed through imaging tests. Some examples are x-ray, spinal radiograph, CT scan, or MRI.
The cause for scoliosis is still unknown, but research says it can run in the family. In a study done on 1,436 patients, 56% had one or more relatives with the condition. However, note that there are cases with no related family history.
Scoliosis in Adults
Although scoliosis is common in children and teens, adults are not exempt. Scoliosis can develop later in life, too. Although, adult scoliosis takes longer to discover since it progresses slowly. Many adults can live for many years without even noticing this condition.
Adult scoliosis occurs in patients 18 years and older. Usually, there is an abnormal side-to-side spinal curve of 10 degrees or greater.
Two common types of scoliosis can affect adults.
Adult Idiopathic Scoliosis
Adult idiopathic scoliosis is a continuation of adolescent scoliosis that has remained undetected. It may have started during your teenage years but gone unnoticed. This form of scoliosis doesn't progress until reaching adulthood. Yet, it can affect both the thoracic and lumbar portions of the spine.
Adult Degenerative Scoliosis
Adult degenerative scoliosis is another form of scoliosis that starts in adulthood. Naturally, our body takes on wear and tear as we age. Our bones undergo degenerative changes making them more vulnerable and prone to injury and damages. When joints deteriorate, it can cause the spine to curve.
This form of scoliosis is most common in older adults but can also affect adults aged 50 years and younger. An estimated 60% of people over age 60 may have mild degenerative scoliosis.
Adult Scoliosis SymptomsRegardless of whether it is idiopathic or degenerative, the symptoms are pretty much similar.
According to WebMD, some adult scoliosis symptoms are:
Adult Scoliosis Treatment Options
You should seek immediate treatment once diagnosed with adult scoliosis. Scoliosis cases are easy to solve, and most don’t require surgery. With the advances of technology, treatments are less invasive, and recovery is much faster.
The following non-surgical options are available:
The best medical practitioners around the globe recommend a combination of scoliosis bracing and physical therapy. Wearing a brace demands less effort, while physical therapy is a lifelong commitment.
Both treatments can lessen the symptoms and correct a patient's musculature, holding the spine in the right place. Contrary to other medical opinions, scoliosis bracing promotes muscle memory. Thus, it helps the spine to stay in the proper position.
Arrange an examination with your doctor to find out the most suitable treatment for your medical condition.
Coping With Adult Scoliosis
Getting diagnosed with adult scoliosis can cause anxiety, fear, and discomfort. Unlike children and teens, the lifestyle of an adult involves a lot of responsibility. Work, family, and business are just some examples.
The pain and discomfort caused by scoliosis can affect a person’s routine and lifestyle. That results in insecurity, shame, and stress. So, aside from treatment, patients must seek medical help and guidance to help cope with physical, emotional, and social challenges.
Home exercises, pain medication, and support groups are accessible with the help of a doctor.
Scoliosis is a serious matter and should be treated as a family affair. Patients and their loved ones must know the symptoms, treatments, complications, and proper management to cope.
Adult Scoliosis: Key Takeaways
Scoliosis is a serious medical condition that affects millions of people, regardless of age, sex, and race.
Though a vast majority of patients are young people, scoliosis can develop later in life. Adults need to be aware of this possibility and take good care of the body by avoiding the bad habits that can result in a spine problem.
The two most common types of scoliosis in adults are:
The most common symptoms of adult scoliosis are back pain and noticeable curvature in the spine.
As soon as diagnosed, scoliosis can be treated and managed with experts and professionals in the field. Resources, treatments, and clinics are available for patients dealing with adult scoliosis.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, don’t disregard them. Talk to a doctor immediately.
Disregarding your symptoms can worsen the condition and may result in further complications.
Remember, as the body ages, the joints become weaker, making it more susceptible to damage. Proper treatment can manage the deterioration and can stop its progress.
We’re here to help. Contact our main office to set an appointment. We provide spine check-ups, scoliosis bracing, and other related services to help patients reach recovery.
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