Playing sports can be aggressive on your body due to rotational movements at high speeds. And thus, it leads to several injuries. That’s why orthotics have a significant role in sports rehabilitation.
The types of orthosis you receive in rehab range from simple immobilizer splints applied for a week to adjustable orthosis covering more than one joint. Almost all joints of your body, including the spine, require Orthotic treatment during recovery from a sports injury.
The primary goals for orthosis are to assist your body's healing process, protect you from further injury and restrict the range of motion of your joints.
Why Would You Need an Orthosis for Sport?
In case of a torn ligament or an unstable joint, an orthosis will restrict the motion of your body part within specified parameters. This restriction takes the load off of those body parts, allowing them to heal like in tennis elbow.
That is especially true for foot orthosis, which reduces stress fractures and overall injuries in aggressive sports. Orthosis and taping prevent excessive foot pronation (foot rolling inwards) during sports such as soccer and football.
Spinal braces help patients with scoliosis participate in different kinds of sports. This preventive measure reduces the worsening of your condition and prevents future injury. Using braces, especially Functional Foot Orthosis (FFO), improves balance and postural sway in patients recovering from an ankle injury or an unstable ankle.
When Are Sports Orthosis Prescribed?
Now that you know the different purposes of orthosis in sports rehabilitation. Let’s move on to when an orthosis is given to athletes.
Many times when there is a tear too small for surgery, your doctor or Orthotist will prescribe you a splint or a brace to stabilize the injury. That will give your body time to heal.
Athletes with shoulder instability wear a brace or an orthosis while undergoing other conservative treatment regimens to avoid surgery.
Post-op orthosis is quite common. As it helps restore the biomechanics of your body while supporting the weakened surrounding structures. You will often see athletes recovering from shoulder or knee surgery and sitting on the sidelines with an orthosis.
Protection from an orthosis is as essential for recovery as the surgery itself.
Your Orthotist can also prescribe an orthosis for continuous protection of your body structures. Some athletes wear an orthosis even while they play. That is for additional stabilization of a previously injured area.
It’s commonly seen in relatively older athletes who have suffered multiple injuries to the same region. Such as runners who need a lifelong customized shoe support orthosis due to overuse injuries or repetitive wrist injuries requiring splints or a brace.
Examples of Orthoses Use in Sports Rehabilitation Athletes can sustain injuries to almost any body part, but most commonly, they are in the joint areas. Orthoses are used for different regions from the shoulder down to the ankle.
Here are some examples of how sports rehabilitation and orthosis use are integrated.
Rotational injuries and rotator cuff tears are common in baseball and volleyball athletes. During their recovery, slings, functional orthosis, post-op orthosis, and others are used based on individual needs.
These help with stability and redistributing pressure while providing a limited range. Shoulder orthosis and immobilizers are also used to heal clavicle injuries and fractures.
The most common elbow problems in sports are overuse injuries. Golf and tennis players suffer them the most.
As a treatment for such a sports injury, you’ll receive a compression orthosis to relieve the pain by taking the pressure off of the inflamed space around the tendon.
Carpal tunnel syndrome and torn finger ligaments are seen in athletes who take impact directly on their hands, such as in basketball and gymnastics.
Splints and rigid orthosis are provided during their rehab because unnecessary movements on already affected structures can be significantly damaging.
The knee is by far the most commonly injured joint in sports. Athletes involved in sports from running to long jumping and everything in between regularly suffer from ACL tears, meniscus tears, and fractures.
There’re different orthoses for knee rehabilitation after sports injuries, including patella stabilizers, neoprene sleeves, immobilizers, and functional knee braces.
The ankle has many supporting structures around it and many ligaments. An injury to any one of these moving parts results in an unstable ankle. Ankle sprains and fractures are frequent in sports that require agility and swift change in positions such as basketball, football, and soccer.
Rolling your ankle can result in torn ligaments. A doctor will provide you with an orthosis to stabilize the joint and create a supportive environment to return to activity. These include rigid or dynamic AFOs, Supramalleolar Orthosis, and others.
Each sport comes with its challenges. Contact sports result in knee and shoulder injuries, whereas golfers and tennis players suffer many elbow problems.
Since orthosis is a device that improves function, provides support, and fixes alignment of the body structures, there is a significant role of orthoses in sports rehabilitation.
If you’re looking for a licensed and experienced Orthotist to help you with your rehab, then visit us at Align Clinic for a consultation. Our Orthotists have years of experience, and we can help you get back to playing the sport your love.
The first meeting with an Orthotist is an important one. It’s where you sit with the team to discuss the details of your orthosis. Since you’ll be coming back for many checkups after this initial meeting, it’s wise to get your most vital questions out of the way in the beginning.
There’re many questions you must ask when you first meet with the Orthotist. Such as how should I care for the orthosis? Can I shower with it? What clothing considerations do I have to think about? And so on.
Well, the good news is that your Orthotist will tell you about most of these things without you having to ask them. But still, it’s best to have a general idea of what you should discuss with your orthosis.
Here is a list of five such questions you should ask your Orthotists, based on our many years of clinical experience.
1. How Long Will the Adjustment Take?
Getting used to a new orthosis takes time. And if it’s your first time getting one fitted, then you should get an estimate of how long it’ll take until your body is adjusted to the device.
That is especially important for athletes and younger patients. Since their physical activity levels are above-average and the orthosis will cause some restrictions to their movements. But that does not mean that they can’t run around the playground or ride a bike because of it.
Many of our patients are active in different sports such as mountain biking, volleyball, and surfing, to name a few.
Nevertheless, have an open conversation with your Orthotist to get an idea of how long the adjustment period will be. And prepare accordingly.
Moreover, you should ask for a timeline for when you can potentially take off the orthosis for good (if your condition is temporary). Orthotist will look at your scans and manually assess you to create a prognosis.
2. How Much Will It Cost?
Most times, an off-the-shelf orthosis will fit your needs just fine, especially if you need it for a small amount of time, such as after an ACL tear or surgery.
A custom orthosis is more suitable for long-term orthosis, such as scoliosis or an AFO for your child.
Your Orthotist is the best judge of what kind of device is the best fit for you. Make sure you discuss co-pay options or your insurance packages with the Orthotist and factor that into the decision.
Cost is a significant factor that affects future care. So this question is vital for the long term.
Your Orthotist or the clinic may also guide you on alternative payment options.
3. How Does Bracing Work?
This question is essential for your peace of mind.
Your primary care physician may not be able to tell you in detail how an orthosis will help your condition.
But an Orthotist is a specialist dealing with the fitting of braces and other orthoses. They can explain to you exactly why you need it and how the device will work to improve your condition.
When you know how the orthosis works, you can better set your expectations.
A spinal brace is there to ensure the condition doesn’t worsen in some cases. And other treatments fix your scoliosis. Learning this information will make it easier for you to wear the brace despite some initial discomfort.
Knowing how the orthosis works are essential for you to understand your condition in detail.
If you want to know more about the purpose of an orthosis and how it works, then book a consultation with us. We have a team of certified Orthotists with years of experience ready to help you with your bracing needs.
4. How Long Will the Orthosis Last?
An Orthotist will either show you or discuss the different orthosis types during your visit. The orthoses come in various designs and other materials suitable for several purposes.
It’s wise to ask about the durability of each one. Some will wear out much quicker than others, depending on the environment, humidity levels and use.
You should ask about signs of damage to the orthosis, when you should come back for a new one, and how to care for it.
5. What Are the Possible Complications I Should Expect?
Even though every licensed Orthotist will tell you about the complications of the orthosis, you should still feel free to talk about your fears and clarify all your concerns.
Complications vary from person to person, depending on the type of orthosis, potential allergies, and many other factors.
Orthotists are trained to assess the risks and potential complications to employ preventive measures properly. They’re best equipped to answer your questions, no matter how specific they may be.
The five questions mentioned above will help you cover your bases. But there may be more questions that are personal to you.
For instance, if you have a busy schedule, you might want to ask about the average number of appointments so that you can make alternate arrangements.
You may want to ask for recommended support groups because the orthosis journey can become difficult.
The main point is that you use your first meeting with an Orthotist to learn about the steps involved in the fitting and training for the use of orthosis.
You can reach out to us at any one of our locations for a free expert consultation from our Orthotists.
Scoliosis is a serious medical condition that affects people of all ages. Ever since its discovery in the 5th century, medical practitioners worldwide continue to conduct studies searching for a cure.
Until today, there is still no known cure for scoliosis. However, as technology advances, many various treatments have become available to slow down the progress, manage the pain, and improve a patient’s quality of life.
Through careful consideration of a patient’s case and physical maturity, doctors recommend the best suitable treatment. And more often than not, Schroth therapy ranks the list in terms of effectiveness.
What is Schroth Therapy?
Schroth therapy consists of custom exercises based on a patient’s curve pattern. It’s a nonsurgical treatment aiming to improve the spine’s alignment to prevent pain and curve progression.
Schroth therapy was named after Katherina Schroth, a german physicist who also had scoliosis. She used her body as a test case to design the method to formulate exercises and breathing techniques. Though the therapy has already evolved over the years, the principles on postural corrections remain the same.
Schroth therapy has three essential components that follow the principles of correction. It focuses on muscular symmetry, rotational angular breathing, and postural awareness.
Essential Components of Schroth Therapy
Each patient’s scoliosis is unique.
Some exercises may work for one person, but not for another. Hence, Schroth therapy is custom-tailored to a scoliosis patient’s unique case.
A certified Schroth physical therapist or specialist tailor guides a patient in applying the three essential components. These are muscle symmetry, rotational breathing, and posture awareness.
Each component has a specific goal and set of exercises that you can perform during a physical therapy session or at home. Make sure to consult with a certified Schroth practitioner first before performing any activities at home.
1. Muscle Symmetry
The muscles are badly affected as the curve progresses. The imbalance makes the muscles disproportioned and overworked, leading to more harm than good.
Schroth therapy aims to eliminate dissymmetry by strengthening the back muscles. Stability exercises such as Pilates help.
2. Rotational Breathing
Scoliosis causes the spine to rotate, leading to the rib cage’s deformity and the soft tissues around it. As a result, patients experience severe back pain and breathing problems that negatively affect their lives.
Schroth therapy eliminates the breathing difficulty caused by the spine rotation. By performing rotational and angular breathing exercises, the spinal curve can shift out of the way and improve breathing function.
3. Posture Awareness
Scoliosis can even worsen a bad posture. Posture awareness is the first, most important way to correct it.
Posture awareness is a component of Schroth therapy that teaches and enables patients to be mindful of their posture. Being fully aware helps avoid bad posture and habits as they perform different activities daily.
How Effective is Schroth Therapy?To date, there is no known cure for scoliosis that can eliminate it. Several studies, however, show that Schroth therapy is an effective treatment that prevents the condition from getting worse. It works best when combined with scoliosis bracing.
Schroth's method is proven to strengthen the back muscles, slow curve progression, improve Cobb angles, improve breathing, and decrease the need for surgery.
Here are some case studies to support this claim:
1. Decreasing Cobb’s Angle and Pain
In a case report conducted in 2016, Schroth therapy was performed on three patients. The treatment was three times a week, for 15 weeks. The patients have idiopathic scoliosis and Cobb’s angle of ≥10°.
After 15 weeks in the program, a noticeable decrease in Cobb’s angle and the pain were recorded. The findings show significant improvement compared to its previous record.
2. Improving Regression and Quality of Life for Adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis
They conducted a systematic review in 2018 to determine Schroth therapy’s effectiveness on patients who have adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS).
The participants’ range was a mix of male and female, with ages 10 and 19 and a cobb’s angle of ≥10°. They were split into two groups. A physiotherapist supervised the first group while the second group performed the Schroth exercises at home.
After a 12-week and a 24-week observation period, results showed that Schroth therapy dramatically impacts regression of the Cobb angle. And the quality of life.
3. Schroth therapy during bracing
A preliminary study was conducted in 2017 to determine if Schroth therapy, when combined with bracing, improves AIS patients’ condition. For six months, the participants had to wear a scoliosis brace while undergoing Schroth therapy.
After six months, findings showed that Schroth therapy, combined with bracing, improved a patient’s trunk rotation, Cobb angle, and quality of life. The study concluded that Schroth therapy combined with scoliosis bracing leads to a higher Cobb angle improvement rate.
Schroth therapy is a practical, non-invasive treatment for patients dealing with scoliosis. Though Schroth therapy doesn’t cure the spine problem entirely, it does the job of preventing further curve progression and promoting spinal balance and stability.
Many studies prove that the application of Schroth therapy, whether as a stand-alone treatment or combined treatment with scoliosis bracing, significantly decreases the pain and Cobb’s angle.
Children, adolescents, and adults who have scoliosis greatly benefit from Schroth therapy. A certified Schroth practitioner guides patients to perform exercises based on their unique spinal curve pattern.
It’s best to visit a clinic to attend physical therapy sessions. When not available, doctors can recommend specific exercises to encourage patients to workout at home.
Make sure to consult with a certified Schroth practitioner first before performing any home workouts, as each case of scoliosis is unique.
Some exercises may or may not work, depending on the severity of the case. A wrong approach can lead to harm. Hence, you must observe strict guidance from a certified Schroth professional.
For consultations, questions, and support, contact us.
A diagnosis of scoliosis is news no parent or child wants to hear. Though scoliosis is a medical condition of the spine common to children during a growth spurt, it can still impact a child’s life forever.
Children diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis are usually between 10 and 12 years old. During this time, doctors check a child’s condition and recommend treatment. In most cases, doctors advise patients to consider wearing a scoliosis brace.
Scoliosis bracing is an effective treatment to prevent the curve from worsening. It requires patients to support their back with a vest for a couple of hours every day. That could be overwhelming initially and may take a while for a child to get used to.
That is why parents and children should know what to expect and how to cope with this condition.
Each scoliosis case is unique. Having a glimpse of your child’s journey can reduce the stigma, manage the pain, and improve the quality of life.
Introducing Scoliosis Bracing
Children at this age are transitioning to adolescence. The transition makes children more private and sensitive, causing an emotional stir.
It can be uncomfortable and overwhelming at first for both parties. But this shouldn't shut down the conversation.
It’s necessary to establish the importance of therapy and introduce the need for scoliosis bracing. Doing so lets the children know that recovery is possible and the journey isn’t as scary and hard as they think.
After all, failing to engage in treatment can cause tremendous harm, so it's better to get treated.
Scoliosis Brace: What Is It and Why Wear It
A scoliosis brace is a small jacket-like brace, usually made out of stiff plastic. It’s designed to be wrapped underneath a patient’s arms, covering the torso, down to the waist.
No two scoliosis cases are the same, so a scoliosis brace is custom designed for a patient's back.
The primary purpose is to prevent the condition from progressing. And through time, correcting as much as possible. Wearing a brace lowers the chances of necessary surgery.
To simply put, a child must wear a scoliosis brace to prevent the curve from getting worse. For bracing to work, a patient should still be growing, and the curve must not be too big.
A key to a quicker recovery is early treatment. Failing to engage in treatment can cause tremendous harm. That’s why parents and guardians must take the lead in supporting their children in this journey.
Finding the Right Fit
Getting your child’s first scoliosis brace can somehow be terrifying. With ample options for a brace, finding the right fit for your child's condition can become overwhelming.
To know which kind of scoliosis brace fits your child’s condition, consultation is a must. Visit a reputable clinic that specializes in scoliosis bracing. For free evaluation and recommendation, set an appointment with us so that we can help.
Wearing a Scoliosis Brace
A doctor evaluates your child's case then recommends the kind of brace to wear.
According to Dr. Timothy Hresko, a spine doctor from Boston children’s hospital, how long a patient must wear a brace depends on the curve and their stage of growth. Ensure to follow the doctor's prescription and guidance when wearing a brace.
Here are some things your child must remember when putting on a scoliosis brace.
1. Put On a Tight-Fitting, Seamless Shirt Under the Brace
Before wearing a brace, it’s advisable to wear a tight-fitting, seamless undershirt. That is to help with the sweating and avoid the skin from breaking out.
Children sweat a lot as they perform their daily activities in school, at home, or during therapy. The brace then rubs on the exposed skin, causing the skin to break down. Hence, an undershirt is needed to protect the skin.
2. Align the Brace on the Back
It’s easy to open a brace. Just separate the edges and position them in the body. Here's an easy trick. Place the brace in the bed, then lie down. You should align the back with the brace. Then, connect the straps from the bottom up.
3. Lock the Buckles
A child may struggle to wear a brace the first time, especially when locking the buckles. The doctor often marks the straps so patients can quickly identify how far the pulling should go and when to buckle up. In front of a mirror, check to see if the brace fits well.
4. Put On a Loose, Regular Shirt on Top
After putting on the scoliosis brace, select a comfortable, loose shirt to put on. Your child may or may not have clothes that fit well with a brace. Wear more oversized clothing for more breathing room.
Getting Used to It
Your child may find the first couple of days uncomfortable. When this happens, encouragement goes a long way.
There are challenges, which is why it’s necessary to educate your child on the difficulties they’ll encounter as they go.
More Discomfort During Summer
Putting on a brace during summer may feel like boiling. Remind your child to stay hydrated and opt for a loose, airy shirt on top. A portable fan has its wonders too.
Skin Breakout Is Possible
When a breakout happens, reach out to the orthotist right away for brace adjustment. Check if your child wears a tight-fitting undershirt. It should prevent the brace from rubbing the skin.
Emotions Can Take Over
It is understandable to feel anxious, angry, or sad throughout the scoliosis journey. Some children feel embarrassed to have to wear a scoliosis brace. Parents and guardians shouldn't disregard these emotions.
Connect your child to a support group. Help them feel accepted and loved. Explain that completing the treatment leads to recovery.
A child’s journey to scoliosis bracing is not easy. As parents and guardians, your role is to be the primary source of encouragement and strength.
The road to recovery may take some time, but the journey will be worth it. Scoliosis bracing is effective and can prevent the condition from worsening.
If you need more information, feel free to contact us. We provide free evaluation and support.
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 your 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. It is 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 usual "C" shape. Some of the 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 old and above. 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 the 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 old and younger. An estimated 60% of people over age 60 may have mild degenerative scoliosis.
Adult Scoliosis Symptoms
Regardless 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 need surgery. With the advances of technology, treatments are less invasive, and recovery is much faster.
The following non-surgical options are available:
Both treatments can lessen the symptoms and correct the 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 be aware of the symptoms, treatments, complications, and management to cope with them.
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:
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.
Pectus Excavatum is a malformation of bone that occurs in your child’s chest wall.
The name means ‘hollow chest’ in Latin. It causes a visible concave deformity and might cause the ribs to grow in a wayward manner. Due to this, it is also known as the sunken chest syndrome or funnel chest.
If you suspect that your child has Pectus Excavatum, confirming its presence and getting treatment is relatively easy. After all, it’s the most common chest wall abnormality observed in children.
We layout your next course of action in chronological order.
Unlike the case of Pectus Carinatum, this condition can be detected when your child is as young as 2 or 3. But they can only determine its severity with growth spurts.
The figures suggest that male children are more susceptible to the condition. At least 1 in every 300-400 children develops this ailment to various degrees of severity.
Nearly 15% of the children who have Pectus Excavatum develop scoliosis - a spine curvature ailment. So, it becomes all the more important to pay attention to signs of a sunken chest.
Consult your physician and understand the severity of the issue. If required, talk to an orthopedist to get detailed insights into your child’s condition.
Unfortunately, researchers haven’t been able to pinpoint the reasons for its occurrence.
Some academics from Boston University have discovered genetic markers associated with the condition. Others tend to relate sunken chests with Marfan Syndrome, Noonan Syndrome, and the likes.
In children with spinal muscular dystrophy, diaphragmatic breathing can also cause Pectus Excavatum.
When mild Pectus Excavatum is detected, no medical intervention is needed. At most, your child may need a few regulated physical activities to overcome the condition’s effects.
In cases where there is a threat of lung damage or cardiorespiratory issues, surgery might be the best recourse. Read on to find out about the various methods and their possible implications.
2. Vacuum Bell
1. Ravitch Technique
2. Nuss Procedure
3. Robicsek technique
After undergoing any surgical procedure, you can expect your child to be kept under observation for 3-4 days. They could be under pain-control medication for up to a month after the operation. It’s best if they skip school and all other physically draining activities during this period.
Amidst all this, understanding the psychological repercussions becomes essential. Attempt to attend all follow-up sessions with your physician, orthotist, or physiotherapist.
Teens especially feel awkward or embarrassed to talk about their feelings. Try to find out if their friends and other family members are being sensitive while broaching the topic.
Additionally, ensure that your child is comfortable during the prognosis and treatment phase. Without their willingness, it would be impossible to achieve the desired results.
Want to know more about the other kinds of chest wall disorders? We have listed them in this all-inclusive blog post.
Prosthetics are a beautiful medical invention that helps amputees in moving around. They perform the functions of a real leg, and at times, look like one.
Some users will need crutches or a walker when using a prosthetic leg. However, most can manage without any extra support. There are many aspects to be considered before you get one.
Here’s what you need to know if you plan to take the above the knee prosthetics route.
1. They Might Not Help
Many aspects come into play here. Your residual limb should be mobile, and there needs to be enough soft tissue to act as a cushion. If you have a circulation disorder, then a prosthetic may not be for you.
2. They Take Time
Above the knee, prosthetics are not quickly adopted since there’s no knee joint. You’ll face issues like perennial sweating, weakness in the limb, and phantom pain.
Following your rehabilitation plan is critical here. Rest assured, your prosthetist and physical therapist will help you overcome the issues in this phase.
3. They Need Customization
There are different types of above knee prostheses, but they are not one-size-fits-all.
Parts, like the socket and suspension system, are molded according to your residual limb. Hence, you need to make frequent trips to the prosthetist to get the measurements right
4. There’s Always a Newer Model
Even if you buy the best above knee prosthetic leg today, it might become obsolete within a year.
Prosthetic limb technology is advancing at a rapid pace. Microprocessor joints and integration surgeries have increased the sensory reception and range of motion.
Parts of an Above the Knee Prosthesis
It’s time to understand what are the different parts of this device. There are four major components in most modern-day prosthetics - socket, knee, pylon, and foot.
Let’s start with the easier ones first:
Socket: In the initial phase, a diagnostic socket is implemented to check the alignment. It’s a plastic socket that is replaced by a laminated one in the later stage. The laminated one is usually made of carbon fiber and has a long life. If everything is in place, you can even get your favorite sports team’s logo embossed on it!
If you’re still reading, you now understand the challenges of using prosthetics. Now that you’re ready to get one, you may be wondering how to take care of them.
Here are eight things you should know as a new prosthetics user:
1. Washing your prosthesis daily is essential. Don’t use anything else apart from mild soap, and give the device enough time to dry. Regularly wiping the insides of the prosthesis will keep it free from bacterial infections.
2. Prostheses are designed to be worn with shoes. If the heels are not of the same height, it may cause stability issues. You can choose to wear high heels or any other footwear only after informing your intentions to a prosthetist.
3. Prosthetics socks are an integral part of your life now. Based on your doctor’s
recommendation, you can use a single-ply or multi-ply pair of socks. Ensure they fit perfectly and use the correct number of ply to avoid developing irritations.
4. The socket and liner are the root cause of skin infections. Follow the manufacturer’s hygiene instructions to ensure to provide the right kind of care. Importantly, do not try to trim or add pads to the socket since it might compromise the prosthesis’s safety.
5. In the initial few months, you have to take up many exercises. It will expose your residual limb to many scenarios in a short span. That allows you to adjust to get the perfect fit. Don’t hesitate to ask the prosthetist for multiple changes.
6. As an above the knee prosthetics user, you should not sleep with your limb on a pillow. You might get a hip flexion contracture, a condition that doesn’t let users straighten their hips. Instead, you can place a pillow between your legs to strengthen the outer thigh muscles.
7. Always have a handy kit with spare stump socks, antibiotics, and ointments. That will be your emergency stock for when you need a change. Moreover, you’ll be needing different ply socks due to frequent volume changes in your limb.
8. Periodic follow-ups are a must in the first year of usage. The doctors need to know if your body is accepting the prosthesis without causing any troubles. On the other hand, the prosthetists can make changes to the device if it isn’t comfortable to use.
The decision to get a prosthetic is determined by people's urge to have an everyday social life. Don’t rush through this process. Talk to a few users and understand how it makes their lives better. Understand every little intricacy about prosthetics, and make a well-informed decision.
Taking care of your above knee prosthetics may sound very tedious. In reality, it’s like managing dental braces or any other medical device. It all comes down to those little things you do regularly - cleaning, checking, fixing.
Ultimately, the decision to get a prosthesis should be based on mutual consent and understanding between you and the doctor.
Besides above the knee prosthetics, there are many types of prosthetics. Find out more about them in this guide by Align Clinic.
Dealing with rare medical conditions is not an easy task, and the going gets tough when it’s your child.
Pectus Carinatum is one such chest wall-related ailment that could harm your child’s health if left unattended.
The condition’s name describes the malformation accurately. ‘Pectus’ means a bird’s breast, which indicates a bulged appearance. ‘Carinatum’ refers to the pointed keels of ancient Roman boats. Colloquially, it’s known as pigeon chest pain.
Pigeon chest causes the breast-bone to push forward, and it leads to unequal growth in other areas. Its symptoms include asthma, chest pain, tiredness, and shortness of breath, among others.
It's an issue that is mostly seen in teenagers and can be treated without little hassle. Here are a few things you need to understand to help your child beat this condition -
Studies suggest that nearly 5% of people are born with a mild form of Pectus Carinatum. Yet, it remains a rare disorder when compared to other chest wall conditions - Pectus Excavatum.
Nearly 80% of those born with this condition are male. You can detect its signs in the early stages, but its effects become visible only after your child turns eleven. It’s a genetic disorder, and depending on the severity, the condition may worsen as your child enters adulthood.
The bottom line here is you need to be absolutely sure about the problem’s existence and severity. That brings us to the next section - diagnosis.
Diagnosing the Condition
A thorough physical examination is necessary to understand the intensity of the problem. The preliminary diagnosis involves the calculation of the chest’s depth with an X-ray. After measuring the diameter, they can determine if your child has Pectus Carinatum.
The X-rays will help identify scoliosis or other abnormalities leading to pigeon chest.
Here are a few other tests your doctor may recommend -