The IDEO brace or Intrepid Dynamic Exoskeletal Orthosis is an energy-storing ankle or foot orthosis. It’s made of carbon fiber and works by redirecting weight-bearing forces to improve your posture, steadiness, and mobility.
The brace helps with various lower limb injuries and is designed as a high-intensity, recovery-focused rehabilitation aid. Although it’s a relatively uncommon brace as compared to the ankle-foot orthosis or KAFO, it has been proven to return severely injured patients back to a higher level of physical activity.
If you’ve only recently heard about the IDEO brace, then this article will help you understand what it is and when it’s prescribed.
Here’s what we’ll cover in this post:
What Is the IDEO Brace?
The IDEO is an orthosis that you wear around your lower leg and foot. It has a customizable energy-storing mechanism that helps take the weight off your ankle. Its major advantages over existing braces are increased patient comfort and functionality.
The device is molded out of lightweight black carbon fiber and it helps you spring forward when you walk. On top of that, each brace is custom-fit for increased comfort.
Your rehab starts once you get the device and it includes a mix of sports medicine methods and standard physical therapy rehab.
The orthotic has three main components:
The IDEO can assist you in walking, running, and other activities by redistribution of weight and pressure around the lower leg.
Its working mechanism involves taking the energy produced by the movement of your leg while walking, and using it to propel you forward without involving your ankle.
The main aim of prescribing the IDEO brace is to increase gait efficiency. Hence it improves your walking pattern by decreasing pain and energy requirement while increasing your speed and efficiency.
It’s a highly effective device for patients dealing with pain, instability, and weakness because of a wide array of conditions. The IDEO is effective in conditions such as:
The short answer is yes. The IDEO helps patients when it’s prescribed as intended.
Here’s the long answer based on scientific literature and clinical studies. A 2019 research paper included data from 156 patients of The Brooke Army Medical Center IRB that were given the IDEO brace. The outcomes showed that all of them reported decreased pain and improved mobility with the brace.
Another scientific study conducted on patients in a different clinical setting found similar results. Participants in that study reported their satisfaction with the IDEO brace to be 65.5 out of 100. The participants observed an improvement in their mobility levels and a decrease in pain.
The IDEO is a revolutionary limb salvaging orthotic device. The use of this device has proven to reduce the need for amputation.
Patient-reported outcomes are very promising as well. It offers additional benefits like freeing up your arms that you would otherwise use to push a wheelchair or support clutches.
Freedom from pain is perhaps its most significant achievement, which is why patients prefer it over more conventional orthotic devices.
Walking with the IDEO brace is the closest most users get to walking. This not only gives patients a confidence boost but also keeps all the different postural muscles active as well, which are neglected while you’re sitting down and using crutches.
Things You Should Know About the IDEO Brace as a First Time User
The IDEO comes with a few challenges. Here are some things that you should prepare for:
1. Duration of Wear
Since the IDEO brace is lightweight, it’s comfortable for you to wear all day, every day. You can wear the brace for as long as it’s comfortable.
It can take some time to get used to it so you might have to slowly increase the duration of wear and only put it on for an hour or so initially. You should remove the brace while showering.
2. Speciality Shoes
You’ll need customized shoes to go with your IDEO brace. These shoes are extra wide and spacious enough to accommodate the brace and your foot without rubbing the top part of the foot up against the shoe, which can cause pain and irritation.
3. Washing and Cleaning
Just like most other AFOs or orthosis, you can clean the brace with mild soap and a damp rag. It’s not recommended to immerse the brace in water for cleaning.
Normal walking pattern requires us to propel from the toes and land on the heels. That’s not possible while wearing the IDEO brace. So relearning to walk and run is the biggest challenge you might face when you get your custom-made IDEO brace.
The exact period of rehab depends on each individual patient depending on the nature and extent of their injuries.
You’ll also need training to essentially wake up the muscles that were neglected for a long time because you were unable to do certain movements due to your injury or disability.
5. IDEO Brace Cost
The cost for getting fitted for the device privately varies between 9000-12000 USD. Included in this price is casting, fitting, and several physical therapy appointments necessary to help you learn to use the device.
IDEO Brace in a Nutshell
The IDEO brace is a simple leg and ankle brace that’s changing the lives of hundreds of people. For those dealing with disabilities and the aftermath of injuries, this brace can mean the difference between chronic suffering and pain-free life.
This device can not only help you walk more normally and confidently but might also mean a whole new lifestyle for you that includes adventurous activities and sports.
If you’re interested in learning more or if you’re looking for a custom-made IDEO brace, then contact Align Clinic and talk to our expert Orthotists.
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