Is Orthopedic Bracing right for me?
If you recently suffered an injury or you have an upcoming surgery scheduled, you may be wondering if you’ll need to wear a brace. Orthotic bracing simply allows your weakened body part or joint to have the necessary or extra support. Wearing a brace for a period of time can vary as bracing can either be passive or active. Passive bracing only supports the injury or body part, while active bracing provides counterforce as well. There is usually used for a desired or specific outcome because it separates bones. This allows your body to reduce both pain and inflammation.
There’s two types of orthotic bracing: short-term and long-term.
Short-Term Bracing: Usually worn after a patient suffers an injury or recovering from a surgery.
Long-Term Bracing: Used to treat more severe or chronic conditions like osteoarthritis or drop foot.
Everyone has seen either a friend, colleague or stranger wearing a brace before. You’ve probably even seen them in your local drugstore too. However you’d be surprised to find out there’s a multitude of bracing categories and made from a variety of materials. Let’s explore a bit more!
5 Most Common Types of Bracing:
- 1. Ankle, Foot, and Knee Bracing
2. Back and Spinal Bracing
3. Shoe Orthoses
4. Sports Branding
5. Common Wrist, Ankle, Elbow, and Knee Braces. *consumer based or over the counter*
Ankle Foot Orthoses: AFO
AFO’s are probably the most common type of brace seen in public. In school, there was always that one soccer player who had a big knee brace on after an intense game! These amazing tools maintain the correct positioning of the foot and ankle so patients do not stumble or fall. Knee Orthoses immobilize and support the knee joint. They can be used right after surgery or for long-term conditions. Orthopedic shoes can also contain a molded or unmolded footplate.
Back and Spinal:
If you have consistent chronic pain or suffered an injury in your back or spine, it’s important that you speak with a physician. Back or spinal bracing can provide support for both areas. This is possible because it immobilizes the spinal region as well as the compression of the soft tissue in your back. Spinal orthoses are separated further into categories depending on how far up they go on your back. Typically, they’re made from elastic material or a full plastic ( body shell ) design.
For the most significant control that covers your entire back, the Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis (TSLO) would be your best choice. Make sure to contact your physician, so they can safely help relieve your back pain right away.
Unlike other orthoses, sports bracing is most commonly used to prevent injury instead of treating it. It can prevent hyperextension during a big game or run with being lightweight and not hindering the athlete. If an injury does occur, this branch of orthopedic bracing is known as sports medicine can help treat ligament sprains/trains, separated shoulder or even broken collar bones.
What is the Orthopedic Bracing process like?
The first step is always to call your physician. Most of the time they will be able to see you and come up with the best treatment plan. Make sure to ask questions and speak with your health insurance for any coverage/payment questions. You should always receive a prescription from an appropriately trained physician and avoid buying infomercial products. It can lead to further injury. Depending on the design or style, make sure your doctor is very specific on what your needs are. As long as you have good communication, the process should be simple and you’ll be on your way to a great recovery!