If you think your child may need leg braces, or you've been told by your Physical Therapist that this is so, you may have a few questions! Here are some answers from one of our PTs, Hannah Wells:
What are Orthotics? Orthotic devices are external braces that are worn by a child or adult.
What are some reasons why my child might need to wear a brace?
- Provide stability
- Provide for proper musculoskeletal alignment
- Correct or accommodate a deformity
- To increase mobility and independence
What are the different types of orthotics? There are several different types of orthotics. Your physical therapist will complete an assessment along with an Orthotist (a skilled professional who will make the brace) to determine what orthotic will be most beneficial for your child.
Here are some common types of braces:
- Foot Orthotics: These are commonly called inserts and are placed inside of the shoe. They can be rigid or soft and can be custom-made or fitted.
- Ankle-Foot Orthotics: These braces look like they are in the shape of a L and control both the foot and ankle joint. This brace will go up to the mid-calf area and can be made out of metal, carbon fiber, or plastic.
- Knee Orthotic: This brace is worn to support the knee. The brace will go from above the knee to below the knee.
- Knee-Ankle Orthotics: These braces often abbreviated KAFOs allow for stabilization of the knee, ankle, and foot.
- Hip-Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthotics: These braces often abbreviated HKAFOs use a band or belt around the hip and support the knee, ankle, and foot joint.
If you have any questions about whether your child needs to wear a brace or about their current bracing, please don’t hesitate to ask your Physical Therapist.