Orthoses for the lower extremity refers to all external bracing applied to the body below the waist and can include the following:
Hip abduction orthoses are designed to maintain appropriate anatomical alignment of the hip or prosthetic hip replacement. The components include a hip/pelvic girdle, thigh cuff, and a hip joint which is usually adjustable and set in some degree of flexion and abduction. This alignment positions the head of the femur in the socket allowing for the ligaments, bone, and surrounding muscles to heal. These devices are also used to stabilize patients who suffer from chronic subluxation or dislocation of the hip.
For patients suffering from mild to moderate hip osteoarthritis (OA), the Ossur Unloader® Hip brace is designed to reduce pain by optimizing load dispersion and proprioceptive control, thus contributing to hip stability and improved mobility.
There is a huge variety of knee braces available, either over-the-counter, custom-made from measurements or custom-made from a cast and molded to the client.
Braces can be used post-surgery, post-injury, prophylactically to optimize performance in sport, or for diagnoses like osteoarthritis (OA) to increase function and lessen pain. It is imperative for the right knee brace to be used for the right diagnosis, and for a custom fit.
Functional lower extremity knee orthoses are designed to aid in the stability of the knee joint secondary to ligament injury, postoperative reconstruction, meniscus damage, and for preventative protection. These orthoses are designed to provide maximum stability to the knee joint. Injury to the ligaments of the knee causes unwanted motion between the femur and the tibia. If left untreated, this can create significant joint laxity, lead to degenerative joint changes and put the patient at risk for further injury and cause subsequent damage to the surrounding structures.
Knee immobilizers are often used to stabilize and immobilize the lower extremity postoperatively or during the acute stage of knee injuries. They provide maximum immobilization of the knee joint as well as compression.
Knee Ankle Foot Orthoses (KAFOs) are designed to provide support, proper joint alignment to the knee, foot and ankle, assist or substitute for muscle weakness, and protect the foot and lower limb.
Ankle Supports are designed primarily to aid in ankle stability and for chronic ankle sprains and strains. Types of support include semi-rigid orthoses, rigid ankle orthoses, and gel or air orthoses. Custom ankle orthoses are custom made to the patient’s foot from a hand-casted plaster mold.
Ankle-Foot Orthoses (AFOs) are designed to provide support, proper joint alignment to the foot and ankle, assist muscle weakness, and protect the foot and lower limb. This type of orthosis is typically manufactured using plastic, metal and/or carbon fibre and can be rigid, semi-rigid or articulated. AFOs are often used for patients post-stroke, or with MS (Multiple Sclerosis), spina bifida, cerebral palsy or CMT (Charcot Marie Tooth).
Foot orthotics (shoe inserts/insoles) are designed to evenly distribute pressure over the entire plantar surface of the foot, alleviate areas that may be sensitive or painful, accommodate/correct for deformities, and improve the overall alignment of the lower limb. Categories of foot orthotics include accommodative, corrective, rigid, semi-rigid and soft.