Essential Leg Brace Information
In terms of disabilities, physical therapy, or rehabilitation, leg braces are an excellent tool for improving one’s quality of life. Many people turn to such devices after suffering traumatic knee, foot, or ankle injury, whereas some choose to supplement chronic disabilities with supportive orthopedic braces. Regardless of need, leg braces serve an invaluable role in minimizing the effects of leg injuries or disabilities.
Before investing in metal leg braces, it is essential to understand the different types available and how they may be of use. Specific leg braces only serve specific conditions to address thus should be carefully chosen. Hence, it will be the physician’s call to determine what you need but doing research on it is also vital for the user. With this, one must also know the types of braces and its applications. Here are some of the common types of leg braces prescribed by physicians.
Common Types Of Leg Braces
- Ankle-Foot-Orthosis (AFO). As the name implies, these leg braces are designed to provide support and stability to the foot and ankle, without supplementing knee function. These devices typically attach to the calf and are fitted with supports in the ankle and foot region. Among leg braces for adults, AFO’s are very common. Due to their wide range of uses, AFO’s are suitable in treating a diverse array of orthopedic problems. Basic ankle injuries are frequently treated with AFO’s, and they have even been used by persons with multiple sclerosis, who have lost control of their extremities.
- Knee-Ankle-Foot-Orthosis (KAFO). KAFO’s are constructed similarly to AFO’s. KAFO’s, however, offer additional support to the knee, as well. These leg braces attach to the calf and above the knee in order to provide stability to the entire lower leg. Most KAFO’s are of highly durable construction.
- Hip-Knee-Ankle-Foot-Orthosis (HKAFO). This type of leg brace offers maximum support and stability to all areas below the hip. Although similar to the KAFO, HKAFO’s come with an extension which attaches to the midsection and provides pelvic support. These types of braces are perfect for persons with weakened hips and knees, as they make lateral motion much safer and effortless. HKAFO’s are generally utilized for persons with significant lower body paralysis, spina bifida, and hip dislocations.
Consulting a licensed Orthotics vendor is the best way to get optimal sizing. Leg braces women are typically fitted the same as those for men and children, albeit with different sizing patterns. The fit of leg braces is crucial, as an ill-fitting orthotic can fail to provide the intended features and cause pain and blistering.
Many Orthotics suppliers or physical therapy supplies will provide a comprehensive plan for adjusting to the feel of your leg braces. In many cases, it is recommended that wearing time be slowly extended with each use, so as to prevent chafing or painful wearing on the skin. Many patients find that wearing long, thick socks under their leg braces helps with these common issues.
Maintenance and upkeep of leg braces is very important, in order to keep them comfortable and fully functioning. For metal leg braces, it is a good idea to periodically oil the joints and moving parts of the brace. This prolongs the life of the brace and makes it much more effective and comfortable. Velcro straps should also be kept clean in order to maintain a secure and snug fit.
The cost of leg braces is dependent upon the type needed. In most cases, braces such as KAFO’s are more expensive, since they are large and more complex. Consulting your doctor and a qualified orthotics dealer is the best course of action in determining what type of leg braces you need.