Orthopaedic braces are specially designed orthopaedic devices that are made to serve several purposes in a person's body. The most widely used applications of orthopaedic braces include controlling, guiding, limiting and immobilizing a joint or a body segment for various reasons, restricting body parts from moving to certain directions, assisting body parts to move in some specific directions, reducing weight exerted on a specific body part, assisting in the rehabilitation of body parts from certain fractures and damages and to some extend assisting in correcting the shape and function of body parts.
The main idea in designing orthopedic braces is to treat and prevent physical impairments which may affect some parts of the body such as teeth, legs, knees, wrist, arms, hands, thighs and the spine. The most commonly used braces are the knee braces, leg braces and thigh braces which are used to prevent injuries that may occur in athletes who are involved in high contact games.
Different materials are used to make braces and the most commonly used materials include plastic, elastic and metals. Braces are readily available for local purchase but others require a physician's prescription before they are used.
Orthopedic problems that are commonly treated using orthopedic braces include jumper's knee, knee tendonitis, scoliosis, meniscus tear, knee pain, wrist tendonitis, patellar tendonitis and many other conditions that may affect joints and bones.
Some of the commonly used orthopedic braces include:-
Upper limb orthopedic braces are devices that are designed for external use to improve functional characteristics of the musculoskeletal and the nervous system. Problems affecting the musculoskeletal may occur due to trauma, sports and injuries obtained from work.
The other type of orthopedic braces is the lower limb braces. The braces are designed for external use on the lower segment of the body. They improve the functioning of this part of the body by controlling motion, stabilizing gait, reducing pain and correcting flexible deformities.
Spinal orthopedic braces are designed to assist people with neck and back problems. The condition that is commonly treated using this type of orthopedic brace is referred to as scoliosis. This condition is an issue of concern in many adolescent female who are mindful of their appearance.
Foot braces are designed to be used on different parts of the leg. These braces may include knee braces which are fixed on the knee to correct some defects on the knee, thigh braces which are specifically put on the thigh and ankle braces which surround the ankle and a potion of the foot.
Braces that are worn on the wrist help in correcting defects that may affect the wrist due to injuries caused by over working.
Orthopedic braces may be custom made to suit the client's requirements. Such braces become useful when they meet the desired design and the orthotist assists the client in fitting the brace. Pre-molded orthopedic braces are also available in various retail outlets and they can be bought without a doctor's prescription. Their sizes, colors and shape also vary greatly. Online purchases can also be made through various online shopping services.
In general, the main functions of orthopedic braces are treating injuries, immobilization of joints, tissue repairing, replacing lost functions and encouraging body movements.