Getting the Most from Your Brace

Getting the Most from Your Brace Getting the Most from Your Brace

How to get the most out of your AFO, knee brace, and KAFO.

These simple rules should help you get the best results from wearing your orthosis. Remember always to follow up with your doctor and follow his instructions, even if they differ from ours. He wrote the prescription so he always has the last word.

1. First, and foremost, this orthosis is a device to assist you in having the kind of fulfilling life you want to have. In some instances, it is a device to help an injury heal. It is not an indication that you are disabled, injured, or “less of a person”. Many people think of an orthosis that way, when it is not. It is simply a tool to help you do the activities you want to do, and should be treated as such. Orthoses today are designed to be as cosmetically pleasing as possible. Be aware that most orthoses are not as noticeable to others as you think they are.

2. Always communicate with your orthotist. Let he or she know what your activities are, what you would like them to be, and your goals. Your goals should be taken into consideration when the brace is designed. Discuss what it is you would like to get out of the device that is to be made. Some things to think about are pain relief, improved walking, a return to certain activities. If you have a question to ask, then ask it. Your orthotist should be honest and forthright with you. She should also be able to answer it in everyday, non specialist language. She should let you know what you can expect to gain from the brace. If she doesn’t, then ask. If you don’t ask it then we don’t know what you have understood.

3. Make sure that you have proper shoes when wearing your orthosis. The shoe should be lace up or Velcro, deep enough to accommodate the orthosis, and supportive. Athletic shoes, walking or running, work well. Do not try to use loafers, sandals, or moccasin type shoes, they do not work well with the orthosis. Wear knee high socks as well, so that your skin is cushioned from the plastic. Unless your orthotist has added a walking sole to the orthosis, do NOT wear it without a shoe.

4. If your orthosis has any joints in it, usually very little maintenance needs to be done. Make sure you understand how locking mechanisms work. Periodically, check screws to see if they have loosened. If the joints are metal and they get wet, a little WD-40 or silicone spray can be sprayed into them. Some joints have springs, so if you notice that the orthosis is not lifting your foot or not functioning correctly, please let your orthotist know. The springs may need to be replaced. Do not try to alter, cut or adjust your orthosis yourself because by doing that you could compromise the fit and the function of the brace. If you feel that there is something wrong with the fit or function, then come see us so that we can adjust or repair the orthosis properly

5. Let your orthotist know if you are getting redness or chaffing from the brace. Let him know especially if the redness does not fade within 20 minutes. This indicates that there is too much pressure on the skin from the brace. Do not continue to wear the orthosis, remove it until you can see your orthotist.

6. It is a good idea to follow up with your orthotist every 6 months to a year in order to have her check the fit of the device. If it is a child wearing the brace then it is a good idea to follow up every 4 to 6 months to check the fit. It may need to be replaced due to the child’s growth.

7. If you have allergies to latex or bananas, please let the orthotist know. Some materials that we use, like our gloves may contain latex. If you have allergies we can use hypoallergenic materials.

This information should help you to get the maximum benefit out of your orthosis. Happy wearing!

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