Using Orthoses to Improve Walking in Pediatrics

Children can benefit from orthoses whenever they have trouble walking. Your doctor may recommend that they get orthoses to improve their stability. Although some parents worry that there’s a stigma attached to orthoses in Farmingdale, NY, it’s wise to take advantage of these tools whenever they’re available. The earlier your child learns to correct their walking, the easier it will be.

Here’s a brief overview of orthoses and how they’re used.

What are orthoses?

Orthoses are braces that are worn on the body to help stabilize the limb or provide support. Although the name sounds similar, they’re not like prostheses—those replace missing limbs. If your child needs orthoses, they can help them regain mobility and reduce pain or fall risks.

Orthoses are designed to be worn close to the skin, so they’ll fit underneath most clothing. They may be worn part- or full-time, depending on why your child needs them to walk.

Generally, it takes some time to get used to orthoses. You can prepare your child for a “breaking-in” period by teaching them why the orthoses are important, and when they can expect to be fully comfortable. Your doctor will also help you determine what kind of shoes, socks and other clothing will work best with the orthosis. In some cases, they might need to wear leggings or socks underneath to prevent abrasions and pressure wounds.

How can orthoses help my child walk?

There are several types of orthoses that may help your child walk. Here are some of the most common:

  • Ankle-foot orthoses: This type of orthosis is a brace that covers the foot and ankle area. They might be completely rigid if the joint needs to be immobilized, or flexible to encourage movement in appropriate ways. Your doctor may recommend a custom orthosis, but there are plenty of off-the-rack versions available. Ankle-foot orthoses are commonly used to treat people with multiple sclerosis, including those with foot drop. Symptoms often include muscle weakness, fatigue and sensory issues. Ankle-foot orthoses can help treat ankle weakness.
  • Resting splints: Resting splints are used to combat muscle contractions or tone that cause stiff joints. These resting orthoses are often used in conjunction with stretching to keep the ankles or knees supported in the proper position. They often produce a passive stretch.
  • Insoles: If your child has abnormal walking patterns, or pressure and pain on the sole, custom insoles can be created. Alternatively, pre-made insoles may work equally well—ask your doctor what they recommend.

Ultimately, orthoses can dramatically improve your child’s walking patterns, motion and flexibility. If your doctor suggests using orthoses for walking in Farmingdale, NY, know that early intervention is the key to improving your child’s lifelong mobility. Although there may be some stigma surrounding these devices, the payoff—an easier, less painful time walking—is very much worth it.

If you need orthoses for your children, the experts at Prothotic Laboratories, Inc. can help. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our innovative designs and high-quality materials.