The Nr. 1 Resource for Medical Braces

Medical Braces Complete Advice Guide

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The body is an amazing piece of work that every cell, every tissue, every muscle, every ligament, every joint and bone works in a harmonious manner to make the body stand up, walk, run and do all the things that a normal human can do today. Do you know what happens when the human body suffers an injury to the bone or joints? Strength and stability is compromised. This ranges from mild to moderate to severe. Sometimes, it even becomes life threatening.

But since we have an increasing number of medical doctors with orthopedic specialty, they do work wonders in giving every human being who has been involved in an accident or was injured a chance of functioning normally once again.

Medical Braces: An Overview

Medical braces are specific tools and devices that address a certain medical condition that could have been inborn or a result of an injury or an accident. It helps bring back strength, balance, and / or independence to people who have been injured or recently went through surgery.

These devices help build stability and makes patients more comfortable as they undergo therapy towards attaining independence once again. These are also suggested if the physician deems it is necessary in order to prevent further injuries as could be predicted from various diagnostic studies.

Originally designed for management of various musculoskeletal disorders, medical braces are useful for both chronic conditions and acute injuries. Its main purposes are to improve physical function, decrease pain, and if possible, slow disease progression.

For example, further damage is prevented by a brace or a cast as it renders the body part immobile. This is especially useful in unstable joints and fractures and is also be used to take off load from a body part to improve pain and eliminate range of motion to give time for the body part to heal itself.

The body is a wondrous piece of creation with many things that science cannot answer up until now. Bones, for example, can grow and heal themselves for as long as the injury is not extensive and severe. However, most of the time, bones do need help to recover and heal and medical braces could serve as a start of a helpful rehabilitative program. Let us get to know the different types of medical braces.

  1. Foot and Ankle Braces

Short Air Cam Walker Fracture Boot foot braceMost of you probably had ankle sprains or strains at least once in your life or you know someone else who did. Do you remember the thing they put around the ankle? Those are foot and ankle braces. It is basically a garment that is designed to be worn around the ankle protecting the part of foot that becomes usually sprained which is around the joint area.

Foot and ankle medical braces are used to immobilize the joint to pave way for healing. Sometimes it also used to protect the ankle from injuries especially when one is involved in sports where injuries are imminent. These are also often used in rehabilitation process. Sometimes, different medical conditions call for different brace material and procedures.

Normally, foot and ankle braces are made up of rigid fabric like that of the nylon and neoprene to still allow limited mobility and held together by Velcro to ensure a proper fit. At times, adhering is needed and there are situations where metal plates are incorporated for better immobilization of the joint.

Examples of medical situations where foot and ankle braces must be used are ankle trauma without fracture, postoperative synovitis (link), joint immobilization, degenerative sprain, and joint inflammations. Athletes who play basketball, soccer, and rugby are also at high risk for sprains and therefore sometimes use foot and ankle braces to prevent such.

However, some say that ankle braces also have drawbacks given that there simply are people who feel that they are inconvenient and burdensome. Skin irritations can happen and fit is of major concern. In the end, what patients must understand is that foot and ankle braces are only a part of the general rehabilitation program and cannot provide 100% correction.

  1. Knee Braces

Neo G Medical Grade VCS Stabilized Open Knee brace with Patella SupportThese are often used to provide comfort to a painful or injured knee. It helps reduce pain as it shifts the weight off of the problematic knee, thus, letting you get around more comfortably without the danger of causing more damage to the damaged portion.

Knee braces today come in a variety of designs and are usually made from a combination of both rigid and flexible materials. It should provide just the right support with comfort. For that, it usually has synthetic rubber or some foam padding that molds perfectly to the knee. Basically, there are four types of knee braces. Let us discuss each shortly:

    • Prophylactic – These are the ones commonly advised by sports rehab doctors to be used to protect the knees especially in contact sports.
    • Functional braces – These are specifically for knees, which have already been injured. They are designed to provide support and relieve some of the pain.
    • Rehabilitative braces – This is designed to provide ultimate support for knees that are healing after an injury or a surgery. They limit knee movement to a minimum therefore allowing the knee to fully heal and recover.
    • Patellofemoral braces – These are designed to assist the kneecap in moving smoothly over the knee joint which prevents further injuries and avoid pain.

Different knee problems call for different knee braces. However, this should only be used when advised by a physician and one thing to keep in mind when choosing for a knee brace is that the most expensive is not always the best.

  1. Shoulder Braces and Slings

Mcdavid Light Shoulder Support BraceAssisting a patient after injury in a variety of ways, shoulder braces and slings provide reliable support to the shoulder and it compress the surrounding skin and tissues as well. It reduces range of motion to decrease the high risk of dislocation in an already injured shoulder.

Experts also think that shoulder braces and slings provide a placebo effect. For example, in athletes who have been experiencing pain in the shoulders, this provides comfort and assurance that their shoulders are well taken care of, therefore, helping them feel better.

If you are wondering why compressing the surrounding skin is important for a shoulder brace and sling, this is because this is believed to enhance the skin receptors that sends messages to the brain about the shoulder position. Researches have led to the conclusion that those with subluxation or dislocation tend to have decreased awareness of the unstable shoulder.

Lastly, shoulder braces and slings offer skin protection, which is of high importance to protect the shoulder from bumps and knocks that could increase pain in the body part. If you are thinking of using a shoulder brace or sling mainly for protection, you might want to use the neoprene ones widely available in the market. In addition, such can also be used during sports.

Different types of shoulder braces and slings include arm immobilizers, sling and swathe, shoulder stabilizer, shoulder support, shoulder harness, shoulder wrap, shoulder protector, and reinforced shoulder braces.

  1. Wrist Support Braces

Mueller Fitted Right Wrist BraceWrist support braces are not only used for wrist injuries, they are also used for normal wear and tear or more commonly referred to as carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury. Wrist injuries are classified into two – acute injuries, which are caused by immediate damage as what would happen in an accident or injury and overuse injuries, which are what happens when there is just too much burden put to the wrist and it cannot catch up on the healing process anymore.

Mainly for protection and healing, wrist support braces basically immobilize the joint and provide heat and compression to the bones and the surrounding ligaments at the wrist area. They are normally made from rigid tissue nylon fabrics or neoprene with Velcro for a better and more comfortable fit. For severe cases, metal spines are incorporated to render the joint immobile.

Other known uses of wrist braces are wrist trauma without fracture, postoperative conditions such as carpal tunnel surgery, synovitis, tendinitis, joint immobilization, degenerative sprains, and articulation inflammations. In sports, these offer protection especially with those that require the wrist to lift extraordinary weight such as in weight lifting and/or bodybuilding.

  1. Ankle Braces

Bracoo Breathable Neoprene Ankle Support BraceAnkle braces heal and prevent injuries. Given that ankle sprain remains one of the most common sports-related injuries all over the world, wearing ankle braces, splints, and the likes proves to be a practical method to avoid injury.

It has been said that ankle bracing evolved from ankle taping. It provides more advantages being easy to apply, reusable, comfortable, and re-adjustable. In addition, it is three times less expensive than ankle taping. Experts also believe that ankle braces are more effective but should never take the place of aggressive rehabilitation in the form of continuous physical therapy.

  1. Posture Braces

High quality Posture Support Brace and CorrectorPosture braces are used to tread medical conditions such as abnormal spinal development and injuries. They come in different types, suitable for different conditions: posture braces, posture corrections shirts and prenatal supports.

The postures braces and the most strongest and corrective types mainly used for heavy treatments and abnormal spinal corrections. The posture correction shirts and a lighter type and will provide more relieve to the personal than actual correction of the posture. The special prenatal supports are used for pregnant women to support their body for the heavy unborn child.

  1. Cervical Neck Braces

Pacific Collar Semi-Rigid Neck Pain BraceThis is actually the most common type of a cervical neck spine brace that can be used for a variety of purposes including neck stabilization after cervical spine surgery or neck trauma or injury such as a whiplash injury. You probably have seen cervical neck braces on people who fell and might have hurt their neck or those involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Cervical neck braces are also called collars, cervical collars, or its most famous term, C-collars. There are different types of cervical collars. Let us discuss each type briefly:

    • Soft and Hard Collars – These are the most flexible type as it is made from polyurethane foam rubber. They can be easily wrapped around the neck rendering it instantly immobile being further secured with Velcro. Soft collars are used when the worst part is over and healing process is about to end. It serves as a helpful transition from a hard brace onto no braces at all. Hard collars, on the other hand, are made of polyethylene and provide absolute support and pain relief.
    • Philadelphia Collar – This is a stiff foam collar that is composed of two parts that are secured with Velcro as well. They support not just the neck but the lower jaw and upper thoracic spine too. This type offers the most are coverage, therefore, also has the greatest movement restrictions.
    • Halo Device – This is the most rigid among all the types and is used to totally prevent the head and neck from any movement. This also serves as a spinal traction and is frequently helpful for those with scoliosis.
    • Sterno-Occipital-Mandibular Immobilization Device – This is another rigid cervical brace that aligns the neck with the spine while rendering immobility for the head and neck. This type is used for those who have severe neck injuries or cervical pain caused by a chronic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  1. Elbow Braces and Wraps

DashSport Elbow BraceThe human body remains a mystery. Some bones and joints need to be rendered immobile for them to heal faster while there are certain types of injuries where the joints and bones do not benefit from any restriction. The elbow is a great example of a part within the body where it does not need full restriction to heal itself.

The reason behind this is because elbows consist mostly of muscle and tendon. However, if the bone is totally broken, then that would be another case. But remember that for as long as your elbow is now broken, it does not have to be in a cast and that elbow braces and wraps should do the trick.

Elbow pain is usually alarming because of the terrible shooting pain that patients panic most of the time especially if they do not have any idea about tennis elbow pain. Yes tennis players are the ones who frequently get this and need elbow braces and wraps but everyone can get this especially those whose elbows are frequently subjected to physical activities that lead to wear and tear.

Physicians frequently advise that once you feel there is pain somewhere around the elbow, have it checked immediately so that preventive measures such as elbow braces and wraps can be prescribed and any further damage can be prevented.

A serious case of elbow pain could be a tendon tear which poses a bigger problem as that it does not totally heal and that they gradually break down up to the point where the pain becomes unbearable and surgery is the only option left.

  1. Finger and Thumb Support

Palo Medical aPallo Day and Night Wrist Two Brace SystemSince we now live in a world where most jobs consist of sitting in front of a computer and probably typing most of the day, finger and thumb problems have greatly increased. However, most people try to disregard this for as long as they can. They try to endure the pain because most people are not aware that there are various finger and thumb supports readily available in the market today.

There now are various finger and thumb splints available which greatly help those who suffer from joint arthritis (including finger joints), rheumatoid arthritis, DeQuervain’s, tendinitis, and ulnar deviation. From Buddy Loops where the only the affected fingers are wrapped to finger and wrist sling, and up to neoprene hand wraps, all provide a relatively easy and non-surgical treatment for painful fingers, thumb, and even wrist.

Your physician may also require you to undergo some sort of hand therapy where you will be taught special exercises to encouraged normal gliding of the tendon along with some anti-inflammatories to reduce inflammation.

One of the most common conditions that require finger and thumb support are trigger finger and trigger thumb which comes as a result of tendon thickening from constant irritation as what usually happens with rheumatoid arthritis, repeated trauma from grasping the steering wheel for extended hours, and infections. You know you have this when one of your fingers or thumb is bent and cannot be straightened out without you writhing in pain.

There are many different kinds of medical braces and a consultation with your doctor will help you find the best kind that will fit your needs and provide you with the best opportunity to improve your condition.