Braces and Orthotic Devices for Children with Cerebral Palsy

Because children with cerebral palsy can’t take every day activities for granted, they have orthotic devices to assist them. Orthotic devices can sometimes grant independence as the devices improve strength and mobility. With comfort, this treatment allows children with cerebral palsy to try things on their own and to be happier in so doing. If your child has cerebral palsy and you’re looking at orthotic devices, keep reading so that you know what they are and how they help.

What is an Orthotic Device?

Orthotic devices are braces made for a child or an adult with cerebral palsy and are often prescribed by physicians, therapists, and orthopedic surgeons who are all together working on getting your child mobile and ambulatory. In fact, statistics now argue that two thirds of all children with cerebral palsy could walk if they have the proper orthotics to aid in their therapy. Generally, orthotic devices are classified into two groups: prefabricated braces called accommodative orthotics, varying in a number of sizes so as to fit any patient who is making the purchase, and generally referred to as “over the counter” orthotics as you can sometimes get them at pharmacies to assist with any kind of treatment. The other kind are called functional orthotics, braces that are made specifically for the individual and designed to support abnormal biomechanics.

Are All Braces Made Out of Hard Plastic?

Some braces are made out of hard plastic, but by way of both muscular training and realizing that each patient is different, there are other materials formed into braces as well. Braces can be hard, semi-soft, or soft, and are made out of metal, carbon fibers, leather, plastic, plastic polymers, and rubber. Braces are available for food orthotics, ankle-foot orthotics, hip-knee-ankle-foot orthotics, knee-ankle orthotics, knee orthotics, spinal orthotics, trunk-hip-knee-ankle-foot orthotics, and prophylactic braces. Additionally, patients undergoing foot orthotics may find support from accessories such as orthopedic shoes, shoe modifications, arch supports, and heel modifications such as cushioned heels, extended heels, heel elevation, heel flares, heel wedges, inner sole excavation, metatarsal bars, metatarsal pads, rocket bar, scapehold pads, sole flares, sole wedges, steel bars, and toe crests.

Where Do You Get All of These Orthotic Devices?

If you’re worried about going to your local pharmacy and being able to find these devices, don’t worry. If you have a child undergoing treatment, the occupational therapist and orthopedic surgeon will make these devices available to you. Your child’s therapeutic care is individualized, and therefore he or she may need functional orthotics made for him or her. Your therapist and surgeon will tell you for sure.

What Needs Do Braces Treat?

Cerebral palsy is a condition that starts in the brain and affects muscles tone and movement based on the brain health of the patient. Therapy and orthotic surgery varies depending on the special needs of the patient, but orthotic therapy with braces has been known to treat: knee or hip subluxation or dislocation; spastic movement; to correct, limit, or prevent deformities; low-tone pronation; high-tone pronation; swing-phase inconsistency; drop-foot; eversion; and inversion. Braces and orthotic devices strive to limit spasticity, to help with the transition from sitting to standing, help to create an environment where patients can make several steps in a series, help to establish a gait, reduce the potential for accidents, and increase strength, thereby increasing posture and limiting the possibility for deformity. For patients that learn to be more mobile, they may still be assigned braces to increase strength, to increase the range of motion, and to improve endurance.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Braces and Orthotic Devices?

The long-terms effects of braces and orthotic devices are worth considering as they make individuals with cerebral palsy happier as a whole. Physicians have noticed that orthotic devices: lower blood pressure and stress; they improve mobility, which leads to more independent play and a focus on building relationships; and reduce the risk of fall and the implied injuries that could come from that. Generally, individuals with cerebral palsy who have undergone a treatment with braces find themselves happier individuals with more goals and relationships.