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Lower extremity orthotics describe orthoses, braces and supports designed for the leg, hip, knee, ankle and foot and can be used for a range of needs from stability to immobilization. Lower extremity orthotics can work independently or in conjunction with one another to create a wide range of options from simple leg orthotics to a complex reciprocating gait orthotics with a custom-made orthopedic shoe.
Foot Orthotics (Shoe Inserts): Foot orthotics are
designed to evenly distribute pressure over the entire plantar surface
of the foot, alleviate areas that may be sensitive or painful,
accommodate/correct for deformities, and improve the overall alignment
of the foot, ankle complex, leg and lower limb. Categories of foot orthoses
include accommodative, corrective, rigid, semi-rigid and soft.
Ankle Supports: These
orthoses are designed primarily to aid in ankle stability and for
chronic ankle sprains and strains. Types of support include semi-rigid
rigid orthosis, rigid ankle orthosis, gel or air orthosis and custom
ankle orthotics that are custom made to the patient's foot.
Ankle-Foot Orthoses (AFOs): AFOs are designed to
provide support, proper joint alignment to the foot and ankle, assist or
substitute for muscle weakness, and protect the foot and lower limb.
This type of orthoses typically comes in either metal or plastic and
come in rigid, semi-rigid and articulated.
Lower Extremity Walker Boots: Walker boots are
designed to aid in foot and ankle stability and limit range of motion of
the lower extremity. Walker boots are designed with a solid or
articulating ankle joint to accommodate for the treatment of injuries,
fractures, chronic conditions or disease. Each orthosis has a removable
inner lining to protect the skin from breakdown, malleolar (ankle) pads
for additional stability and comfort, and a rocker bottom sole to
provide smooth walking pattern. Lower Extremity Soft Supports: Often
referred to as soft goods, these orthoses include those braces that are
fabricated and manufactured from neoprene, canvas, and fabric and can
be reinforced with metal or plastic stays for additional support.
Functional Knee Orthosis: Functional knee orthoses
are designed to aid in the stability of the knee joint secondary to
ligament injury, postoperative reconstruction, meniscus damage, and for
preventative protection. These orthoses are designed to provide maximum
stability to the knee joint. Injury to the ligaments of the knee cause
unwanted motion between the femur and the tibia. If left untreated, this
can create significant joint laxity, lead to degenerative joint changes
and put the patient at risk for further injury and cause subsequent
damage to the surrounding structures. Functional knee orthoses can be
made by the patient's measurements or by a custom model of the patient’s
leg.Knee Immobilizer: Knee immobilizers are
often used to stabilize and immobilize the lower extremity
postoperatively and during the acute stage of knee injuries. They
provide maximum immobilization of the knee joint and compression.Knee Ankle Foot Orthoses (KAFOs): KAFOs
are designed to provide support, proper joint alignment to the knee,
foot and ankle, assist or substitute for muscle weakness, and protect
the foot and lower limb. KAFOs can be made from a variety of materials
from metal to plastic. Other names include: posterior offset knee joint,
stance control, locked knee, drop lock, bail or French lock and trigger
Lower Extremity Fracture Orthoses or Distal Tibia/Fibular Fracture Orthosis: Distal
tibial/fibular fractures can be treated with a walker boot or tibial
fracture orthosis. Your physician determines which style of orthosis is
best indicated for your fracture stabilization.
Reciprocating Gait Orthoses (RGO’s): Reciprocating
gait is defined as putting one foot in front of the other. RGO’s were
designed to help patients that suffer from spinal cord injury,
myelomeningocele, spina bifida, and other paralytic disorders walk.
Often patients who have sustained paralysis to their lower extremities
require the assistance of orthotic devices to walk. One such device, a
reciprocating gait orthosis (RGO), is designed to provide as normal
method of movement as possible for paraplegic patients. Hip Abduction Orthosis: Hip
abduction orthoses are designed to maintain appropriate anatomical
alignment of the hip or prosthetic hip replacement. The components
include a hip/pelvic girdle, thigh cuff, and hip joint. The joints are
usually adjustable and set in some degree of flexion and abduction. This
alignment positions the head of the femur in the acetabulum allowing
for the ligaments, bone, and surrounding musculature to heal. These
devices are also used to stabilize patients who suffer from chronic
subluxation or dislocation of the hip. Sequential Compression Therapy: These
devices are placed around the limb that operative with intermittent
compression to aid in controlling lymphedema and venous return. These
are often used in hospitals following surgery to help prevent blood
clots and aid in lower extremity circulation.Compression Stockings: Compression stockings are gradient stockings that help control edema/lymphedema and aid in venous return.
This first ever orthotronic device, which combines the science of mechatronics (mechanical, electronic, computer, and systems design engineering) with custom orthotics, is helping people walk, despite paralysis due to incomplete spinal cord injury, post-polio syndrome, and other debilitating physical conditions.
ExoSym™ is a hybrid prosthetic-orthotic device combined with a specialized care program. This innovative limb salvage solution is designed to help patients achieve functional potential, reduce pain and return to an active lifestyle.
Stance control orthoses (SCOs) are a newer type of KAFO that use advanced technology to lock the knee while standing and allow the knee to be in free motion during the swing phase of your normal walking.
WalkAide® is an advanced medical device that provides immediate and dramatic improvement in walking for certain people with foot drop. It’s the recommended foot drop treatment for cases caused by stroke, multiple sclerosis (MS), incomplete spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury or cerebral palsy.