The foot, ankle and lower leg are vulnerable to a variety of conditions, injuries and medical complications, which can lead to pain, weakness and deformity, making it difficult to walk safely and comfortably. From a child with “flat feet” to an older adult who has suffered from a stroke, there are a variety of supports, orthotics and braces which can provide pain relief, assist in walking and improve quality of life by improving function of the hip, knee ankle and foot. Braces can and are often used to provide stability, assist in rehabilitation, eliminate pain, reducing ones risk of falling, adding to the independence of a senior patient. Often these devices can fit into a patients existing footgear. All of the following devices are available through your ProActive Foot and Ankle podiatrist.
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 and correct for deformities, and improve the overall alignment of the foot, ankle, leg and lower limb. Orthotics can be used for conditions including knee pain, in-toe or out-toe walking in a young child, shin splints, tendonitis, heel pain, plantar fasciitis, bunion pain and a host of other foot conditions.
Ankle Brace and Supports: These braces are designed primarily to aid in ankle stability and for chronic ankle sprains and strains as well as following a fracture or surgery and for those rehabilitating from a foot or ankle injury. Types of supports include semi-rigid and rigid orthotics, rigid ankle orthotics, gel or air supports and custom ankle orthotics.
Ankle-Foot Orthoses (AFOs): AFOs are designed to provide support, proper joint alignment to the foot and ankle, assist or substitute for tendon or muscle weakness, improve walking and protect the foot and lower limb against further injury. Patients who suffer from severe tendonitis, such as Achilles or posterior tibial tendon pain, “drop foot” following a stroke or surgery and other conditions causing ankle weakness. This type of device is typically made from either leather, metal or plastic and are available in rigid, semi-rigid and hinged. Advanced devices allow for “spring assist” leading to a much more normal gait pattern.
Lower Extremity Walker Boots: Walker boots, also known as CAM walkers or CAM boots, are designed to aid in foot and ankle stability by limiting range of motion of the foot and ankle and reducing pressure while walking. Walker boots are designed with a solid or articulating ankle joint to accommodate for the treatment of injuries, stress fractures and acute fractures, tendonitis and other chronic conditions or disease. Each walking boot has a removable inner lining to protect the skin from breakdown, ankle pads and air bladders for additional stability and comfort, as well as a rocker bottom sole to provide smooth walking pattern.
Lower Extremity Soft Supports: Often referred to as soft goods, these types of braces include those that are fabricated and manufactured from neoprene, canvas, and fabric and can be reinforced with metal or plastic stays for additional support. Soft supports are often used to stabilize an injured area to allow for less pain during walking.
Night Splints: These braces are designed for patients suffering from plantar fasciitis and other similar tendon and joint problems as well as following foot and ankle surgery. They allow for comfort, protection and stability while sleeping and resting.
Given modern materials and technology, these braces are often custom made to be comfortable and light weight while providing excellent support, reducing pain and deformity and allowing the patient the ability to get back to their lifestyle. Braces and orthotics for young children to those of advanced age can provide improved quality of life.
If you suffer from a lower extremity issue, whether from a medical condition, surgery, injury or trauma, a ProActive Foot and Ankle podiatrist can work with you in selecting the appropriate brace, orthotic or device which will best address your particular need.