Orthotic Management 

Orthotics, commonly known as a brace or a splint, are designed with one of two primary aims: to affect the body structure or to assist function. Physical therapists will refer for orthotics for the spine, hip, knee, or foot. Lower extremity orthotics can correct or prevent deformity, provide base of support, facilitate movement, and improve gait efficiency. The therapists work closely with the orthotist for recommendations on the best orthotic for your child.

Uses and Benefits:
  • To Correct or Prevent Joint Deformity:
    • Fixed deformity: accommodate the atypical alignment to prevent further muscle contracture as the alignment cannot be passively corrected
    • Mobile deformity: place the shortened muscle in an elongated or corrected alignment for long periods throughout the day to elongate the muscle or to slow the rate of contracture
  • To Provide Base of Support:
    • Spinal orthosis: improve trunk alignment, encouraging independent postural control
    • Hip orthosis: Widen base of support, improving seated balance and stability
    • Foot orthosis: increase foot surface contact area with floor, improving standing balance
  • Facilitate Movement:
    • Maintain optimal alignment of joints, improvement movement fluidity and mechanics
    • Stabilize distal joints while strengthening unrestricted parts of the body, therefore improving control
    • Stabilize the trunk to encourage head control
  • Improve Gait Efficiency:
    • Stabilize the limb in stance phase by increasing surface contact with the floor
    • Reducing hypermobility
    • Assist foot with clearance during swing phase
    • Promoting heel-toe pattern to improve forward weight shift and increase step length
Orthotic management can be helpful in managing impairments related to the following conditions:
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Down Syndrome
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Spina Bifida
  • Charcot-Marie-Tooth
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral Nerve Injuries
  • Scoliosis
  • Gait abnormalities including toe walking and foot drop
  • Club foot
  • Orthopedic Conditions
  • Plagiocephaly
  • Pain
  • Genetic Syndromes