Orthoses

Treatment with Orthoses
 

Orthoses are orthopaedic tools that aim to restore or secure the position of certain parts of the body. They are often used following accidents, surgery, or for inherent misalignment or age-related deterioration. Orthoses take the form of a splint made from plastic or similar stable materials to ensure that joints are controlled and stabilised.

They are very similar to orthopaedic supports in terms of their mechanical mode of action. There are differences, however. For instance, while orthopaedic supports enable the affected person to be mobile as much as possible, orthoses are made from rigid materials so that movement is restricted or prevented in specific areas.


Mode of action in Orthoses

Imagine a roller-coaster where the cars represent human joints and the rails represent orthoses. The curves of the roller-coaster symbolise the scope of movement in the joints. Essentially, the cars are held in place on the rails using orthoses.

One orthosis for the wrist is designed using this concept; it is a splint which rests in the palm of the hand and brings the wrist to a neutral position. This ensures optimal blood flow in this area and makes the immobilisation of the wrist as comfortable as possible. This orthosis is used after post-surgery measures have been taken and also in cases of acute and chronic inflammation/excessive load in the area of the thumb and forearm, or severe sprains in the wrist.

Depending on the symptoms, there are also types of orthoses that can be disabled during the healing process to allow a slow restoration of mobility in gradual steps. One clear advantage of an orthosis over a cast in the healing process is that an orthosis can be removed for cleaning. Soft knitted fabric can also be inserted into the structure of the orthosis for additional comfort while wearing it.
 

A man fitted with an Orthosis opens a jar.Orthoses are made from rigid materials.

Orthoses to protect the ankle joint when a ligament is torn

A ligament can tear if the ankle joint is twisted. In these instances, and also during follow-up treatment of fractures in the ankle area, a stabilisation splint is used to prevent the ankle from twisting sideways and to enable a rolling movement of the foot despite the ligament being damaged and unstable. As a result, the patient can move again because neither the entire foot or the entire leg is immobilised. A good example of such a medical aid is the Dynamics Plus Ankle Support , which is an ankle orthosis. Its knitted microfibre fabric with an open cellular structure ensures optimal ventilation and efficient moisture-wicking.

 

Ortheses for injuries to ligaments in the knee

Orthoses for the knee create a stable structure around the joint. This structure acts as a replacement for the damaged ligaments. Usually, they are fitted with swivel hubs which can be set at different angles. This way, movement is enabled step by step. The Dynamics Knee Orthosis , for example, provides the joint with a well-defined range of movement, which can be adjusted to suit your individual needs. The four swivel hub ensures that normal movement of the knee is simulated in an optimal way.

Post-surgery use of the resting knee splint

After surgical intervention in the knee, in many cases, the joint must be kept in place for some time. This ensures that the injury can heal while it is resting and also ensures that the knee recovers internally. Depending on the type of surgery, the joint can be at different angles during the rest period. For this purpose, the resting knee splint can be set to different angles so that the knee can heal correctly depending on the indications. It is also important (with certain splints) that the range of movement is adjustable because swelling can often occur after surgery.

Counteracting pain in the thumb during Chronic Rhizarthrosis

Rhizarthrosis (arthritis in the base of the thumb) occurs when the thumb saddle joint (the lower root joint at the base of the thumb) is worn down. Arthritic problems arise because the cartilage in the joint wears away. If this is at an advanced stage, the bones rub against each other. A thumb orthosis can stabilise the thumb saddle joint and keep it fixed in a functional position. This ensures that mobility in the adjoining joints and also the gripping ability in these joints are retained as the saddle joint is immobilised painlessly. It is advised that sufferers of rhizarthrosis continue using orthosis for the long term.

 

Resting splints

Resting splints are used when a part of the body is to be kept in place for a set period to facilitate the healing process such as when bones are fractured. 

In cases of torn ligaments, such as the achilles tendon , it is possible to insert heel wedges into a walker (splint for foot and leg). The foot will thus be set into a splay foot position initially so that the tendon can start to heal back up again. Smaller and smaller wedges can then be used in gradual steps so that the foot can eventually return to its usual 90-degree angle. It is possible to set the joint in a neutral position for healing as well. Depending on the indications or type of injury, there are, for example, resting knee splints which can keep the knee in place at different angles.

 

Corrective splints

Generally, corrective splints set in place or immobilise the affected body part but can also target and correct the misalignment of muscles, joints or bones. They can be used, for example, as night splints for the fairly common condition hallux valgus (also known as a bunion, which is a bony bump on the inside of the foot, caused by misalignment of the big toe). When suffering from this condition, the base joint turns the toe so that it slides under the smaller toes next to it. Corrective night splints (worn overnight when asleep) attempt to gently return the toe to its original position. They are also adjustable, depending on which form they take. In very serious forms, however, this is no longer possible although it can provide relief. Furthermore, compared to immobilisation splints, corrective splints can also be worn in the long term after surgical intervention to prevent further pain from arising.

 

Please note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.