Are Assistive Devices Right For You?
Do you need the aid of a knee brace, back brace, or orthotics?
Assistive devices are no secret. In fact, by 2030, two billion people will need at least one assistive device.
However, despite the need for such devices, it can be a challenge to find the correct fitting device. Without the right information, you or a loved one may purchase a device that does not provide any actual aid, and potentially causes more harm.
What Are Assistive Devices?
Assistive Devices is an umbrella term that covers a wide variety of devices that aid the user with maintaining or improving their functioning and independence.
Types of Assistive Devices includes:
- Visual and hearing aids
- Orthotic or prosthetic devices
- Mobility devices like wheeled walkers and wheelchairs
- Speech Devices
- Respiratory devices
Each of these categories of devices promote well-being and serve to improve your lifestyle. However, it can be a challenge to decide what device best suits your particular needs.
Below, we’ve dialed into orthotic devices, as well as devices such as knee and back braces, to help you decide what type of aid you need.
Assistive Devices for Walking
Even the smallest problem in your feet can impact the way you walk, ultimately affecting the rest of your body. This can result in placing added stress on other joints throughout your whole body simply because of an issue in your foot.
Also known as prescription orthotics, custom orthotics are biomechanical medical devices that look like insoles designed to correct any improper foot function.
They are worn inside your shoe and can provide support, proper alignment and balance, and help correct any walking imperfections.
However, it is important that you seek our professional advice before purchasing any orthotic footwear.
According to the Pedorthic Association of Canada, orthotic footwear that is custom-made by a trained professional using 3D moulds is more effective than over-the-counter orthoses. This is because custom orthotics can target specific needs.
Custom Knee Braces
By using a knee brace, you are off-loading any stress placed on the joints in your knees to diminish any pain and stiffness. Essentially, it takes any pressure off the injured parts of your knee, and places it on the healthy parts.
Some common conditions that can be treated with knee braces include:
- Patellofemoral Syndrome
- Jumper’s Knee
- Ligamentous knee injuries (ACL, MCL, LCL, and PCL)
Knee braces are proven to provide good, short-term relief for patients. In some cases, they can potentially reduce the need for surgery.
Custom knee braces are available, however off-the-shelf knee braces can work depending on your needs as well.
Shop for the Assistive Device YOU Need
For those who suffer from venous medical issues, compression stockings are vital to the recovery process. Compression stockings aid venous return, decrease pressure, and prevent further venous stasis and deterioration of the venous walls.
Similar to custom orthotics, compression stockings should be applied with the aid of a trained professional. Depending on your condition, different levels of support – mild, moderate, or firm – may be needed.
Compression stockings can treat:
- Heavy legs
- Chronic venous diseases
- Blood vessel malformations
- Leg ulcers
Similar to a knee brace, ankle braces provide compression support for the ankle in the case of any strains or injuries. They primarily help by limiting movement while providing pressure on any affected areas. This allows for injured tissue to return to a healthy state.
You may want to wear an ankle brace – or a custom ankle brace in more serious situations – for support in the case of a strain, or afterwards to prevent any future injuries.
Assistive Devices for Hands
Custom Wrist Braces
Wrist braces can be used for various reasons. Primarily, it is used for rehabilitation in the case of any injuries by keeping the wrist joint immobilized, but a wrist brace can also be used for protection from sports injuries, to provide heat that soothes any damaged tissue, and prevent swelling.
Wrist braces, especially custom-made ones, should be lightweight and comfortable. They can be used to treat:
- Repetitive injuries
- Trauma from twisting or bending
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
An injury in your elbow, whether it be a strain, overextension, or tennis elbow, can cause crippling pain that limits motion and impacts your day-to-day life.
Elbow braces are designed to aid in that recovery process by providing support and stability for elbow joints and the surrounding area. By reducing inflammation and adding compression, these braces can help return your regular motion to your arms.
Assistive Devices for Your Back and Shoulders
Custom Back Braces
Back braces can be absolutely necessary in preventing any problems from progressing into dangerous spinal injuries. In fact, in the case of teenagers, wearing a back brace to aid the recovery process of the most common form of scoliosis, is proven to help prevent the need for future, painful spine surgery.
Custom back braces are designed specifically for the wearer’s body for optimal support and relief. Back braces come in two types:
- Rigid back brace – made of hard plastic designed to limit spinal motion by up to 50%. These are most commonly used after a fracture or fusion surgery.
- Elastic back braces – designed to limit lumbar motion and generally used to provide support post-fusion surgery or for proactive support to prevent any back injuries during repetitive or heavy lifting activities.
Speak with a Trained Professional About a Custom Back Brace
Shoulder braces are designed to immobilize and support the shoulder during the recovery process from any injury or trauma. It helps prevent swelling with compression to injured tissues, while also assisting with gaining any strength that was lost.
Shoulder braces may be necessary in a variety of situations:
- Joint inflammation
- Sports injuries
- Recovery from surgical procedures
- Prevent further dislocation
Find Relief with the Aid of Assistive Devices
Finding the perfect assistive device for your needs is vital to the recovery process. After all, you do not want to cause potential further injury with the wrong piece of equipment.
Healthmax Physiotherapy Clinics employs healthcare professionals with the necessary knowledge and expertise to tailor the correct assistive to your particular need.
Book an appointment online today at any of our conveniently located clinics across the Greater Toronto Area to meet with our friendly staff and learn how assistive devices can provide the aid you need.