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Brace (orthopaedic)

An orthopaedic brace (also orthosis or orthotic) is a device used to:

  • immobilize a joint or body segment,
  • restrict movement in a given direction,
  • assist movement,
  • reduce weight-bearing forces, or
  • correct the shape of the body.

(adapted from Rehabilitation Medicine, ISBN 0-397-50764-X)

Most often in the U.S., the last purpose listed above is what persons call in common speech a brace, whether it is made from elastic, neoprene, or a stiffer, more restrictive construction such as hard plastic or metal. An orthotic is most often understood to be a somewhat flexible device, often an insert for shoes, to correct leg length, fallen arches (flat feet), or some other foot problem.

In the UK a brace of this kind is usually referred to as a caliper (sometimes calliper in British spelling). Often the older type of leg brace is meant, constructed of steel side bars and ring, with spurs which fit into a metal tube in the heel of an adapted shoe or boot, and with leather straps and bands around the leg to hold the splint in position. The straps can be secured with velcro but many patients prefer buckles. This type of caliper can either be non-weight relieving or, by slight lengthening, made to relieve weight by raising the heel of the foot away from the heel of the shoe or boot. These splints have to be individually made by an orthotist or appliance maker closely to fit the particular contours of the leg being supported.

See also

  • Dental brace
  • Orthosis
  • Polio a disease that resulted in many children and adults having to use leg and other braces.
  • Abasiophilia a psycho-sexual condition resulting in a fascination with orthopaedic braces and their users.
  • Halo Brace
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Brace_(orthopaedic)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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