Leg Braces For Adults With Cerebral Palsy
This particular blog post is focused on leg braces that are used for walking. The term, “leg brace” can be a little bit vague, but for the purposes of this education blog, we are referring to AFOs (ankle foot orthoses).
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Cerebral Palsy (CP) is a general term which refers to a permanent, non-progressive movement disorder. Cerebral palsy is the result of damage to the motor control centers of a developing brain. This means that the damage can occur during pregnancy, childbirth, or after birthing process up to the age of three.
Cerebral palsy can effect, for purposes of this post, the ankles or knees. This means that an individual with CP can drag their toe(s) when they walk. This is more formally known as foot drop. Otherwise, people with CP can struggle with stability at the ankles in a side to side fashion, or have weakness in their knees. This too can create a problem with walking which might require the use of an AFO.
Traditional ankle foot orthoses are another form of treatment for those who are not confined to their bed but suffer from drop foot nonetheless. These braces are only worn when walking and not worn in bed. They can be customized to fit the foot and ankle of the wearer and will fit into standard shoes. They are quite low profile and in fact can be completely masked by shoes and pants. These AFO’s are often constructed from plastic though there are metal and leather options. The traditional AFO’s can keep the foot upright when walking and offer side-to-side ankle support. They indirectly offer support for the knee too. This is particularly beneficial for those who are prone to hyper-extending or buckling their knee because of foot drop weakness.
Whether you are looking to invest in a PRAFO or a traditional AFO it is important that you work with a professional. Orthotists are brace specialists who can help you find the most suitable brace type and material for your particular condition. By working with a professional you can enjoy customized brace support as well as assistance with insurance plans. If you need to find a professional in your local area you can conduct a general search for “leg brace” and your zip code or you can ask for a referral from your existing general practitioner.
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