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Sep 21, 2008

Orthopedic Leg Braces For Children

Orthopedic Leg Braces For Children

Young children can fall victim to injuries of the lower extremities and other problems much the same as their adult counterparts. These can range from strains and sprains, to fractures. Additionally, these young patients can also be subject to conditions of the bones, joints and muscles that are either developmental, or congenital in nature. In fact, more then 1/3 of all medical problems in children are of an orthopedic nature. Many of these conditions may require the use of some kind of orthopedic leg brace for children to immobilize, support or align the lower extremities.

One condition that affects young children that has shown good overall treatment outcomes with various types of orthopedic leg braces is Legg Calve Perthes Disease. This "disease" affects the femoral head, or "ball" of the hip, which loses its blood supply and develops what is called avascular necrosis of the femoral head, or literally speaking, "death" of the bone due to lack of adequate blood supply. This can cause collapse of the ball if not treated properly, which can lead to permanent deformity, difficulty walking, and premature arthritis.

The orthopedic leg brace used in the treatment of Legg Calve Perthes Disease is called an abduction / ambulation brace, which places the legs in a "Sumo Wrestler" type of position to relieve pressure on the affected portion of the ball of the hip, yet allowing for some ability to get up and around.

More common conditions requiring orthopedic leg braces would include Osgood Schlatter's Disease. This condition involves the inflammation of the shin bone (tibia) just below the knee where the tendon that connects the knee cap (patella) to the shin bone. In growing children, this is the site of what is known as a "growth plate"; an area of bone that has not fused yet and is a source of new bone growth. Repetitive running and jumping can cause acute or chronic inflammation of this growth plate, to the point where activity is difficult, and painful. One such orthopedic leg brace that these young patients may use is made of neoprene rubber with a special pad that fits directly over the tendon between the knee cap and its insertion onto the tibia, thereby reducing tension on the growth plate. This brace, together with activity alteration, has shown to be a good treatment for symptoms. One variation of this brace is the Cho Pat strap which is placed around the knee, over the tendon above the growth plate. Pressure from this strap reduces tension on the growth plate

There are a variety of other orthopedic leg braces for children, which have, over the years, been used to treat conditions ranging from the Dennis-Brown night bar for club feet, to twister cable braces that can be knee-high, or incorporate a wrap-around system at the waist, which are used to treat tibial torsion (rotation of the shin bone) or abnormal rotation of the hip bones, also known as femoral anteversion.

Gary Pearson is an accomplished niche website developer and author.

To learn more about children leg braces visit New Raising Children for current articles and discussions.

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