Ankle Brace49 Products
How Do Ankle Braces Work?Ankle injuries are among the most commonly experienced injuries in sports, particularly in activities requiring sudden sharp changes in speed or direction. These injuries typically result from forced lateral movement such as when landing awkwardly from a jump or losing your balance when running at high speed. Using a properly designed ankle brace will reduce the risk of these types of ankle injuries. An ankle brace will also help the patient maintain regular activities while recovering from an ankle injury. The human foot is constructed with several internal supports that hold the bones together in their correct positions. These positions allow the foot to support the weight of the human body in the most effective way possible. These internal supports are the ligaments, tendons, muscles and other tissues that hold the bones together. They are normally sufficient to withstand the forces to which the foot may be subject when walking or standing normally. However, for athletes and, in particular, athletes in contact sports or sports requiring sharp changes in direction of movement, the foot is regularly subjected to forces that are greater than normal and that may act in unusual directions. Ankle braces function as “external supports” that supplement the internal supports holding foot bones and other structures in their correct positions. Three types of foot movement that can produce unusual forces on the foot for which the internal supports may not be enough are ankle inversion/ eversion and plantar flexion.
Ankle InversionAn ankle inversion causes the foot to point inward and places abnormal stresses on the ligaments on the outside of the ankle (see image on the left). When these ligaments become overstretched or torn in response to this type of movement, you have what medical professionals call an inversion ankle sprain. This is actually the more common type of sprain. It can happen either during sporting activity or while performing everyday activities such as clearing snow or walking on an icy pavement.
Ankle EversionUnder ankle eversion, the foot turns outward and unusual stress in placed on the ligaments on the inside of the foot. Tearing or overstretching these ligaments in response to such a movement results in an eversion ankle sprain. This type of injury tends to mainly happen to serious athletes.
Plantar FlexionUnder plantar flexion, the foot points downward away from the leg. This movement places unusual stresses on the ligaments on the top of the foot.
Ankle Braces As External SupportsAnkle braces serve to limit ankle inversion or eversion movements as well as plantar flexion.As a result, the wearer of such a brace has less risk of damaging foot ligaments as a result of these movements. For more information on how an ankle brace can be of use in preventing such injuries, please read our post on the benefits of using an ankle brace for sprains.
Types of Ankle BracesWhen choosing your brace, you can select from a wide range of designs such as advanced or basic ankle supports, wraparound braces or rigid ankle braces. Each has a particular purpose, as explained below:
- Basic ankle supports are suitable for light activities such as jogging and walking, but will not offer the support required for more intensive activities;
- Wraparound ankle braces offer a higher level of support than basic ankle supports (described above) and offer customizable compression in addition to support;
- Advanced supports are constructed from nylon-vinyl material and allow the patient to tighten them according to the comfort level required;
- Rigid ankle braces can be either stirrup or lace up designs. They are usually constructed with plastic panels to prevent ankle inversion or eversion. In addition, they may include a gel or air filled cushion for additional comfort. Rigid braces are also known as “hard shell ankle braces”.
Choosing The Right Ankle BraceWhen choosing an ankle brace, we can offer the following general advice:
- If you choose a brace with a lace-up design, make sure that the laces are not too long or short. Then you can tie them correctly;
- Ensure that the brace has the right size. To perform as intended, there should be no gaps between your skin and your ankle support;
- If you are wearing your brace for treatment of rehabilitation of an injury, be sure to wear it during everyday activities. Don't wear it only during physically intensive activities;
- You may be wearing your brace for preventative purposes. It is then particularly important to wear it while playing sports that involve lateral movement.
Arm Sling2 ProductsAn arm sling is an orthopedic device that restricts movement of your shoulder or elbow while you recover from a shoulder injury. It is a relatively simple device that can actually be created on a makeshift basis from a triangular bandage. Slings are useful for treating fractured or dislocated arms or shoulders. They are also useful if you are also wearing a heavy arm cast. When choosing a sling, be sure to pick the right size. The sling should fit snugly around your elbow and your arm should reach the very end of the sling. You also need to ensure that the end of your arm sling does not cut into your hand or wrist. To achieve the best results, you should feel comfortable wearing your arm sling at all times. One question that some patients ask when starting to wear a sling is whether they can sleep while wearing it. You should follow your doctor's advice on this question (and all other matters). However, it is usually best to keep the sling on while in bed, at least for the first 6 weeks or so of wearing it. You may also find it more comfortable to sleep in a semi seated position. Some patients can develop a rash after wearing an arm sling for an extended period. One way to reduce the risk of this happening is to keep a towel or washcloth in your underarm. If the rash persists, consult your doctor. Our selection of slings is shown below.
Back Brace23 Products
Choosing A Back Brace For Pain ReliefA back brace or support can provide considerable benefits by relieving back pain (especially lower back pain), a condition suffered by large numbers of people. Back braces are sometimes also called back splints. Lower back pain is a significant causal contributor to missed work days. According to Arthritis and Rheumatism, a journal of the American College of Rheumatology, approximately 40% of individuals experience this pain at some point in their lives. The same journal also reports that between 9% and 12% of individuals are experiencing lower back pain at any given time. Back pain can also inhibit the performance of many functions that are widely taken for granted, such as gardening, sports or occupational activities. In addition to helping to relieve existing back pain, back braces can also proactively prevent back injuries among those who routinely perform functions like lifting heavy loads. Furthermore, a back support brace (or splint) can also correct posture and/or take pressure off the lumbar spine when standing or sitting.
What Type Of Back Brace Do I Need?In general, there are 2 main categories of back brace or splint in the market today - those for the upper back and those for the lower back (or lumbar spine region).
Lower Back BracesLower back braces are also called lumbar belts or back belts. They are used widely in industries that require plenty of lifting of heavy loads, such as household moving and warehouse maintenance. You will also find them in widespread use by athletes in sports like weightlifting.These braces work by reducing muscle tension and mitigating pressure on the lumbar spine. Some of them also provide soothing warmth that aids blood circulation through the lower back area (thereby speeding recovery from injuries like back sprains) and also helps to relieve pain. Back braces for the lower back also remind the individual to keep his or her spine as straight as possible when lifting (see image on the left). This in turn forces the weight of the load to be borne by the legs (particularly the hamstring muscles of the upper leg) and the core muscles. The larger leg and core muscles are much better equipped to handle these loads without risk of injury. As a result, lower back braces reduce the risk of injuries such as back sprains that can arise from incorrect lifting technique. Lower back braces can be further categorized based on their rigidity or pliability. In general, the more rigid the back brace, the more support it provides (and therefore the greater the pain relief). At the same time, a more flexible or pliable lower back support brace may be a better choice for an individual with a minor back injury. It may also be more suited to someone who isn’t injured but is actually looking to prevent injury while performing risky activities (such as lifting heavy weights).
Upper Back BracesBraces worn on the upper back area aim to improve posture and reduce the impact of heavy weights on the lower spine. In this case, however, the heavy weight is that of the upper body and head. Other names for this type of back splint are "clavicle brace" and "posture brace". Many individuals fail to maintain proper posture while standing or sitting. Instead of maintaining a normal moderate inward curvature of the lower spine (known as lordosis) they actually tend to hunch their shoulders forward (see image on the left). This results in too much of the weight of the upper body being placed on the lower spine. After a while, this pressure results in lower back pain. An upper back brace helps to correct this problem by gently reminding the patient to keep his or her shoulders upright and the upper back straight. This has the effect of introducing a small amount of curvature in the lower spine, which is what nature intended. The result is less pressure on the lower back and a reduced risk of developing lower back pain over time.
Other Factors To Consider When Choosing A Back BraceIn choosing the right back support brace for the patient, there are some other factors to take into account:
- How bulky is the brace? Is it intended to be worn over or under clothing?
- How breathable is the back brace? In general, the better back supports are made of breathable materials that preserve natural body temperature. This results in improved wearing comfort, especially over long periods.
- The patient will be wearing the back support next to the skin, or during intense physical activity. If so, he or she should understand how to clean and maintain it to preserve its effectiveness.
- As with most orthopedic supports, sizing is critical. Be careful to precisely follow the sizing chart/instructions for your back splint. This will help you to get the most benefit from its use.
Calf, Thigh & Hip Braces11 ProductsCalf, thigh & hip braces can be used to treat or provide relief from the pain of a broad variety of conditions. These range from hip strains to quadricep contusions to calf or thigh strains and shin splints. If you or your patient has undergone hip surgery or experienced hip dislocation, a hip abduction brace may provide important support and pain relief. By limiting the amount of hip movement, it will provide support to the hip to facilitate proper healing in the abduction position. The patient may report discomfort while attempting to sit upright or perform other everyday activities, but should be made aware that this is a normal and expected part of the recovery process. For individuals who have suffered damage to the quadricep or hamstring muscles , the main challenge will be in stabilizing the damaged muscles and giving them an opportunity to heal. A thigh wrap may provide the compression needed in this situation. Similarly, calf wraps can provide compression to injured calf muscles, allowing patients to benefit from pain relief and a quicker recovery from injury. Because of the wide range of conditions that may potentially be treated using calf, thigh & hip braces, the choice of brace should always be made with the help of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
Elbow Brace20 Products
What Conditions Are Treatable With An Elbow Brace?An elbow brace or support is a useful device that can help patients affected by either repetitive stress or acute injuries to the ligaments and tendons of that joint.
Tennis & Golfers ElbowThe elbow moves in both flexion and extension and is also affected by movements of the forearm. Several sporting or other activities can subject the joint to unusual levels of stress. These include throwing or pitching a baseball, for example. Activities that involve repetitive gripping also cause stress to the forearm muscles..These muscles attach to the bony bump (lateral epicondyle) on the outer elbow as well as to the corresponding bump (the medial epicondyle) on the inner elbow. They attach to each bump via tendons on the outer and inner elbow respectively. Overstressing the forearm muscles can lead to soreness and inflammation of the corresponding elbow tendons. When the outer elbow tendons become inflamed, the result is lateral epicondyltis (tennis elbow). If the inner elbow tendons are similarly affected, the result is medial epicondylitis (golfers elbow). Elbow supports can be used to treat these two conditions. Despite their names, neither tennis nor golf elbow is exclusively associated with any particular sport. Instead, as mentioned, individuals that perform activities that make use of the forearm gripping muscles are at risk of developing these conditions. Using a paintbrush, computer mouse or even a pen can all give rise to these conditions.
Other InjuriesIn addition, elbow braces can be used to help treat contusions of the olecranon bursa situated at the bony point of the elbow. Individuals suffering from generally sore or tired forearm muscles can also benefit from the compression and soothing warmth of an elbow brace. In addition to overuse injuries such as those mentioned above, an elbow support can be an effective treatment for acute injuries such as an elbow strain. By applying warmth and compression, they will help to speed recovery from these injuries. Finally, some elbow braces can effectively provide warmth and compression to the entire elbow joint. In so doing, they can help to ward off the risk of elbow injuries in an otherwise healthy individual. This is an especially relevant consideration for “weekend warriors” engaging in occasional sporting activities that place stress on the forearm muscles and elbow tendons. If they do not warm up properly, these individuals are at risk of receiving an acute injury such as an elbow strain. Wearing a brace that keeps the elbow ligaments and other tissues warm from the outset helps to reduce this risk. We will now consider the different designs of elbow brace and the elbow injuries that each design is equipped to treat. Armed with this knowledge, your healthcare professional will be able to select the best brace for his or her patient’s injuries.
Types Of Tennis Elbow BraceThere are 3 types of elbow brace design available in the market today:
Adjustable Elbow SupportsThese extend from a few inches above the elbow to a few inches below it. They also include straps that provide a customizable fit while allowing a full range of motion. These braces are the most versatile types of elbow brace categories available on the market today. They are useful for treating compound elbow injuries e.g. tennis elbow accompanied by an elbow strain. Another useful feature is that of adjustable compression. This type of brace can be used to apply higher levels of compression when elbow pain is more severe, followed by less compression when the pain eases.
Elbow SleevesThese elbow braces are similar to adjustable elbow supports except that they do not include straps. This type of design can be used to treat tennis or golf elbow but it can also apply general compression to the elbow joint to treat other conditions like olecranon bursitis or a strained elbow if these are also present. If the patient is also suffering from sore or overstressed forearm muscles in general, this type of brace may again be an optimal choice.
Elbow StrapsAs their name implies, these braces are essentially straps that fit just below the elbow. They are designed to precisely target the medial and lateral elbow tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the elbow (as described above). If the patient is suffering only from tennis and/or golfers elbow, this brace design may be the most cost effective device for treatment of those injuries. However, it does not offer any options for treating other elbow injuries if these are also present. If you have further questions on selecting the appropriate brace for particular elbow injuries, you may find answers in our post on selecting an elbow brace for tennis elbow.
Other Elbow Brace Considerations
Brace MaterialThe more sophisticated elbow braces are made from breathable materials to maximize long term wearing comfort. Some are also treated with antimicrobial agents to eliminate the odor of perspiration and improve patient compliance. If these designs are within your budget, they will prove to be well worth the necessary investment, especially if you need to wear your brace while performing athletic activities. They will allow you to remain cool and comfortable under the brace and continue wearing it throughout your exertions, which is optimal for pain relief and the successful long term treatment of your injury.
Elbow Brace Care & MaintenanceIt is important to be aware of how to wash and care for your elbow brace. For example, many of them are made from special materials that make machine washing or drying inadvisable, as it may damage the fabric of the brace and compromise its performance. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to get the best value from your investment.
SizingAs with all orthopedic braces, correct sizing is extremely important. Some elbow braces have a one size fits all design, but others are sized. For the latter, be careful to closely follow any sizing charts or other guidance that are provided by the manufacturer and presented on this site. An elbow brace that is too large may not provide the degree of compression you need for pain relief. On the other hand, a brace that is too tight will be uncomfortable to wear and may cause poor patient compliance;
ConclusionIf you need any further guidance on selecting the right elbow support, please contact us. Although we do not provide medical advice, our customer service personnel can provide general guidance on the pros and cons of each alternative design. Before contacting us, we suggest reading our post on elbow brace questions and answers, as you may find answers to your questions there. If you would like to know more about treating elbow injuries, you can read our post on young athletes and elbow injuries. For further specific information on elbow injuries, please consult with your medical professional.
Heel Cups6 ProductsHeel Cups are heel shaped pads inserted in shoes to raise the heel and relieve tension on the plantar fascia. Essentially, they cushion the heels to reduce pressure on the plantar fascia while the patient is walking. For those suffering from plantar fasciitis, heel cups provide a lift that reduces the strain on the fascia and also shortens the heel cord. They will therefore reduce the heel pain that is a part of plantar fasciitis for many people. However, the cups can also reduce heel pain that is caused by other factors. For example, some types of heel pain can be the result of a bruised heel due to fat pad atrophy. With these types of heel pain, the pain is closer to the point of the heel than it is with plantar fasciitis. Nevertheless, heel cups can act as cushions that help reduce this pain. In fact, without treatment, the pain of a bruised heel can cause the patient to modify his or her gait to reduce the pressure on the painful area. This too can then lead to plantar fasciiiis. A third cause of heel pain can be a short Achilles tendon. This type of pain can also be eased by using gel heel cups to cushion the impact on the heels while walking.
Best Heel Cups For Plantar FasciitisThe best heel cups for treatment of plantar fasciitis and other causes of heel pain will have some or all of the following features:
- A traction layer under the cup to ensure it doesn't move around under the foot. This will keep the cup in the intended position, especially while running or engaging in athletically demanding activity;
- Slight heel elevation to reduce strain to the feet, back and legs during athletically demanding activity;
- In addition, some of the best heel cups may be worn on either the left or right heel.
Knee Brace73 Products
Choosing The Right Knee BraceA knee brace (or knee splint) can be used to relieve and heal a wide range of common causes of knee pain. Whether you are suffering from a case of patellar tendonitis, a torn meniscus or a torn ACL, you will find a great choice for pain relief below. Knee braces are also sometimes also called knee supports, although we prefer to reserve this term for a particular sub category, which we discuss below. However, knee splints are not all the same - they come in a vast number of styles, types and sizes. To make the best choice, there are a number of important questions to consider, which we outline below.
Knee Brace QuestionsKey questions for medical professionals to ask when selecting a knee brace include the following. Please read our post on general knee brace questions & answers for more information.
What type of brace is best for the condition I want to treat?There are basically five types of knee brace that can be purchased "off the shelf"- hinged braces, knee stabilizers/supports, knee sleeves, knee straps and offloading knee braces. As an alternative to getting a knee brace "off the shelf", you can also have one custom made.
Hinged Knee BracesHinged knee braces will offer the maximum lateral knee support (protection from tearing or overstretching of ligaments on either the inside or outside of the knee). They will also allow the patient to maintain the most natural knee movement possible. Hinged braces are most useful for severe knee instability problems such as those caused by torn knee ligaments or meniscus tear injuries. These types of injuries are unfortunately relatively common in contact sports or in sports requiring sharp changes in direction or speed of running. Please read our post on hinged knee brace questions and answers if you need more information on this type of brace.
Knee Stabilizers/SupportsA knee stabilizer will be an appropriate choice to treat mild knee injuries such as moderate knee sprains (when the ligament has been overstretched and not torn). These braces don't have hinges but are instead equipped with metal or plastic stays or metal springs along the sides to provide some lateral knee stability (although not as much as you would get from a hinged knee brace). If you don't have a severe knee instability problem but would just like to walk, run or play sports with increased confidence in your knee, you may find that a simple knee support or stabilizer is best suited for your needs.
Knee SleevesKnee sleeves come without either hinges or metal/plastic stays or springs, so they do not provide any lateral knee support. They are an appropriate choice if you are looking for warmth and compression to improve circulation and treat a mild knee injury. They should also be considered if you wish to reduce the risk of a knee injury while walking or running or if you are participating in an athletic event.
Knee StrapsKnee straps are used to apply pressure to specific areas of the knee joint. For example, if you are suffering from patellar tendinitis, you can use a knee strap to apply pressure to the patellar tendon situated just below your patella or knee cap. Alternatively you can wear a knee strap above your knee to apply pressure to your iliotibial band and reduce the friction as it moves across the bony protusion on your outer knee.
Unloader Knee BracesUnloader knee braces are useful in treating cases of knee osteoarthritis when the cartilage between the thigh and shin bones has deteriorated to the point at which the bones are making direct contact with each other. The result of this is considerable knee pain when walking or placing weight on the knee. An unloader brace is designed to shift the point of contact between these two bones from an area of cartilage deterioration to one with healthier cartilage, reducing pain in the process. Using an unloader knee brace will help to defer the time at which a knee replacement operation may be needed. In fact it may actually eliminate the need for a knee replacement by deferring the time when one may be needed beyond the patient's remaining life expectancy. Please read our post on unloading knee braces if you would ike more detailed information on this type of brace.
Custom Made Knee BracesAs an alternative to an off the shelf brace, custom knee braces are also available, albeit at a significantly higher cost. Although these braces are not among those available on this site, they may be the appropriate choice if the medical professional treating the patient feels that his or her knee injury is untypical of those for which off the shelf braces are intended.
What type of knee brace closure should I get?There are essentially two closure styles available - slip on and wraparound. The former is put on (as the name implies) by inserting your foot through the opening of the brace and pulling it up over your leg. This type of brace is normally sized since the fit must be precisely determined in order to get the best support. Wraparound braces, on the other hand, can be placed either in front of or behind the knee. You then adjust this brace using its Velcro straps. This type of knee splint is well suited for individuals with compromised manual dexterity or strength. Individuals with certain neurological conditions are examples. Wraparound (also called front closure) knee braces are also a good choice for individuals with unusual knee or leg shapes. They normally use Velcro enclosures that provide the versatility needed to adapt to such shapes.
Should my brace have an open or closed patella?A closed patella brace will give your kneecap the same support as provided to the rest of your knee. Open patella knee braces relieve the pressure on the knee cap and are generally more comfortable. They include knee splints with buttresses that provide maximum support for the patella to assist with patella tracking problems. The greater comfort level of these braces can be a great help with patient compliance (making it easier for the patient to wear the brace as much as he/she needs to for it to be effective).
What size of brace does the patient need?Sizes can be measured in various ways but the correct size is essential if the brace is to function as intended. If the brace is too large, it may not provide the degree of compression and/or support the patient needs. On the other hand, if it is too tight and uncomfortable, the patient may not be able to wear it for extended periods. This would then compromise its therapeutic effectiveness. One good rule of thumb if you find yourself between sizes is to use the larger size. Please bear these questions in mind as you browse our selection of knee splints below. For more information, please consult our posts on choosing a knee brace for basket ball, choosing a knee support for running or on choosing the best knee brace for running. Other useful information may be found in our post on choosing a knee brace for a meniscus tear or on how an ACL brace aids recovery from ACL injury.
Maternity Belt6 ProductsDuring pregnancy, the body has to make some amazing changes in order to allow the baby to grow within the mother's body. As an example of these changes, the body will generate hormones to increase joint and connective laxity in order to facilitate delivery. In some cases, these changes can lead to pre and post partum conditions like hip separation, hip instability, lordosis, lympedema and more. In these circumstances, the use of a maternity belt (also called a maternity support belts) may be a great aid to relieving pain and correcting the condition causing it. Some of the key points to bear in mind as you sift through the large collection of belts on the market include:
- Does it provide a discrete fit? A maternity support belt that you can wear discretely under everyday clothing will assist patient compliance and therefore its own effectiveness in reducing pain and/or the severity of the condition.
- Is its material breathable? A maternity belt that your patient can wear throughout the day without discomfort due to excessive warmth and/or perspiration will again improve patient compliance, with the benefits already noted above.
- When can I start wearing my maternity support belt? Although you should follow your doctor's advice on this question, our experience has been that you can start wearing one as soon as you feel the aches and pains of pregnancy.
- Can I wear the belt at night while sleeping? We would suggest that if you feel it helps relieve your pain at night, you can wear it.
Neck Brace2 Products
What Is A Neck Brace?A neck brace ( or support) is an orthopedic device used to immobilize your head in order to relieve neck pain and promote healing of injured neck muscles, tendons and other structures. In the US & Canada, probably the most frequent need for a neck support is after neck injuries received in a road accident. There are more than a million car accidents each year in North America that require treatment for whiplash. In many of these cases, a neck brace will be part of the treatment. Neck braces are also known sometimes as cervical collars or neck collars. According to a 2008 publication of the National Institutes of Health, “neck pain is one of the most prevalent and costly health problems in the United States”. The same publication also reports that between 50% and 70% of US residents will experience neck pain at some point in their lives. Up to one third of them experience it each year and one in ten is experiencing it at any one time.
Types Of Neck BraceNeck braces come in two forms - hard or rigid collars and soft collars. Soft cervical collars are usually made from felt, rubber or foam. In certain situations, a healthcare professional may prescribe a soft cervical collar for temporary relief of moderate neck pain. However, their effectiveness in managing more serious neck injuries is extremely limited. Hard neck collars are usually made of more rigid materials such as hard plastic or plexiglass. These collars impose more significant restrictions on head motion such as side to side movements or rotation. Many rigid braces are also equipped with a chin support to take further pressure off the neck muscles. Healthcare professionals sometimes prescribe these braces for treatment of spinal fractures, head or neck trauma or severe neck pain.
How Are Neck Braces Used To Relieve Pain?A neck brace's primary function is to relieve pain. It helps injured soft tissues of the neck support the weight of the head. This gives those tissues a chance to heal. Neck braces also have a post operative role. After you have undergone spinal neck surgery, they can keep your neck bones properly aligned during the healing process. In addition to the above uses, a neck support can be used as a precautionary measure while your doctor evaluates what type of injuries you have experienced and how serious they may be. Although it is widely accepted that neck braces can be effective if used temporarily to relieve pain, many medical professionals are cautious about using them for an extended period of time. Research has shown that their long term use can lead to atrophy (weakening) of the neck muscles. Other concerns relate to possible breathing obstruction, pressure on the brain and increased blood pressure due to the pressure of a neck brace on the jugular artery. To reduce the possible impact of these problems, we would advise taking the above precautions while wearing a neck brace:
- Try to avoid sitting or lying in a stationary pose as much as possible. Instead, try to walk around whenever possible. The act of walking will force your head to move around slightly and reduce the risk of atrophy of the neck muscles;
- Try to maintain proper posture with the shoulders held back and the head and back straight. A posture brace for the upper back can be a useful accessory in helping you to do this;
- When sitting, try to avoid using chairs with soft seats or backs. Chair height is also important - use one that is as high as is comfortable for you to sit in.
Other Questions About Neck BracesSome questions you may have as you go about choosing your neck brace include:
- Should I sleep with the brace? Our advice would be that you should wear the brace to bed unless otherwise advised by your doctor. Try to sleep on a firm mattress (or as firm as possible) and sleep on your side. If you can't sleep on your side (because it is too uncomfortable, for instance) try sleeping on your back instead;
- Should I drive while I am wearing the neck brace? You should first of all check to see whether there are any local laws that may prevent you wearing the brace. Even if there aren't any, be aware that the brace may restrict your ability to turn your head to the side and so may affect your driving performance. If you feel that this would be a serious impediment to your ability to drive safely, you should probably avoid driving while wearing your neck brace.
Rib Support1 ProductA Rib Support can treat or speed recovery from problems such as chest pain, intercostal muscle strain or rib fracture. They can also help to stabilize and heal bruised or fractured ribs. They can stabilize the rib cage throughout the period of recovery from injury. In some cases they are used to promote recovery from surgery in the rib cage area. These devices are also called rib belts. Some people also refer to a rib support as a rib binder or a rib compression wrap. The better rib supports available on the market will have the following features:
- A low profile that allows the rib belt to be worn discretely under regular clothing without sacrificing their effectiveness;
- Breathable materials that allow the body to maintain its natural temperature without undue temperature increases with the resultant perspiration and discomfort.
- Avoid physically demanding sporting or athletic activities until you have recovered fully and your doctor advises that you can return to these activities;
- Use a cold pack on the area from time to time to ease the pain;
- Avoid taking short breaths while you are wearing a rib belt. Try to breathe deeply instead. If you avoid doing so, you could increase your risk of developing pneumonia.
Shoulder Brace2 Products
What Is A Shoulder Brace?A shoulder brace or support is an orthopedic device that will help to stabilize the ac joint of the shoulder and the surrounding ligaments, tendons and muscles. It will help promote healing from certain types of shoulder injury, which we list in the next section. We should note that some people include other types of braces such as arm slings and posture supports in the shoulder brace category. However, on this site, those supports are included in different product categories. The supports that we include in this category are those designed for shoulder immobilization or stabilization. This is different than reducing the weight of the arm on the shoulder (as arm slings do) or (changing the position of the upper back and shoulders) as posture supports do.
Shoulder PainThe ac (acromioclavicular) joint connects the clavicle (collarbone) and shoulder blade (or scapula) and is one of the 2 major joints that comprise the shoulder. As can be seen in the illustration to the left, the ac joint is surrounded by a complex network of muscles, tendons and ligaments. The complexity of the shoulder joint makes it susceptible to several types of injuries, each of which can lead to shoulder pain. Shoulder pain is one of the more common health problems in North America today. According to a 2016 NCBI publication, it affects 18-26% of adults at any time. It also brings substantial economic costs in the form of increased healthcare costs, impairments to workplace performance, absence from work due to sickness and early retirement. Shoulder braces can play a key role in mitigating the adverse impacts of these costs on society. Individuals who work in industries that require extensive overhead arm movement (e.g. construction, where plenty of hammering or painting work may be involved) can develop wear and tear injuries that cause shoulder pain. Vocational activities like gardening can also produce these injuries if they involve extensive overhead work such as using garden shears to trim high branches. Finally, there are many sports that require extensive overhead arm motions like throwing or smashing. Examples include sports like baseball, cricket, tennis and volleyball. Over time, any of these types of motions can lead to repetitive stress injuries that can cause shoulder pain. When this happens the affected individuals may need to use a shoulder brace to allow the over-stressed ligaments, tendons and muscles of the shoulder a chance to rest and recover.
How Do Shoulder Braces Work?If you have an injury such as an upper arm or collarbone fracture, dislocated shoulder or shoulder separation, your healthcare professional may recommend wearing a shoulder brace to help your injury heal faster. A shoulder brace can also help to relieve the pain of other shoulder injuries such as shoulder instability, shoulder arthritis, rotator cuff injuries, frozen shoulder syndrome, tendonitis or bursitis. It does this by stabilizing the joint and its adjacent muscles, ligaments and tendons, and allowing them a chance to rest and recover. In addition to stabilization, some shoulder brace designs can also relieve shoulder pain by compressing the ac joint and reducing inflammation. If you have further questions about the use of these braces, we invite you to read our post on wearing a shoulder brace.
Other Shoulder Brace Questions
Can I Sleep With A Shoulder Brace On?Our suggestion would be that you should do so if at all possible. The shoulder brace may help you to avoid sleeping in the wrong position (e.g. on the injured shoulder) and aggravating your injury. For some people, sleeping on the side of the healthy shoulder with your legs apart can help to avoid turning over onto the injured shoulder in your sleep. If that works, you may not need to sleep with the shoulder brace on, especially if it is uncomfortable and inhibits sleep. Another suggestion that you might wish to try is sleeping in a semi seated position (using 2 pillows.to raise your head). This may help to protect the injured shoulder from further damage during sleep.
For How Long Should I Wear The Brace?Your healthcare professional should be the most authoritative source on answering this question. In addition, the time required to heal the injury obviously depends on the nature of the injury itself. For example, for a dislocated shoulder, as much as 12-16 weeks may be required for a full recovery. On the other hand, a mild shoulder instability may take much less time and may need only a few weeks. Recovery from some types of shoulder surgery can take as long as 3 months. As a result,we suggest you consult your healthcare professional on this matter and follow his or her guidance.
What Should I Look For In The Best Shoulder Brace?You should always choose your shoulder brace with the aid of a qualified healthcare professional. However, there are a few criteria that are always important. Wherever possible, the support you choose should be as comfortable as possible to promote patient compliance. In addition, a brace that is easily worn under everyday clothing will be more convenient to wear at work, social or other everyday activities. This will also help with patient compliance, more complete pain relief and accelerated recovery. You should also ensure that you have the manufacturers’ instructions on how to wash, dry and care for your shoulder brace. Following these instructions will ensure that you will receive the full benefit of your investment. Finally, you should ensure that you follow the sizing instructions carefully and choose your size accordingly. If your shoulder brace is too large, it may allow excessive shoulder movement and therefore fail to contribute to the healing process to the extent intended. If the brace is too small, however, it will be uncomfortable or impossible to wear and will also be ineffective as a result. Please ask our customer service personnel if you have any additional questions on the shoulder braces presented below.
Thumb Brace3 ProductsA thumb brace will help to limit excessive movements of the thumb and promote healing of sprained ligaments or other soft tissue injuries. This device is also sometimes referred to as a thumb support or a thumb stabilizer. Probably the most common injury treated by a thumb brace is a thumb sprain. This type of injury is frequently the result of falling onto an outstretched hand. When this happens, the thumb may be forced to bear most of your body weight and be stretched backwards, away from your palm. The supporting ligaments are then stretched beyond their normal limits. A thumb stabilizer can be used to help support the thumb in place of the damaged ligaments, giving those ligaments an opportunity to heal. Your doctor may advise you to wear your thumb brace for anywhere between a few days and several weeks. The period will normally vary with the location and severity of your injury. A frequent question from patients who have just started wearing a thumb support is whether they can wear it to bed. Although you should follow your doctor's advice on this question, the normal recommendation would be to wear it as much as possible. The more time you spend wearing the stabilizer, the greater the opportunity your thumb has to heal and the better the treatment outcome. Another question sometimes asked by individuals who are about to start wearing a thumb brace is whether it will help with arthritis. We would advise that it will not provide a cure to the underlying problem. However, it can help reduce the pain of arthritis and can also slow the rate of progression of the disease.
Walking Boot2 ProductsA walking boot is an orthopedic device used to stabilize the foot and ankle after receiving an injury like a severe sprain, bone fracture or torn tendon. These products are also known as walking braces, moon boots, or controlled ankle motion (CAM ) boots. Walking boots can be used in lieu of cast boots when the objective is to restrict ankle motion but not necessarily the weight on the foot. One key advantage of a boot over a cast is that it is adjustable and reusable. Another is that you can remove the boot temporarily to wash and clean your foot. You can also remove the walking boot during sleep. Walking braces can have an air bladder to reduce shocks to the foot. When they do, they are known as pneumatic boots. In addition, they can be either tall or short in length. Tall boots can reach to around the knee while short ones can reach approximately halfway between the foot and knee. Most walking boots are sized, with the appropriate size being based on your shoe size. As with most orthopedic devices, correct sizing is critical. Please pay close attention to the charts accompanying each boot. Some individuals who have been recommended to wear a walking boot sometimes ask whether one can walk with one. Our response would be that there may be some initial awkwardness due to the difference between the design of the boot and that of a regular shoe. Specifically, most CAM boots use a rocker sole with no flexibility in the toe area. However, after a few days, the patient should become used to the boot. He or she may find it useful to an aid such as crutches or a cane during that initial period. You may find additional information about walking braces here.
Wrist Brace21 Products
Injuries Treatable Using A Wrist BraceA wrist brace or support can be used to conservatively treat many injuries to which the wrist joint is vulnerable. A well designed brace will provide mild to moderate support for weak, unstable or injured wrists by keeping them in a less stressful position, giving you pain relief and allowing your injury to fully heal. Wrist splints can provide pain relief to individuals afflicted by carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis or tendonitis (also known as de Quervain’s syndrome) of the wrist or thumb. Some of the other injuries that can be successfully treated using a wrist support include:
- A fall or other direct trauma that causes wrist sprains or strains, or even dislocation of the joint;
- A repetitive stress injury, such as carpal tunnel syndrome that may result from factory or computer work over an extended period.
- An old injury that has not been properly treated that, in some cases, can result in arthritis of the wrist.
Carpal Tunnel SyndromeCarpal tunnel syndrome is probably the most significant of the injuries treatable with a wrist brace. According to the Journal of Hand Surgery, approximately 5% of US adults are affected with the condition at any time. In 2010, 8% of adults employed in the US reported that they had experienced carpal tunnel at some point in their lives and 4% reported experiencing it over the past 12 months. Wrist braces for treating carpal tunnel are meant to be worn while sleeping and usually have a metal or plastic splint that inhibits bending of the wrist. The purpose of the splint is to keep the wrist in an extended position during sleep and reduce the pain normally felt by carpal tunnel sufferers upon awakening in the morning and trying to straighten their wrists. For more information on how a carpal tunnel wrist support can help ease the pain of that condition, please read our post on the ins and outs of managing carpal tunnel syndrome. If you are searching for information that will help you choose the most suitable brace for treating carpal tunnel syndrome, please have a look at our post on choosing a carpal tunnel wrist brace.
Types Of Wrist BraceHand and wrist braces fall into the following categories:
- Wrist stabilizers are generally more rigid hand braces and (as the name implies) are designed to stabilize the joint. They generally include features like metal springs, rigid stays or metal spoons to support the wrist and minimize disruption of the healing process. These wrist braces tend to be focused mainly on the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome.
- Basic wrist supports are more flexible and permit a wider range of movement in order to allow the patient to continue with everyday activities. These braces are effective in treating weak or unstable wrists or mild wrist sprains or strains.
- Thumb spica braces are designed to stabilize the thumb and conservatively treat conditions like gamekeeper’s thumb, bursitis, De Quervains or thumb sprains and strains.
- Some wrist braces fall into more than just one of the above categories - e.g. the Bio Skin Wrist/Thumb Spica functions as both a wrist stabilizer and a thumb spica. This type of wrist brace can be applied to treat compound injuries affecting more than a single part of the hand.
Tips For Wearing A Wrist BraceWe provide below some tips that may be of use to patients who have been advised to wear a wrist support and would like to know how they can get the most benefit from this device.
Wear Your Carpal Tunnel Wrist Brace When SleepingIf you are wearing a wrist brace to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, you should wear the brace to bed. Most people tend to bend their wrists while asleep and, if they have carpal tunnel, experience severe pain when trying to straighten them upon awakening. A carpal tunnel wrist brace will address this problem by keeping the wrists in a straight and neutral position while sleeping. However, if you are wearing a brace to treat weak, unstable or injured wrists, you should wear your wrist brace mainly while awake and performing tasks that employ your hands. That is when your wrists will need the support that these supports provide.
Care & MaintenanceMany of these braces are made from materials that are specially designed to be non allergenic and breathable. As a result, these materials may not be suited to machine washing and/or drying. Please follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the care & maintenance of your brace to ensure it continues to perform as intended for as long as the patient needs.
SizingThe correct sizing for your wrist brace is absolutely essential. If your brace is a sized one, please be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s sizing charts in selecting the size that is right for you. This will ensure that you get the amount of support you need to treat your injury without experiencing undue discomfort. If you have additional questions on choosing a brace to help you manage a wrist injury, please consult our post on things to know about these braces. You may also find additional relevant information in our post on the benefits and risks of wearing a wrist brace. For additional information on the features of particular braces below, please consult our knowledgeable customer service personnel. If you need medical advice about the wrist injuries treatable with a wrist brace, please consult with your healthcare professional.