An orthosis (in other words: orthopedic prosthesis, stabilizer) is a modern medical equipment, which is to protect a specific part of the body after an injury or surgery and not lead to further damage. Some orthoses are also used for protective or prophylactic purposes.
When are orthoses (stabilizers) used?
Most often, orthoses are used after sprains, fractures, joint sprains, ligament tears, and even fractures - especially short and flat bones. Until recently, with this type of injury, the patient was doomed to plaster and immobilization. Modern orthoses not only stabilize the joint more effectively, but also give the patient greater mobility and comfort.
Advantages of orthoses. Why is an orthosis better than plaster?
The great advantage of orthoses and their decisive advantage over plaster is the fact that they are light and more comfortable than plaster, thanks to which their wearing is not bothersome and allows for relative mobility - depending on the injury, body parts and doctor's recommendations, of course. The orthoses do not cause chafing, provide airflow and the ability to maintain hygiene of the diseased part of the body.
Depending on the injury, the orthosis can also - in some cases - be removed, making it easier to monitor your health and rehabilitation progress. Importantly, in the case of an orthosis, you can be sure that it perfectly immobilizes and protects a given part of the body. The plaster, on the other hand, is often put on a swollen arm or leg. After the greatest swelling has subsided, the cast may not stabilize the joint as well as it should.
Types of orthoses according to their purpose
Orthoses can be divided into 4 main categories according to their function and purpose:
- Corrective - this is an orthosis used after operations,
- Stabilization - limits the patient's range of motion; is used after injuries and operations,
- Compensatory - it is an orthosis that supports mobility,
- Compression - an orthosis used for protection and prophylaxis, e.g. among athletes, skiers, etc.
Types of orthoses by body part
Orthoses adapted to individual parts of the body are divided into several dozen groups. Among the spine stabilizers themselves, we can distinguish cervical, thoracic, thoracic-cervical, cervico-thoracic-lumbosacral, thoracic-lumbosacral, lumbosacral, lumbar, and sacral orthosis. Below are presented the most popular and most frequently used orthoses by patients:
- Cervical orthosis - orthopedic collar ; an orthosis used in diseases and degenerations of the cervical section; also works preventively in the event of suspected injury;
- Thoracic orthosis - orthopedic corset; used to immobilize the thoracic spine or in its diseases, incl. scoliosis. The thoracic orthoses are also used to correct posture - it is the so-called spider veins / simple holders;
- Lumbosacral orthosis - used in vertebral fractures, in lumbar spine pains;
- Shoulder joint orthosis - used in the event of a shoulder injury, after shoulder operations and with stretched ligaments;
- Wrist, thumb, hand orthosis - put on for carpal tunnel syndrome and wrist contusions and injuries;
- Forearm or elbow orthosis - used both prophylactically (mainly in athletes exposed to elbow injuries) and in the case of injuries and pain, e.g. arthritis, caused by inflammation and so-called tennis elbow.
- Foot or ankle orthosis - often used to secure the Achilles tendon. It is recommended for patients after fractures, sprains, ankle operations, habitual ankle sprains, inflammations, and also prophylactically when practicing sports;
- Thigh and hip brace - only hip brace are available (used after operations to stabilize and limit the movement of this part of the body), as well as orthoses connecting the hip joint and thigh (used after operations such as hip replacement, they control rotation for dislocations and hip fractures);
- Knee and shin brace - used to limit movement after lower limb reconstruction surgeries, in post-traumatic pain syndromes, in instability caused by the anterior or posterior cruciate ligament, during rehabilitation and prevention against possible further injuries.