Orthopedic Braces

Correcting curvatures and restricting movement

By Brandie Umar, Executive Director of ContentLast modified: December 22, 2011

Orthopedic Braces

Orthopedic braces are used to correct curvatures of the bones, to restrict movement or to prevent bones and joints from moving. Also known as an orthosis or orthotic brace, orthopedic braces are most commonly used to correct misalignments of joints. 


Orthopedic braces sit securely over bones and joints to allow the muscles to strengthen to hold the body in correct alignment. 


The most common use of orthopedic braces is to correct foot and ankle problems and to straighten spines in people with scolosis. Scolosis is a curvature of the spinal column that can leave sufferers unable to walk or straighten the spine. Used by orthopedic surgeons to prevent the curvature of scolosis progressing, most braces are used in children with a spine curvature of less than 40%. Orthopedic braces are rarely able to correct spinal curvatures of over 45%.


There are two types of orthopedic braces used in pediatric orthopedic treatment for spinal curvature: the Milwaukee brace and the TLSO brace. Most orthopedic surgeons prefer to use a TLSO (thoracolbosacralorthosis) as this is the more wearable of the two braces. TLSO braces can be easily hidden under clothing and is effective at correcting curves in the lower and mid back. The Milwaukee brace ıs used to correct curves in the upper back and extends to the neck making it visible. While surgeons are reluctant to use the Milwaukee brace as treatment for spinal curvature in children, it is as an effective orthopedic device for correcting conditions such as kyhosis which cause 'hunchback'.


Anyone who is fitted with an orthotic brace must ensure the brace is worn for the prescribed amount of time. Starting spinal correction using orthopedic braces and then stopping treatment prematurely can worsen spinal curvatures.





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