My Child Needs Braces. What Are They & Why Do We Need Them?

Braces help control or prevent secondary problems with the foot, ankle, knee, or hip.

For example, secondary problems may include too much flexibility in joints, tightness in muscles, wear and tear on joints because of misalignment, which can lead to arthritis later in life.

Braces can be made out of a variety of materials, including different kinds of plastics, foam, Velcro, fabric, and plaster.

The most typical physical therapy brace is an ankle-foot orthosis. This can range from an off-the-shelf shoe insert, to a custom-made brace that comes below the knee.

Orthoses can provide many different functions. They can provide stability and control when muscles are too weak to work properly, thus enabling a child to be more efficient in moving around.

Orthoses can align the joints to prevent the development of deformities and other problems later in life, such as arthritis and ankle, knee, hip, and back problems. They can also inhibit high tone (tighter feeling muscles) or decrease tone in the lower extremities in a child with neurological impairments, thus enabling a child to use their muscles more normally.

Are All Orthotics and Prosthetics Companies the Same? How Do I Choose a Company to Make My Child’s Braces?

Look for a pediatric specialist, not just a clinician making smaller braces and limbs.

Look for an orthotics and prosthetics company with certified staff dedicated to evaluating and formulating orthotic and prosthetic devices which are unique to children’s special needs. Clinical staff should keep abreast of the latest technology available through continuing education.

Because Pediatrics Should Never Be Plain

Children are not just small adults, they require special consideration through their developmental stages. A pediatric orthotist should cater to a child’s growing needs.

The orthotics industry has come a long way over the years, offering children many options in patterns, colors and fabrics to customize your child’s orthotics. The orthotics, splints and prosthetics should be customized and functional but also fun!

Providing these options is important to allow your child to maintain some control and feel good about themselves!

Team Treatment Concept

The team should provide all aspects of orthotic and prosthetic treatment, working closely with physicians, physical therapists, occupational therapists and –most importantly– the family.

How and When to Contact an Orthotics and Prosthetics Company

  • Patients: When you have received a prescription from your medical professional, you should set up an appointment with a pediatric practitioner. In Western PA, De La Torre Orthotics and Prosthetics has proven itself to be a leader in the pediatric market. Visit their website to find their locations in Western Pennsylvania and to view commonly utilized devices or call (412) 599-1158.
  • Therapists in Western PA: If you would like a consultation from a pediatric practitioner, call (412) 599-1158. Link to the De La Torre Orthotics and Prosthetics website to find their locations in Western Pennsylvania and to view commonly utilized devices.

TLSO: Thoracolumbosacral Orthosis

This is one of two main types of braces used to correct the lateral (sideways) curve of the spine in scoliosis. Your doctor will decide if this brace is appropriate based on the degree and direction of curvature of the spine. The TLSO is an underarm brace, which means that it fits under the arm and around the rib cage, lower back, and hips.
The other main types of brace for treating the spinal in scoliosis is the Milwaukee brace which can be worn to correct any curve in the spine.

All braces for scoliosis can be custom made or can be made from a pre-fabricated mold. All braces must be selected for the specific curve problem and fitted to each patient. To have their intended effect, the brace must be worn every day for the full number of hours prescribed until the child stops growing.