The physical therapy our son received combined with the orthotics you recommended have made such a difference. His strength and balance have improved, and his confidence in his physical abilities has soared! Thank you for the amazing work you do!
- Katie Brymer, OTR
Orthotics are a great way to ensure the healthy growth and development of children of all ages. At meehan Sports Therapy & Pediatrics our therapists have been using and developing new orthotics to ensure the proper growth of children of all ages. A physical therapist will evaluate range of motion, muscle tone, and analyze gait, to determine the type of orthotic that would be most beneficial to improve functional movements and or sports performance. Once fitted with the correct orthotic, a treatmentplan will be developed to monitor the orthotic fit, assess leg length differences, and provide gait training, range of motion exercises, and muscle strengthening as needed. Orthotics are devices that are fitted to a body part, typically the foot, to correct joint alignment or provide support. There are many types of both custom and non-custom orthotics including: heel cups,arch supports, UCBʼs, SMOʼs, AFOʼs, KAFOʼs, HKAFOʼs.
Heel cups are devices used to treat heel pain and provide a minimal amount of support to the heel. They are usually made of gel and provide some shock absorption to reduce pressure from prolonged standing, walking or running. They can also be used in the treatment of plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis,severʼs disease, shin splints, and back and knee pain.
Arch supports are devices used to support the longitudinal arch in the foot and relieve minor foot pain. They are used by individuals with both high and low arches and can be made from a variety of materials with shock absorption properties. They can be used in the correction of mild ankle supination or mild ankle pronation.
UCBʼs are devices that combine the support of a heel cup and arch support. The initials UCB stand for University of Berkley where they originated. They are frequently used to correct mild ankle pronation and provide arch support for “flat feet”.
SMOʼs are devices that are used to provide correct foot and ankle alignment and support in children and adolescents with low muscle tone and moderate to severe ankle pronation. The initials SMO stand for supra malleolar orthotic which means they extend above the ankle bones. The brace typically will have a partial foot plate that allows the great toe to move in a normal fashion for balance during movement transitions and walking/running. A full foot plate may be necessary when abnormal movement occurs in the forefoot. Posting of the forefoot or hindfoot can be added to decrease in-toeing.
AFOʼs are devices that are used to provide correct foot and ankle alignment and support. They are frequently used by individuals with neurological disorders like Cerebral Palsy (CP) or Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)to control high muscle tone and prevent the ankle from plantar flexing causing the individual to stand or walk on their toes. AFOʼs can also be used to provide support for individuals with low tone (hypotonia) or muscle weakness. The initials AFO stand for ankle foot orthosis which means they extend from the foot to just below the knee to control foot and ankle movement.
KAFO's and HKAFO's
KAFOʼs and HKAFOʼs are devices used to provide correct joint alignment and support above and including the ankle and foot. They are typically used by individuals with Spina Bifida or those with other conditions that cause extreme muscle weakness or paralysis. The initials KAFO stand for knee,ankle ,foot orthosis, and the initials HKAFO stand for hip, knee, ankle, foot orthosis.
Thank you Kelley, the orthotics and exercises that you recommended have made a huge difference in both of my children’s lives. It was a miracle; my daughter went from not running or moving well to being the top runner on her team. If they didn’t have orthotics, they couldn’t have played sports—they would have been in too much pain.
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