Pain in the body’s joints can get in the way of what we enjoy doing the most.
That could be ongoing knee pain that makes your weekly golf game difficult. It could be persistent shoulder or elbow aches that impact a tennis match.
You may have rolled your ankle numerous times as a youngster. The degeneration of that condition has made a weekly hike through the countryside to take in the changing of the fall leaves a stiff challenge.
Those pains will only worsen if left untreated, especially as we age, and the body breaks down. What a lot of people also don’t know is that an injury to one area of the body, if left untreated, can lead to problems in another part of the body that’s connected to it. Pain can occur in other parts of the body that are over compensating, trying to support that earlier injury.
For example, you could be looking at degeneration in the meniscus cartilage in the knee, connected to an untreated hip injury suffered 20 years back playing hockey. Or, more commonly, an old, untreated ankle injury can head up the biomechanical chain, to the knee. That ankle injury can lead to that person developing abnormal compensation behaviour. That causes their weight to be unevenly taken on in their knee, straining ligaments, tendons or the menisci, leading to injury. This is common.
Custom bracing or orthotics is a way to give you the support you need, to help control pain, in lockstep with getting rehab treatment.
Being able to stay active while rehabbing an injury only helps to speed up the recovery. The biggest challenge is cartilage degeneration. If you are just sitting on the couch, in pain, bummed out, you will lose further muscle mass, put more stress on the joints, and worsen any injury.
Orthotics Vs. Custom Bracing
Orthotics is more preventative, says Noelle Rossi, Orthotics & Bracing Specialist, HealthOne.
“Orthotics are a customized insole that takes into account a bio-mechanical or gait abnormality,” she says.
You might have an abnormal walking pattern. An orthotics insole placed into the shoe corrects the walking pattern, so you don’t experience any more pain.
Bracing is more injury-based, and can go on any joint on your body.
“Ankles, knees, hips, thighs, all portions of the spine, neck bracing, shoulders, elbows, wrists and thumbs,” Noelle says, laughing. “We even have a brace for the big toe.”
It’s important to go see a practitioner first, though, to properly diagnose the problem, before getting a brace, then rehab treatment if necessary. Noelle will measure the dimensions of the body for when bracing is required.
Noelle has a lot of patients who come to her who have never had their injuries diagnosed. Or, they have gone onto Amazon or walked into a local drug store, and bought a brace that wasn’t helping them.
Overall, they were staggering around in the dark, and that pain was only persisting.
Quality braces allow the patient to be mobile, while offering a lot of support.
“Joints are supposed to be allowing movement and stability in the joint, rather than taking the full impact of the body’s weight,” she says.
So what are the signs you need bracing and orthotics?
As Noelle says, if the injury wasn’t diagnosed properly, or you were using a generic store-bought brace that wasn’t supporting the right part of the body, or supporting it incorrectly, the injury may only worsen.
A lot of older adults come in to see her. That makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
“They might not be as active when they are older, and an injury has flared up,” Noelle says. “And it’s very restrictive.”
You Feel Some Instability In Your Joints
If you’ve had injuries in your life, and already have some pain, talk to a professional. Let them fit you with a brace. Instability can lead to serious injuries. For example, knee injuries are common in high intensity sports like hockey.
Bauerfeind braces are a go-to product at HealthOne for a lot of reasons.
“They are very versatile in terms of what braces they offer,” Noelle says. “They have multiple types for each joint, in different areas, so depending on your injury we can get a brace that will work for you.”
The company makes braces, medical compression stockings, orthoses, orthopaedic orthoses, all high quality, German-made products. In the end it’s all about manufacturing medical aids that help people regain their mobility.
“They allow for movement, and support you while you are staying active,” she says. Bauerfeind has 12 types of knee braces, for example, meaning they can be as personalized as possible.
Re-usable, washable fabric is another advantage. If you’re active, that means you’re sweating.
Newly Discovered Pain Or Weakness While Doing Everyday Tasks
If you’re at home, and your ankle tweaks in pain while walking to the fridge, or your back stiffens when bending over to tie a shoe, or your shoulder barks at you while lifting a box onto an upper shelf, then there is an issue that needs to be addressed.
You Are Rehabbing An Injury
If you have gone to see Noelle, had your injury diagnosed, and have begun treatment, you may need a brace to support your rehab.
Braces can help ensure a speedy and complete recovery following an injury.
“A brace is important to wear during rehabilitation of an injury in order to provide that stability and mobility of the joint that is lacking due to that injury,” Noelle says. “It supports the rehab process by allowing that person to continue to move that joint as best they can. Often times one of the worst things you can do is be inactive, and a brace can allow you to be mobile.”
Swelling Or Inflammation
In this scenario, all that you might need is a compression wrap, to help bring down the swelling or reduce some minor pain. But seek a professional opinion. Minimizing inflammation is one way of avoiding a minor situation from becoming worse.
We are all active, and we want to keep it that way. Getting proactive with body pains and injuries is the first step. Come see us and book a free custom bracing or orthotics consultation.