Braces & DME
By Samantha Seifert, LAT, ATC
JOI and JOI Rehab supply DME or Durable Medical Equipment to our patients. In orthopedics, these products are to help in the recovery from an injury. Braces, slings and boots are the most common after an orthopedic injury. We use these devices to:
- Correct positioning
- Rest a body part
Most importantly, they protect your muscles, ligaments, joints, and bones as they heal from injury or surgery.
There are a variety of braces on the market to assist in the healing after an injury. Orthopedic surgeons may prescribe a brace, sling or boot to use after surgery.
Here are some examples of DME:
- Pillow sling
- Knee immobilizer
- Post-op knee brace
- Hinge knee brace
- Knee unloader
- Tall or short boot
- Lace-up ankle support
A licensed professional will fit your DME items. Knowing how to properly wear your equipment will increase the life and effectiveness of the brace.
- Shoulder immobilization after trauma
- Post-operative care
- Labrum surgery
- Rotator cuff surgery
- Shoulder replacement
How to Wear a Pillow Sling
A pillow sling may come with either a neck strap or a shoulder (backpack) strap, as well as a waist strap for immobilization. Both the shoulder and the elbow should be at a neutral 90-degree angle, with the elbow sitting snugly in the back corner of the pocket of the sling. The sling should fit snug, but should not be so tight that the shoulder pushes into the neck.
Click to watch our VIDEO on How To Put On A Shoulder Sling.
TIP: Once the velcro is securely adjusted to a comfortable position, only the clips should be used to take the sling on and off to keep the arm in the correct position.
Hinge Elbow Brace
How to Wear a Hinge Elbow Brace
The hinge elbow brace allows for range of motion control throughout the healing process. When fitting, the circular pad should be centered on the side of the bend in the elbow. This brace is often extendable and moldable and will be adjusted to fit the proper size and length of your arm.
When you are first fit for this brace, the fitter will set a range of motion as ordered by your doctor. The hinges on the brace will be set to only bend the prescribed amount and is often locked straight to start. You should not change the range of motion or unlock the brace unless your doctor tells you to. A sling attachment may be used if the elbow is going to be locked at 90 degrees for an extended period of time
- Mild to moderate soft tissue injury of the knee
- Emergency immobilization
How to Wear a Knee Immobilizer
Knee immobilizers should be worn with the opening to the front. The straps should be securely fastened around the leg and the curved portion of the front around the knee cap. The straps should not be so tight that they cut off circulation or cause added discomfort. The goal of the immobilizer is to rest the leg and the knee.
TIP: If the brace slips down the leg when standing, tighten the bottommost straps around the narrowest part of the leg.
Post-Op Knee Brace
- Post-op care
- ACL surgery
- Patella fracture
- Tibial plateau fracture
- Quadriceps tendon tear
- Patellar tendon tear
How to Wear a Post-Op Knee Brace
The post-op knee brace is a little more complicated and allows for range of motion control throughout the healing process. When fitting, the circular pads should be centered on the side of the leg with the top of the knee cap. This brace is often extendable and will be adjusted to fit the proper length of your leg.
When you are first fit for this brace, the fitter will set a range of motion as ordered by your doctor. The hinges on the brace will be set to only bend the prescribed amount and is often locked straight to start. You should not change the range of motion or unlock the brace unless your doctor tells you to.
The design of this brace is to allow for adjustments throughout the healing process. However, it is not a functional brace.
TIP: A cotton sleeve may be used to prevent skin irritation, but try to avoid wearing the brace over loose-fitting clothing or slippery fabrics to prevent the brace from sliding.
Hinge Knee Brace
- Knee instability
- LCL/MCL sprain
- Mild arthritis
How to Wear a Hinge Knee Brace
A double hinge knee brace has a hinge on each side of the knee and two support straps. Typically, these hinges should line up with the knee joint to allow the brace to bend naturally with the knee. Pull the straps snugly, but not tight enough to cut off circulation. This brace can be worn for exercise from walking to gym workouts or sports activities.
TIP: Do not wear over lycra or slick polyester fabrics as a sleeve. They may cause slipping of the brace. It is best to wear this brace directly to the skin. Hand-wash only to prevent excessive stretching or wear of the fabric.
- Severe arthritis
- Chronic meniscus injury
- Ankle fracture
- Foot fracture
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ligament tear
Please watch this video on How To Put On a Medial Unloader Brace.
TIP: Always wear a sock inside the boot to help prevent smell and irritation.
Short & Tall Boots
- Ankle fracture
- Foot fracture
- Plantar fasciitis
- Ligament tear
How to Wear a Boot
Short boots immobilize the foot, toe and ankle for fractures. For foot fractures we use the tall standard boot. However, it also is good for high ankle sprains and fractures. All boots typically go by shoe size and is dependent more on foot length than width. You may size up if your shoe size is too tight. We can add extra padding for those with smaller ankles. Toes should not hang over the edge of the boot.
When putting the boot on, the heel should be as far back as possible. The side bars should line up with the leg to set the ankle at a neutral angle for healing. The straps in the front should then be snug enough to hold the ankle in place. However, they should not so tight that it cuts off circulation.
While you can walk in any kind of boot, the goal of a boot is to immobilize and rest the body part. You may need to use crutches or other devices for long walks.
TIP: Always wear a sock inside the boot to help prevent smell and irritation
Lace-up Ankle Brace
- Ankle sprain
How to Wear a Lace-Up Ankle Brace
Lace up ankle braces are designed to provide functional support for the soft tissue (ligaments and tendons) of the ankle during the healing process. These braces often come with laces and two “figure-8” straps. The laces should be snug and the straps should wrap around the ankle by crossing over the top of the foot. Then pull them underneath and fasten them into place.
Click to view our VIDEO on how to put on a Lace-up Ankle Brace or ASO Ankle Stabilizer Brace.
TIP: Always wear a sock underneath the brace to help prevent smell and irritation. Hand wash to prevent excessive wear and prolong the life of the velcro.
Book an Appointment with The Jacksonville Orthopaedic Institute Today!
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