Supports and braces for knees are used for a broad range of purposes. Sports medicine devices are useful for people with conditions that aren't related to athletic injuries or to overuse of the joints. For example, men and women with knee arthritis commonly develop the condition because of normal wear and tear over many years. Mueller braces and supports also are useful for children and adults with cerebral palsy.
People may be familiar with foot orthotics, a specialized type of shoe insert used to help manage flat feet and other conditions that cause foot pain. They may not realize that knee braces and supports also are considered orthotics, since they are tools that help children and adults better manage a problematic physical condition.
About two-thirds of children with cerebral palsy are able to walk, but they may have trouble with balance and gait. Knee braces help them avoid excessive extension of the knee joint and provide extra stability they need and reduces the level of physical energy they must use to walk. Bracing also helps strengthen the muscles around the joint.
Kids with cerebral palsy who wear prescribed orthotics from a manufacturer such as Mueller Sports Medicine are much better able to take part in daily activities that require being ambulatory. Improved mobility and balance means they are less likely to fall. They can play some physical games with other children and use certain types of playground equipment.
Research confirms that knee orthotics help children with the disorder feel happier and have more friendships. They even are better able to set goals, since they feel more confident and experience more success in the types of activities kids generally like to do.
Parents should never take it upon themselves to buy braces for these children without a prescription from the doctor or physical therapist for the exact design and fit. Inadequate bracing causes problems, and so does more bracing than a youngster needs for optimum movement. The first issue does not fully protect and support the child's mobility, while the other can limit the youngster's ability to build strength, coordination and flexibility.
Experts recognize that many children with this condition experience chronic knee pain, but the problem is not always managed effectively. With so many symptoms to deal with, the parents may not realize how important it can be to minimize that pain. The child's comfort is at stake and so is his or her ability to be active. Bracing is an effective treatment.