Orthopedic Equipment for Cerebral Palsy
There are many devices and types of assistive equipment available for children with cerebral palsy. Some of the most common orthopedic devices used in the treatment of cerebral palsy are leg braces, foot braces, walkers, and therapy mats/balls. Read on to learn more about how these devices can help your child thrive.
Special Tomato Sitter
The Special Tomato Sitter provides sitting support for children with moderate positioning issues. Composed of a padded bucket seat and secure straps, the Sitter can be attached to a wide variety of chairs, strollers, or bases. By providing the support your child needs to play with other children from a seated position, the Special Tomato Sitter also helps them become more social.
Cerebral Palsy Braces
Braces help provide support and proper alignment for your child’s legs. Braces are made of plastic, rubber, metal, or carbon fiber. Your child’s braces should be made specifically to their measurements and adjusted as they grow. Here are the most common braces used in cerebral palsy treatment:
Cerebral Palsy Leg Braces
A knee-ankle-foot orthosis (KAFO) is a long-leg orthotic brace that runs from the thigh to the foot. KAFOs provide support to the knee, foot, and ankle, allowing for greater mobility.
A hip-knee-ankle-foot orthotic (HKAFO) provides support and proper positioning from the hip through the foot. A system of bands and metal braces combined with a hip girdle support your child’s joints and allow them to stay upright.
Cerebral Palsy Foot Braces
A cerebral palsy foot brace, also known as an ankle-foot orthosis or AFO, supports the foot, ankle, and lower leg. The benefits of foot braces include improved motor skills and pain reduction.
There are two basic types of foot braces. A rigid foot brace provides support and proper positioning but does not allow joint movement. A hinged foot brace is helpful if your child deals with difficulty lifting the foot, also known as foot drop. The hinged brace provides support but also allows movement at the ankle.
There are three kinds of standing frames available. Active standers allow your child to move from sitting to standing and can be moved with arms or legs. Mobile standers pull children to standing via a pulley or motor. A multi-position stander allows children to stand, sit, and lie down.
Standing frames straighten posture, increase bone strength, prevent osteoporosis, and stabilize joints. Standing frames also provide social benefits by allowing children to interact with friends and family face-to-face.
Walkers allow children with cerebral palsy to improve their walking skills, postural alignment, and balance, helping them become more mobile. Having a walker for a child with cerebral palsy can also increase their bone strength by allowing them to bear weight when walking. All walkers have a frame with four legs, but there are many kinds of walkers available for your child, including:
Two-wheeled walkers are especially helpful if your child has severe balance issues, as the rubber pegs on either the front or back legs allow more controlled movement and slower walking. There are two types of two-wheeled walkers:
- Anterior walkers have wheels on the front two legs that allow your child to more easily place the walker with each step. Users typically lean more forward into the walker.
- Posterior walkers have the frame positioned behind your child as they walk. The wheels are located on the back two legs to allow users to scoot the walker along with each step. These walkers encourage a more upright walking position and are used by many children with cerebral palsy.
Four-wheeled walkers come in both posterior and anterior options that can be chosen based on your child’s mobility skills and posture. Using a four-wheeled walker allows for faster movement with stability and support, which may be beneficial for children who need little assistance.
A chest-support walker is perfect for children who cannot use a typical walker due to posture issues or weaker arm muscles. In addition to the typical walker frame, chest-support walkers have a torso strap that holds your child against a large chest pad. Chest-support walkers are a great option if your child has a high level of spasticity or ataxia.
Gait trainers have many benefits, including reduced spasticity, improved circulation, and increased muscle tone. The trainer looks and operates similarly to a wheeled walker but provides more support thanks to a belt that goes around your child’s waist.
Physical Therapy Equipment
Consistent physical therapy can improve your child’s flexibility, coordination, strength, motor skills, and confidence. Physical therapy can help your child learn to use their orthopedic equipment to maximum advantage.
Therapy mats are made of high-density foam covered in vinyl. There are many kinds of mats, but flat mats, positioning bolsters and wedge mats are most commonly used during physical therapy. Flat mats are often used to provide comfort during physical therapy sessions. Positioning bolster mats are used to position and support your child during physical therapy. Wedge mats provide support to the head, legs, or knees.
Wall-Mounted Mat Platform
A wall-mounted mat is usually set at sitting height, allowing therapists to work with children while sitting. Wall-mounted platforms are also larger than floor-model therapy mats, allowing your child to be rolled over for stomach work. These mats are typically large enough for your child’s physical therapist to be on the mat with your child during therapeutic massage sessions.
Therapy balls are available in many sizes and shapes. The peanut ball helps your child work on balance and focus. Large therapy balls can replace support benches during prone activities and help strengthen back muscles.
Orthopedic equipment can help increase your child’s mobility, confidence, and strength. Although there have been great strides in the treatment of cerebral palsy, the necessary equipment and therapy can be expensive. If you think medical malpractice caused your child’s cerebral palsy, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact us today and see how our team of experienced Cerebral Palsy Family Lawyers can help your family.