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The Role of Orthotics in Patients with TBI

Clinical Lead Orthotist and Expert Witness, Rehana Ali, tells us about the use of orthotics in patients with TBI.

18 December 2023   |   Gyrus Group

Orthotics are a valuable tool in the management of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) who experience physical impairments, such as gait and balance disturbances, spasticity, and weakness. These devices are designed to support, align, or enhance the function of the body and can significantly benefit individuals with TBI. In the acute phase of treatment following injury, PRAFOS (pressure relieving ankle foot orthoses) are often used to maintain the range of motion at the foot and ankle while a patient is in hospital. These can also reduce the risk of pressure sores. Where there is spasticity, anti- contracture devices (both upper limb and lower limb) can be incorporated into the treatment plan, which can complement Botox Injections in order to maintain the range at the affected joint. Helmets can be custom made for protection as required and more cosmetic options are now available.

The use of Dynamic Lycra Garments can be beneficial in dampening tone and improving pelvic stability and proprioception. They work using strategically placed panelling which improves body alignment. This new positioning stimulates sensory systems and has been found to encourage neuroplasticity, ensuring that muscles operate in their new state of optimal alignment. These garments can range from a full suit or shorts to arm sleeve.

In my experience, incorporating orthotic devices into a comprehensive treatment plan which will evolve with the patient’s rehabilitation needs and goals can significantly improve their quality of life, and working collaboratively in a multi-disciplinary team can enhance their mobility, independence, and overall function.

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