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What to Look for in Pediatric Ankle Braces

Ankle injuries among kids commonly occur because of the level of activity undertaken by most youngsters, but the good news is they'll quickly heal with proper treatment and care. Children suffering from some type of foot or ankle problem that's congenital, rather than injury-related, must be careful in order to not further trouble an already weakened joint.

For protection from an injury or surgery, or as a daily requirement due to an ongoing condition, finding and using the proper pediatric ankle brace for an affected child is critical to their well-being. Here's what to look for in a child's ankle brace:
  • It's important to get the right size so the brace is comfortable. You want it to be just slightly snug to help with compression and stability, but not so tight that the blood flow is impaired. Every excuse will be found for not putting on a brace if it's painful or uncomfortable to wear. If it's not being worn, it's of no use. Proper fit to ensure comfort is essential. That's why our custom braces require a prescription and professional fitting.
  • A child's ankle brace must also be easy to put on, which generally means either a slip-on or one with Velcro straps. Again, if the child isn't putting it on themselves, it'll probably end up being worn less of the time. Lace-up ankle braces aren't a good choice for kids for this reason.
  • The best brace for most kids, especially those involved in sports, is going to be a low profile model that fits under the foot and inside the shoe when playing. A sports-looking (rather than a medical-looking) brace will generally be more accepted among the youth. Some ankle braces, such as boots, are going to look like a medical orthotic no matter what. When dealing with conditions such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or congenital deformities, looking good is a low priority compared to comfort or effectiveness.
  • Another important aspect of a child's ankle brace is that it should be lightweight. The lightest-weight braces are generally slip-on sleeves made from neoprene. These offer good joint support while at play, are easy to wear, inexpensive to buy and are light-weight. Baby foot orthosis are very light, out of necessity, and yet can be tremendously effective at maintaining a baby's proper foot-to-ankle angle at 90°. The type of brace you obtain will necessarily be determined by the nature of the problem being addressed and/or the activities being performed.
Speaking of preventive maintenance, here are a few things to keep in mind when trying to prevent injury or accident to the most delicate ankle joints:
  • Stretching and general joint warm-up is important prior to participating in a sports activity or exercise program.
  • Always use extra care when running on uneven surfaces.
  • Those prone to sprains should definitely utilize some type of support when possible.

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