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Orthopaedic supports are orthopaedic devices that are worn on the outside of the body to hold, align, correct, and support various areas of the body while they recover from an injury. They're made with unique materials and creative designs to provide intensive targeted support for the knee, spine, foot, ankle, upper elbow, shoulder, hip, and other body areas. Orthopaedic supports can help to protect joints after operations and provide patients with musculoskeletal difficulties a sense of movement.

Orthopaedic supports are less painful than invasive therapies, aid in faster healing, and lower the risk of post-surgical problems. 

People nowadays end up spending a lot of time in front of computers, televisions, and smart devices, resulting in minor and major musculoskeletal deformities and dysfunctions. As a result, there is a steady increase in the need for orthopaedic supports.

Spondylitis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, and other mobility problems affect the elderly population at a greater rate, thus they need these orthopaedic supports more.

Categorization of  Orthopaedic Support according to its use for body parts:

Lower extremity supports, spinal supports, and upper extremity supports are the three types of Orthopaedic Supports.

A. Orthopaedic Supports for Lower Extremity 

Lumbar Support Pillow

A lumbar support pillow is a cushion that fits between your lower back and the seat of your chair. The flat section is meant to sit against the chair, while the rounded side rests in the curvature of your lower back. These pillows may be constructed of a number of materials, but memory foam is the ideal option.

These pillows are meant to support your lumbar, or lower back region. They aid in the support of the muscles and the realignment of the spine. They may also be tucked under the knees or hips when sleeping to properly correct your spine.

Lumbar Support Pillow can assist you in the following ways:

  • Relax Your Muscles. Most of us carry a lot of stress in our muscles on a daily basis.  A lumbar support cushion might help reduce some of the strain on a daily basis.
    Placing a cushion behind your back assists in the support of part of your weight. This relieves some of the pressure on your muscles, enabling them to relax. This can assist to release knots that have built up over time, and it may even improve your posture because you are no longer compensating for those sore muscles.
  • Support Your Spine. Your spine bears a significant percentage of your body weight and keeps you upright and moving throughout the day. Day-to-day activities can put a lot of strain on your spine. It is vital to look after it and provide it with customised support.
  • Lumbar support pillows are extremely flexible, allowing you to support your spine without pulling it out of shape. Even better are memory foam lumbar support pillows for this reason. Memory foam conforms to your shape as it heats up from your body heat, providing where it's needed and supporting it.
  • Relieve Pain. When your back muscles overcompensate, they may tense and spasm. This creates a shooting pain that radiates up and down your spine, generally starting in your shoulders or lower back. Even even the least ergonomic office seats, using a lumbar support pillow behind your back can assist take some of the strain off those muscles and reduce spasms.
  • Keep Your Spine Aligned. A lumbar support pillow might assist you in keeping your spine straight as you sleep. Tuck the pillow under your waist if you sleep on your side, and under your hips if you sleep on your stomach. If you sleep on your back, place the cushion between your knees to bring your hips and lower back into a more comfortable posture.
  • Improve Your Posture. Overcompensating for weak or tight muscles is a common cause of improper standing posture. If your back hurts, try bending your hips backwards to relieve some of the strain. However, if those muscles are supported and rested the rest of the time, you may not need to compensate, allowing you to maintain a good posture at all times.

Where Should You Put Your Lumbar Pillow?

Lumbar support pillows are common in office seats and even in cars. They're also great for travelling or hiking. A lumbar support cushion, on the other hand, may make your life lot healthier and more pleasant in a variety of situations.

If you plan to be waiting someplace for a long period, carry a lumbar support cushion with you. Wheelchair users may find these helpful in maintaining a comfortable position in their chair. And you may want to bring one with you to church services or theatre shows so you can sit in comfort through the event.

Heating pads for knee joints pain

Knee discomfort is quite frequent in the India. It often affects the elderly as muscles weaken and is more frequent in women. Pain can occur everywhere, including the knee cap and the bones around the knee. Swelling, trouble bending and extending the knee, and difficulty mounting stairs are the most prevalent symptoms. However, there are several methods for relieving pain, the most efficient of which is to apply heat pads for the knee.

How does heating pads work?

Using a warm compress to relieve pain is one of the oldest methods of pain relief. It aids in the loosening of tight joints, hence alleviating pain.

When you apply a heat compress to a joint, the blood vessels dilate, enabling more blood, oxygen, and nutrients to travel to the damaged joint. As a result, circulation improves, resulting in more relaxed muscles.

Types of heating pads

There are primarily two types of heating pads that may be utilised to get successful outcomes.

  • Natural stone heating pads
  • Electric heating pads

Different sorts of stones are used in natural stone heating pads, and each stone has its own set of health advantages. Infrared heating pads are available too. However, for folks on a tight budget, a genuine stone heating pad may be too pricey. However, many people may be able to afford an electric pad.

Benefits of heat pads

Each sort of heating pad serves a different function, yet they all offer several advantages. Some of them are as follows:

  • Relieves pain quickly
  • Quick at healing
  • Increases blood flow
  • Relaxes and loosens the muscles
  • Reduces retention of water
  • Helps to detoxify the body

Heat pads for knees may appear to be quite effective, and people may be tempted to use them, but they should not be used without contacting a doctor.

B. Spinal Braces and Supports

Here are several commonly used spine supports.

Coccyx Cushion

A coccyx cushion is a type of seat cushion that is meant to protect your tailbone or coccyx. For a variety of causes, your coccyx might become inflamed and painful. Sitting on regular seat cushions might put strain on this bone, aggravating the pain.

A coccyx cushion has a slot carved out of the back to accommodate your tailbone. This helps to support your hips and spine while relieving strain on your coccyx. Many of these pillows have a modified wedge shape, and they may come in a variety of shapes.

The coccyx is a tiny triangular bone near the base of your spine. It is made up of three tiny bone segments that align to form a shorter tail. The coccyx is connected to the sacrum, a big bone located just below the last lumbar vertebra.

How a Cushion Can Help?

Using a coccyx cushion or another type of seat cushion might help you maintain a better posture with no effort. The posture of your back is greatly influenced by the alignment of your hips. Tilting your hips forward slightly might help your back to form a more natural curve.

Sitting on a regular seat cushion will only put more pressure on your coccyx if it is inflamed or sore. It won't have time to recover, and you can end up compensating for the pain with improper posture. A coccyx cushion not only allows your tailbone to recover, but it also prevents further injuries by relieving pressure on the base of your spine.

Placing the Cushion Properly

To begin with, never use a coccyx cushion in conjunction with another seat cushion, as this can throw the cushion's balance off. Place the cushion directly on the seat, eliminating any other cushions if possible.

It’s preferable to use a coccyx cushion in a chair with appropriate back support when possible. If you have to sit down on a soft sofa or chair, attempt to put a heavyweight such as a large, flat book under your cushion before you sit down. A coccyx cushion will also elevate you a few inches off the ground, so use a footrest if necessary to maintain a comfortable, ninety-degree angle between your knees.

Coccyx cushions can be used in the following places:

  • At Work. Because you will be spending the majority of your waking hours at work, you will need to use your coccyx cushion there. If at all possible, purchase a desk chair with strong back support, particularly good lumbar support for your desk. If this is not possible, consider purchasing a lumbar support cushion to help maintain your back in its natural, healthy curvature.
  • At Home. You should also have a coccyx cushion at home. Your sofa may be quite comfortable, but it's probably not doing you any good, especially if you're recovering from a tailbone injury.

Purchase a chair with strong back support and a firm seat base to lay your coccyx cushion on. A rocking chair is an excellent option, and there are several fantastic ergonomic armchairs available.

  • In the Car. You might be shocked to find that a coccyx cushion should also be used in your car. This is especially true if you have a lengthy drive. Your vehicle seat isn't always designed for optimal ergonomic comfort, and ordinary seats don't do much to relieve strain on your tailbone.

Adjust the angle of your seat if possible so that you are not sitting so far back on an angled seat. When you sit on your coccyx cushion, adjust your seat back so you're sitting up straight. Remember that this cushion will add a little height to your seat, so you may need to shift your seat closer to the steering wheel or modify the seat height to get back into correct driving position.

C. Upper Extremity Braces and Supports

Cervical Memory Foam Pillow and Neck Pain

To alleviate neck pain, a cervical memory foam cushion may be the ideal option. The cervical cushion keeps your neck in perfect alignment. While sleeping on your back, the cervical pillow maintains a cervical curve while enabling your muscles and ligaments to rest and regain their usual length.

Because of the improved blood flow to your head, the cushion helps your posture by releasing and relaxing stiff muscles in your neck and shoulders. Poor neck posture can be caused by snoozing on the wrong pillows. A bad pillow means you'll wake up with neck ache, which means you'll have a bad day.

Muscle stiffness in the neck and shoulders, inadequate blood circulation that cause arm or hand numbness and headaches and shoulder and arm pain are caused by pain in the lower cervical spine.

Categorization of Support by their material 

Orthopaedic Supports can be soft and elastic, hinged, or hard and rigid, depending on their type. Soft and stretchy supports are presently the most preferred.

Soft and Elastic Braces and Supports

Orthopaedic supports are made of a flexible, resilient composite material composed of a thin sheet of a flexible, closed-cell elastomeric substance such as neoprene rubber with a plethora of relatively large air holes extending through the sheet's depth and spread throughout its surface.

On the first face of the base layer, a skin-protecting initial layer of a soft, flexible elastic porous knitted fabric is adhered. On the second face of the base layer, a protective second layer of a flexible, elastic porous knitted fabric is adhered.

The composite material is porous, allowing air and water to pass through to the other side. The materials of orthotic supports are sufficiently elastic to create compression around a body part supported by the composite material when stretched. The composite material is porous enough to let the supported body part to breathe during usage, providing flexibility and support while preventing heat discomfort and sweat.

Hinged Braces and Supports

A hinged knee brace can help to support and stabilise an injured knee while limiting movement. Each side of the knee has a hinge that helps avoid hyperextension and protects ligament damage. If you have arthritis in your knee, it may also help to relieve pain and pressure. Hinged knee braces are recommended for knees that require more support.

There are two types of hinged knee braces: hard hinged and soft hinged. A soft hinged knee brace provides mild to moderate support, whereas a rigid hinged knee brace provides moderate to maximal support while also providing superior protection and stability for contact sports.

Types of hinged knee braces

Hinged braces can also be classified according to their function.

  • Prophylactic Braces. Athletes mostly use prophylactic braces, which are hinged knee braces worn for the goal of preventing injury.

Prophylactic braces are intended to protect the knees against stresses that push them inside (valgus stress) or rotate them outwards (rotational stress). The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is meant to be protected by these braces, and the cruciate ligaments are expected to assist maintain the joint stable.

A prophylactic hinged knee brace can help to protect the cruciate ligaments and meniscus.

  • Functional Braces. After an accident or reconstructive surgery, functional braces are meant to protect and support the knees. They were designed to help sportsmen recover from ACL injuries by supporting their knees.

While functional braces may provide support for your knee during rotational actions such as pivoting, they do not appear to prevent abnormal shin bone movements. Furthermore, if you have undergone an ACL repair, functional braces do not appear to increase physical performance.

Hard and Rigid Braces and Supports

Low back pain can be treated with rigid braces. They're also typically used to keep your lumbar spine stable after surgery. There are several different types of spinal braces (also known as orthotics or orthoses).

Rigid braces come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they always have the same basic structure. In the back, they normally have metal or plastic uprights (vertical posts) that are shaped like your low back and pelvis. Bands that go over your thoracic spine are also seen on rigid braces (or upper back). These braces include cloth straps that exert pressure on the abdomen to assist move weight off your spine.

Because they address disorders of the lumbar spine and sacrum, rigid braces are known as lumbosacral orthoses.

What Are Braces and Supports Used For?

  • Ligament Injury 
  • Preventive Care 
  • Post-Operative Rehabilitation
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Others

Braces are commonly used to treat a wide range of medical issues and are designed to provide varying levels of support or protection.

The primary goal of bracing is to provide structural, functional, or repositioning and stabilisation of the joints.

Support braces or splints are commonly used in the field of orthopaedics to address ailments caused by ageing, osteoarthritis, traumatic injuries, or sports injuries.

Supports are frequently used to prevent damage or to avoid a recurrence of pre-existing sports injuries in some cases, such as ankle braces and knee braces.

Patient eligibility for using Orthopaedic Support

Bracing and support products are used to manage orthopaedic disorders and illnesses effectively. Physicians and orthopaedic surgeons consider these products clinically required for certain situations. However, in some cases, depending on the severity of the disease and its side effects, as well as the patient's physiology and age, bracing products are not appropriate.

  • Obese individuals are ineligible to use preventive knee braces due to the exertion of large physical forces, which might worsen knee injuries.
  • Patients with edema and deconditioning are ineligible for orthopaedic braces due to considerable muscle mass in the afflicted region.