What is an ankle orthosis?

Ankle brace is a medical device that supports stability in the joint between lower leg and foot.

Most often it is needed after a bend of the foot and resulting injury of ligaments, so that by wearing the brace can be done a cure. An ankle orthosis usually consists of two plastic shells that surround the joint from the outside and various ligaments to create it individually.

What does an ankle orthosis need?

In the end, the ankle joints have to cushion the entire body weight with each step and are thus exposed to a great deal of stress. A complex apparatus of vision, ligaments and muscles allows for the stability of the joint while providing flexibility and flexibility. An ankle orthosis is needed especially when an injury causes damage to these structures and impaired joint stability.

A common indication for the orthosis is therefore, for example, when one kinks during sports or in everyday life with the foot. This often overstretches the lateral ligaments on the ankle, which corresponds to a sprain. For more severe injuries, the ligaments may even rupture or fracture.

Depending on the extent of injury and the structures involved, a sole treatment with an ankle orthosis may be indicated or an operation must first be performed. Usually, however, an orthosis is also prescribed after surgery for further treatment. This prevents you from bending over again with the foot, thus ensuring that the damaged structures can heal.

Ankle orthosis in a torn ligament

The ankle is held steady by various ligaments that can rupture when injured. When you hit the outer edge of the foot and bend it inwards, it usually affects the ligaments on the outside of the joint that pull from the outer malleolus to the tarsal bones. In the case of the less inverse injury process, ie a bending of the foot to the outside, however, the ligaments that pull from the inner malleolus to the tarsal root may break.
In both cases, if necessary, a sole immobilization and treatment with ankle brace can be done. This will allow the band structures to grow together again. In some cases, however, it may also be necessary for the tapes to be sewn together first. An ankle orthosis then usually still needs to be worn until the ligaments have healed and the joint is fully loaded again.

Which different ankle orthoses are there?

In ankle orthoses, there are differences in the structure and the material used, as well as in the quality. Simple orthoses can be purchased, for example, in sports shops. Professional ankle orthoses, however, are usually only available in a medical supply store. In the construction one can differentiate between rigid, semi-rigid and flexible orthoses. The rigid variants usually consist of two rails that surround the ankle laterally and fix. These are tightened with ribbons or straps. This prevents any movement in the ankle joint to the flexion and extension, ie lowering and lifting of the foot. Rigid ankle orthoses are necessary after fresh injuries to ligament structures.
Semi-rigid orthoses, on the other hand, resemble a type of stocking that is pulled and tied down over the foot and lower leg. As a result, on the one hand there is greater flexibility and, on the other hand, support for stability. This type of ankle orthosis, for example, used by athletes who want to cautious again after a cured injury training.

How does an orthosis work?

An ankle orthosis encloses the joint and fits snugly there. Due to its solid elements, it has a stabilizing effect. As a result, a relief of the ligaments of the joint is achieved and achieved protection against incorrect movements and, where appropriate, alleviation of pain. The movements in the joint are guided through the orthosis and it is prevented that this breaks out during movement.
In comparison to a bandage (ankle bandage), for example, orthoses limit the freedom of action in favor of greater stability. A plaster on the other hand achieves maximum stability but prevents any mobility. The ankle brace therefore offers a good compromise between flexibility and stability and is therefore often used.

How do I properly apply an ankle orthosis?

When creating an ankle orthosis, care must be taken to ensure that it sits comfortably but still firmly surrounds the joint. Depending on the model, various settings can be made. First, the heel pad should be adjusted using the Velcro, so that the side panels fit well to the joint. All other closures and straps should also be open and loose. Subsequently, the ankle orthosis is created.
The foot should be in a 90 degree position. The foot is placed in the middle. Now all Velcro strips are alternately tightened. First loose and then a little bit tighter. Ultimately, the ankle orthosis should sit tight without exerting too much pressure. If the orthosis slips, it is either too loose or not suitable for the fit. On the other hand, if she pushes or there is a feeling of discomfort in the foot, she is too firm. Anyone who has difficulty putting on the ankle brace can, for example, be helped in a medical supply store.

Should I also wear an orthosis at night?

An orthosis for the ankle does not always have to be worn at night. In the event of a fresh injury to the ligaments, it may initially make sense to wear the brace at night as well, so that it does not cause any further injury through movement during sleep. This is especially true when the joint is very unstable. In case of minor injuries or if a healing has already started, it may be necessary to do without the orthosis at night.
In some cases it is even advisable to give the ankle more freedom at night by not wearing the orthosis. This is simplistic if the joint is stable but not yet fully loadable. Therefore, it can not be said in general whether an orthosis for the ankle should be worn at night. It is a case-by-case decision that should be made in consultation with the attending physician.

How long should I wear an ankle orthosis?

How long an ankle orthosis should be worn depends firstly on the amount of injury required to wear the brace and secondly on the amount of time it takes for the joint to heal. Anyone who has slightly sprained the foot while bending over without tearing the ligaments may, after a few days, if necessary, carefully try to walk without orthosis.

In case of torn ligaments or other major injuries, however, it may be necessary to wear the orthosis over several weeks. In the case of an arthritis of the ankle, it is even indicated in some cases to use the brace long-term. The doctor who prescribes the orthosis will determine how long it should be worn. If necessary, the recommendation is adjusted during the healing process. It may also be useful, after a restored stability of the ankle initially only temporarily dispense with the orthosis to avoid re-overloading.

What should be considered when wearing?

When wearing an ankle brace, it should be noted that it fits well. It should be strong enough to give stability to the joint and prevent it from slipping. However, the orthosis may not sit so tightly that it causes pain and leads to discomfort in the foot by squeezed nerves.
In addition, the specifications agreed with the doctor regarding the wearing period and wearing period should be observed. If wearing the ankle orthosis is difficult or unsafe, you should get help early. In addition to the attending physician, you can usually get advice in a medical supply store.

Can I also wear an ankle orthosis in my shoe?

In general, an ankle brace can also be worn in the shoe. The prerequisite is that the shoe surrounds the orthosis and stability is ensured. However, the shoe should not be so tight that it exerts additional pressure on the orthosis. As a rule, no special shoe is required for this.
However, there are orthotic shoes that are specially designed to surround the orthopedic foot. The purchase of such shoes may be considered if the ankle orthosis is expected to be worn for a long time.

Can I drive it?

Basically, you can also drive a car with an orthosis on the ankle. However, it must be ensured that this does not constitute a restriction when driving the vehicle. In addition, the pedaling is a burden on the joint dar. It should therefore be driven again only when a long distance painless can be gone. If the left leg is affected and the car has an automatic transmission, there are no restrictions on driving.

How much does an ankle orthosis cost?

Ankle brace costs depending on the provider and quality usually between 20 and 70 €. Orthoses in a sports shop are often cheaper. Despite the higher price, only a professional orthosis from a medical supply store should be used for serious ankle injuries. The majority of the costs can be taken over with medical justifiability usually by the health insurance, so that the self-borne costs are even lower for ankle orthosis from the medical supply store.

Does this pay the health insurance?

If a medical justification exists because of a diagnosed injury, a doctor may prescribe an ankle orthosis as an adjunct to a prescription. Both statutory and private health insurance cover most of the costs. Usually, however, a small own additional payment is required.

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