The Role of Orthotics in Paralysis

Paralysis certainly changes your life forever, but it doesn’t have to stop it. Orthotics can give you the support you need to move your limbs, grab a cup, and even walk again. 

Ortho Engineering designs custom orthotics that help paralyzed patients regain their mobility and functionality. We take your unique needs and physical capabilities into account to create orthotics that address your specific requirements and goals. We also consider the range of motion in your joints, degree of spasticity, muscle strength, and aerobic capacity before we make your orthosis. Here are a few of the orthotics we make that help people with paralysis get around more easily.

Ankle-foot orthotics (AFO)

Whether you’ve sustained an incomplete spinal cord injury or are suffering from complications of a stroke or muscular sclerosis, you may have lost motor skills in your foot. An ankle-foot orthotic can restore your gait and your ambulatory potential.

The orthotic is typically made of molded plastic that cups your heel and extends up your calf. This allows your foot to clear the ground and swing through as you walk. 

Knee-ankle-foot orthotics (KAFO)

If you’re paralyzed from your L3 vertebra or above, you likely have severe stability problems in your knees and ankles, and possibly a complete lack of hip flexion. KAFOs give you solid external support, keep your joints aligned, and allow you to walk with the aid of forearm crutches. 

Hip-knee-ankle-foot orthotic (HKAFO)

The HKAFO uses a pelvic band attached to a KAFO to help paraplegics get ambulatory by using a swing-through motion. This type of orthotic can be locked at the hip or knee joint to increase stability depending on whether you’re standing or walking.

Wrist-hand orthotics (WHO)

If your paralysis stems from an injury to your cervical spine between C4 and C7, you may have lost motor and sensory function in your fingers but retain them in your wrist. In this case, a wrist-hand orthosis can transfer force from your wrist to your fingers and restore your ability to grip.

Things to consider about orthotics 

Our orthotics help many people function more fully despite their paralysis, but they’re not for everyone. Depending on your physical fitness and the degree of your paralysis, you may find that walking, even with the help of orthotics, takes more energy and upper body strength than you have. 

But if you have stamina and strength, orthotics can help you stand upright, have eye-to-eye contact with others, and may even help your bladder and bowel functions. We make all types of orthotics, including those we mentioned above, as well as military orthotics and pediatric orthotics.

To find out if custom-designed orthotics can add mobility back into your life, call us at any of our nine locations throughout Southern California, or schedule an appointment online, and start moving again. 

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