The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics is redefining the way musculoskeletal care is delivered across the region with locations throughout Maryland, DC, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
If you’ve been diagnosed with certain foot issues or you need to protect the area following a surgical procedure, your foot specialist may recommend that your foot be protected in a brace. You probably aren’t all that familiar with protective foot braces, so you may be wondering if you should have your foot custom fitted for a brace, or if a generic prefabricated brace will do the trick. Ultimately the decision is yours after consulting with a specialist, but below, we take a closer look at why you may want to choose one over the other depending on your situation.
Both custom and prefabricated foot braces aim to provide stability, support and protection to an injured or surgically addressed area. At the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center, we can cast a mold for your foot the same day as your original appointment, meaning we can quickly help get you set up with a brace fitted to your individual needs for a fraction of the cost of other providers. And while the recommendation for a custom or prefabricated brace will be made after a consultation between patient and provider, we oftentimes recommend foot braces to offer support and protection for the following conditions:
Braces are also commonly ordered after significant trauma to the foot area that results in a fracture, or after a corrective surgical procedure.
Whether or not you need a custom brace really comes down to the extent of your injuries and if there is a possibility that the prefabricated brace will not offer your foot enough protection or support. The general rule of thumb is that a generic foot brace may be recommended for mild injuries or those with a shorter recovery time, whereas a custom brace may be recommended for more severe injuries, for chronic conditions or for individuals with a more unique foot shape.
As we mentioned above, the team at OFAC has our own in-house custom bracing team, so we can help get you set up with a custom brace if that appears to be the best way to completely support your foot while it recovers from injury or surgery. The most common custom brace that we use is the Arizona AFO custom brace, and you can’t get one without a prescription from a doctor. We have licensed doctors on staff who can provide you with this prescription, take a plaster model of your foot, ankle and lower leg and quickly have them shipped out to the AFO manufacturer. Oftentimes the custom brace is back to the patient within two weeks, but we can also place a rush on the order if necessary.
Not all feet are created the same, which is why prefabricated braces aren’t always right for your individual issue. If you’re dealing with an arch issue or tendon disorder caused by your foot shape or your gait, a generic brace simply won’t do the trick. In these situations, you’ll want a professional to help you get fitted for a custom brace that can give your foot the exact support and protection it needs so that you can make a full recovery. If you’d like to learn more about custom braces, or if you want to talk to a member of our team about a different foot issue you’re dealing with, reach out to the team at the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Center today at (703) 584-2040.