Physical disabilities come in many forms, from visible to invisible, from healable to chronic. But while they aren’t often easy to manage or live with, wearing supports can make day-to-day life a little easier. From reducing pain to improving muscle function, here’s how Bauerfeind supports can help.
What disabilities are braces suitable for?
Braces are designed for physical disabilities resulting from musculoskeletal disorders, injuries, and inflammatory conditions. They may also help certain neuromuscular conditions. These include (but aren’t necessarily limited to):
- Temporarily disabling injuries like bone fractures and ligament ruptures
- Degenerative disorders like Osteoarthritis and Posttraumatic Arthritis
- Autoimmune and inflammatory conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Pseudogout
- Chronic pain, such as that resulting from acute injury, overuse injury, herniated disk, misalignment, or malformation
- Nerve disorders like multiple sclerosis and peripheral neuropathy
How Bauerfeind supports help
Our braces help relieve pain by relieving pressure, supporting muscle movement, and massaging key areas around the joint. They do so through splints, straps, compression, and pads - sometimes all at once.
For example, if you have knee osteoarthritis, one side of your knee is more affected (and likely more painful). As the condition progresses, the effect will become more pronounced. Our GenuTrain OA knee brace helps through a specialised strapping system that offloads pressure from the painful side of the knee. The brace also incorporates a massaging pad at the patella to relieve pain further and compression knit fabric to boost circulation through the joint and relieve stiffness commonly associated with the condition.
If you have chronic elbow tendonitis, the EpiTrain can help in a similar way (minus the offloading mechanism). It will reduce stiffness, pain, and inflammation while activating your muscles to protect the damaged tendons.
Supports can also help you avoid pain in frequently used joints, i.e., those you need to use more to ‘compensate’ for your disability. For example, wheelchair users are extremely prone to developing pain in the shoulders, lower back, wrists, and elbows. Compression supports like the OmoTrain Shoulder Brace and EpiTrain Elbow Brace help by:
- Activating the muscle to help support joint tissues
- Improving proprioception (your “awareness” of joint positioning and movement), thereby improving joint mechanics
- Reducing muscle fatigue so other tissues like tendons and ligaments don’t have to pick up the slack
Keep you active
Exercise is essential for physical and mental health. It keeps the muscles strong, boosts blood flow, and releases endorphins (which also double as a natural pain-killer). As we’re sure you know, certain disabilities can make it hard to stick to an exercise routine (or do any exercise at all); pain, dysfunction, and instability can often stand in the way.
But as braces can relieve pain and support you through movement, they can help you stay active. For instance, the MalleoLoc L3 ankle brace uses a system of splints, straps, and compression fabric to support the ankle after a ligament rupture or in chronic instability. You can walk on the joint with greater control and less pain.
Support the healing process
Some disabilities like arthritis can only be managed, not healed. But where repair is possible, braces can be instrumental in assisting the process.
Fractures, for instance, need time and immobilisation to set and heal. Here, rigid braces like the MalleoLoc Ankle Splint are best. The anatomic support and adjustable strapping make it as effective as a moon boot while being more comfortable (and significantly easier to slip into a shoe).
High-grade ligament tears (even complete ruptures) can also be healed with the assistance of a brace. We’ve created a special series of SecuTecs designed to comply with the Cross Brace Protocol, a conservative treatment method for ACL ruptures that can help some patients bypass surgery. Your clinician will lock your knee in the brace at a 90-degree angle, where the distance between the torn ACL fibres is shortest. After 4 weeks, they will gradually increase your available range of motion by 5-10 degree intervals as your ACL heals.
Braces can also help in later stages as you return to regular life and physical activities. Improved proprioception and support means you’ll have less pain, greater muscle control, and be less prone to re-injury as your tissues finish healing.
Improve nerve and muscle function
Medical-grade compression knit provides targeted pressure points to communicate directly with muscle fibres. Essentially, it helps the motor nerves send and receive signals to and from the brain, sometimes improving balance and muscle control issues associated with injuries, arthritis, and neuromuscular conditions.
For example, one study found that compression helped participants with diabetic peripheral neuropathy reduce neuropathic symptoms and improve motor control and performance.
Other studies show that compression helps people with knee arthritis improve their gait.
Lessen immobilisation risks and discomfort
Long-term immobilisation is never ideal, as it increases the risk of swelling, atrophy, and potentially dangerous blood clots. But in some cases, it’s unavoidable.
For example, in the late stages of Multiple Sclerosis, nerve function is severely impaired. You may find it extremely difficult to move (sometimes to the point of being bedridden) as the damaged nerve fibres can’t effectively send signals into muscle tissues.
In these cases, compression is essential. The gentle pressure it provides will stimulate the muscles and boost circulation, helping carry essential nutrients and oxygen into tissues and reducing the chances of a clot developing. It will also fight the formation of edemas - your body’s inflammatory agents - thereby reducing swelling.
Our braces and supports fall under NDIS coverage
The National Disability Insurance Scheme provides coverage for Assistive Technology, which includes braces and supports used to help people living with disability. Check if your Bauerfeind brace will be covered by filling out the NDIS Enquiry Form.
If you require assistance selecting the right product for your needs or wearing the brace, call us on 1300 668 466.Do you have private health? Most private health extras will cover Bauerfeind Products. Check to see if yours is included: Bauerfeind Private Health Insurance Inquiry.