Proper Brace or Splint Usage Can Protect Joints

Blogger “purlbeadsjo presents an interesting discussion, with illustrations of various braces and splints she uses for her body support.

BracesI am one of those EDSers who has a brace for almost every body part! (I’m missing a few) The 1st question that most bendie’s will have is how on earth did I get them all off the NHS? and the 1st questions for most medical professionals will be how on earth do I have any muscle tone left?!

My personal approach to splinting is not to replace the muscle/ligament/tendon part of the joint or to detract from its functioning but to stop my joints from getting into un-natural positions and to stop myself from doing any more damage to my already wonky body.. I ONLY wear splints when there is a RISK to my joints, I don’t splint my knees and ankles if I know for a fact I’m not going to be walking for 4 hours! and I won’t splint my arms if I know I’m just walking.

I was lucky enough to get my lovely orthotics team at Ipswich Hospital to fit me up for a lycra suit. my 1st piece being custom fitted compression shorts.

These for me marked a real turnaround in my joint stability and the progress I made with physical therapy and pilates, before getting these I had plataued with my rehab, I had managed to get to a certain point but if I pushed myself any further I seemed to damage the wrong places, I had developed snapping hip syndrome and was having more and more falls. I had a serious case of give way leg and I was having hip dislocations/subluxations on a daily basis and not just once a day either!!

I was fitted up for these bad boys and everything changed, I very quickly made progress with my physio and managed to fix the snapping hip syndrome completely within a year! (which in terms of a lifetime of physio is really fast progress for me) I also found my core stability began to improve, I had the balance, stability and confidence to carry on with more advanced physio. I now have much stability even without the compression shorts on. I have now had them adapted again to help with my rather unstable SI Joints so they are even more supportive and with velco tabs to attach to a vest if I need it…

My next bit of compression goodness was a vest ^^ (designed to help with subluxing shoulders and my rather annoying wonky shoulder blade. It does exactly that unfortunately the stitching didn’t hold so its back with Jobskin to be repaired.

My most frequently used other braces are my knees and ankles.

Knees are Donjoy 4titude braces – and are designed to help with multidirectional instability and hyperextension, again they do exactly what the say and with a low profile design which actually looks pretty cool!

I really like these braces but they did take some getting used it, I only wore them for walking etc.. since getting them I have realised how unstable my knee’s really were and how much better they are with the braces..since getting them I have been making progress with my leg strength and stability unfortunately the  instability is worse and I have developed subluxing fibulas in both legs ..I don’t think this is as a result of wearing braces its just EDS deterioration :(  I can however now do sets of 10 squats holding onto the sink .. on good days at least! haha

My other most frequently used braces are my ankles.. Donjoy Velocity braces which I have cut down to fit me a bit better.

These are great for me and I fall over a LOT less while wearing them, I started having problems with my ankles when I was about 14 and they have always been squishy and wobbly so I think they are probably among my least useful joints! lol

My finger splints (as mentioned in my previous post) are also used a lot.

My typing and other fine motor tasks are a lot more accurate with finger splints, Playing wheelchair basketball is also a LOT safer with splints to block hyperextension, much fewer dislocations/subluxations while splinted!

anyhoo thats a brief selection of my best and most essential splints I also have:

  • Bilateral wrist braces, a left elbow and thumb splints from Push Braces – everything I have had from them has been fantastic quality, soft, and attractive actually!
  • I have a clavicle brace and additional shoulder braces to help with my dodgy AC joints and squishy shoulders.

I really do have a brace/strap/splint for most body parts.. but I do only use them when I need them! that’s the key to avoid de-conditioning as well as regular physiotherapy and pilates for me.

I braces in my opinion as an OT student and a service user really help me I find if they are used properly they can help re-gain function not just manage it, I have never been able to do squats but I’m nearly there now!

Its also worth bearing in mind that although I’ve made progress with stabilising my joints it will be a life long task and I might never get back to my ‘old self’ I have also developed additional problems with chronic fatigue which is really knocking me back, being tired is one thing but being so fatigued you can’t think straight is entirely another!

This is me as I usually look these days, splinted or on wheels or both so I can choose between walking or wheeling as my body dictates.

oooh just worth a quick mention, the wheel on my chair are Alber e-motion Power assist wheels, they add extra boost to the normal self propelling motion! they are a life saver particularly for people with chronic fatigue or disabilities that affect their arms and legs!”

Click here for more about this site and pictures of purlbeadsjo splints and braces

Braces and support products are also available at this site.

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