A foot drop brace is a device worn by individuals who suffer from foot drop or fallen arches. It is also sometimes used to help improve walking patterns. These devices typically have a hard shell with small wedges meant to reform the shape of the arch on both feet. They have been designed to correct poor walking patterns and restore balance, but almost all patients report that they notice an improvement in their walking after using one for only two weeks.
Many doctors will say that a foot drop brace is unnecessary, and those who use them will most likely be treated with some form of physical therapy before returning to normal activities. Some people feel that the risk of using a foot drop brace is worth the results they can achieve. It is claimed that by using a foot drop brace, weakness in the ankle and foot muscles is corrected, allowing individuals to walk more normally without pain or discomfort. Here are 5 ways a foot drop brace can help correct poor walking patterns.
1. Walking Without Pain
A foot drop brace does not correct fallen arches but corrects weak ankle and foot muscles so that individuals can walk normally again. For people who suffer from chronic pain, this is a great benefit, as pain in the ankle is usually a result of muscle weakness. Weak muscles cause pain in the joints because of their inability to support weight properly; this often results in limp or bowed legs, making it harder for an individual to maintain balance.
The hard shell of a foot drop brace is made of plastic and metal to mold to the shape of the arch. The small wedges inside this hard shell mold the bone structure underneath the foot, preventing it from falling while keeping the ankle joint straightened. The result is that an individual with fallen arches will not have pain in their ankle or foot joints as often when they walk, which can correct poor walking patterns.
2. Improving Balance
One of the most common reasons for falling arches is weakness in the ankle and foot muscles. This weakness can be caused by years of injury, or it can be caused by congenital disabilities where one leg is shorter than the other or where the bones or muscles are misaligned. When one side of a person’s body is weaker than the other, it affects their balance because they do not have a strong foundation to lean against when they walk. Wearing an AFO brace for foot drop can help correct this balance problem by strengthening the foot and ankle muscles. While a brace can be used to strengthen any part of the body, those with weak feet often find that they can walk better when their arches are corrected with a foot drop brace.
The hard shell of the foot drop brace applies pressure to the arch of the foot and keeps the ankle in a straightened position, which can quickly strengthen weak muscles in that area. The correct alignment of the ankles and feet helps to improve a person’s balance so that they can walk without falling as often. Even if an individual is only slightly off balance, it can have a negative effect on their balance by causing them to stumble or fall.
3. Maintaining Proper Gait
Alignment of the ankle and foot area is also important because it can help to maintain proper gait. A person’s gait is their walking pattern, where they place their feet when they take steps, what angle their legs make with the ground, and how they move their arms as they walk. A poor gait can be caused by a number of factors, including weak muscles in the ankles or knees that cause misalignment as an individual walks.
A foot drop brace can help to maintain proper gait by keeping the ankle straight. This means that the individual will not have to make a large effort to avoid putting pressure on their joints. The brace also helps an individual strengthen weak muscles in their feet and ankles because it holds the foot in place while walking. Of course, this will only help individuals improve walking patterns if they are willing to undergo physical therapy after the braces are removed.
4. Reversing a Bowlegged Gait
If an individual has poor walking patterns because of a bowlegged gait or walking with knees to one side, the foot drop brace can be an excellent way to correct this condition. When the ankles are not aligned with the rest of the body, it can also cause the knees to shift slightly off-center. If an individual wears a foot drop brace as they walk, this helps them stay in alignment and allows them to keep their legs straight when they take steps.
A foot drop brace can correct muscle weakness in this area as well. It is designed to hold the foot in a straightened position and prevents the hips from swinging to one side, so it even helps an individual who has fallen arches by improving balance throughout their lower body. The brace can also be used to correct a bowlegged gait if the individual has been injured or is born with a condition that affects their joints in this way.
5. Preventing Crashes
By correcting bad walking patterns, a foot drop brace also helps prevent falls. A person who cannot walk in a straight line will not be able to walk steadily, and this can cause them to fall as they take steps.
A foot drop brace is designed to maintain a straight line throughout the steps an individual takes, so it can prevent them from falling. This is usually a temporary measure as the individual begins to strengthen their muscles, and they may need physical therapy to correct their walking patterns. If they have weak muscles, strengthening them can help an individual walk in a straight line, so they do not fall.
In conclusion, foot drop braces have many benefits, including improving balance, correcting bad walking patterns, and preventing falls. A foot drop brace can make a big difference in a person’s health, but it is important to remember that it does not cure fallen arches or determine the cause of their condition. If you are interested in learning more about why most braces do not work (and how to tell if they do), visit a doctor who can help, or try a home remedy if you want to try something natural.