As time passes, we often forget how precious physical fitness is. Yet when age takes its toll and causes us to stumble, struggle, or even impair mobility altogether, then it becomes abundantly clear just how important posture and fitness are for day-to-day life. That’s why now, more than ever, it’s essential to be aware of potential issues and actively maintain a balanced way of living! Taking preventative steps today can make all the difference in preserving your health tomorrow.
Orthotics are medical devices that help support several parts of the body, such as the feet, ankles, knees, shoulders, hips, and so on. They can come in the form of insoles, braces, or splints to assist with mobility and provide comfort. They’re often referred to as orthoses as well, and the terms can be used interchangeably.
As we age, our bodies become more prone to injury and pain; this is why orthotics are essential for older adults. Let’s learn more about how they work and can benefit older adults.
What Is an Orthotic?
An orthotic is a device that provides support to a weakened body part or joint by absorbing shock and improving balance. They can be custom-made or prefabricated from materials like plastic or metal. The type of material used depends on the patient’s needs as determined by their physician. Orthotics are designed to reduce stress on the body while providing stability and comfort when walking, running, or standing.
Orthotics is a medical specialty concerned with the structural and functional properties of neuromuscular and skeletal systems. Especially in old age, people suffer from joint pain and seek solutions for it. Geriatric orthoses can effectively solve such problems. Orthotics can improve posture-related pain, recovery from injury or surgery, arthritis-related pain, and other ailments related to the skeletal system.
Custom-Made Versus Prefabricated Orthotics
When deciding which type of orthosis to get for yourself or an older adult in your life, it’s essential to consider whether a custom-made pair would be better than a prefabricated pair. Custom orthotics are made specifically for the individual based on their unique needs and any existing medical conditions that could affect their mobility. Prefabricated orthotics are mass-produced from standard materials, so they may not provide as much cushioning or support as custom ones. However, they can still be effective at helping reduce pain caused by certain medical conditions or injuries.
Give Your Joints What They’ve Been Lacking
Orthotics are made from various materials, from soft foam to plastic, to fit different body shapes. Orthotics can be used to treat or manage a variety of problems, some of which include:
- Irregularities in gait
- Injuries from accidents or sports
- Recovery from surgery
Simply put, orthotics give your joints additional support, stability/motion control, and shock absorption.
Read More: Benefits of Orthopedic Braces for Arthritis
Why Are Orthotics Important for Older Adults?
As we age, our joints become more prone to injury due to wear and tear over time. Additionally, conditions such as arthritis can affect the quality of our mobility and cause pain in our joints. This is where orthoses come into play. They can help improve balance by increasing stability while reducing the impact on the affected joint during activity. They also help alleviate pain caused by conditions like arthritis by providing cushioning to affected areas.
Orthotics for older adults can help maintain or improve mobility by improving balance. Improved circulation helps older people maintain independence by improving all bodily functions. Being pain-free is a reason enough for seniors to seek out a medical orthosis. However, we recommend checking insurance policies first, as premiums can be expensive.
Who Might Need Orthotics?
There are many reasons for older adults to get orthotics. These are some of the issues that require orthotics. Talk to your doctor or orthopedic specialist if you believe you need these special devices.
- Sensitive areas in the feet and legs do not function properly, causing pain, fatigue, and discomfort.
- Instability when walking, going up or down stairs, moving around.
- Loss of strength or pain when grabbing or holding objects.
- Poor posture or a lack of balance. Pain is present even in a resting position.
- Limbs feeling weak or numb.
- Feeling constant and/or painful popping sensations at the joints.
How Orthotics Help Older Adults
Joint problems among older adults are very widespread. The most common one is arthritis.
Combining all their knowledge of anatomy, biomechanics, physiology, and engineering of the lower extremity, medical professionals can provide medical care to assist patients with joint or neuromuscular problems. Orthotics involve using medical devices that support the skeletal system and aid in general movement. The devices can also help heal fractures after cast removal, correct posture, and control joint movements. Most orthotics are manufactured using the latest technology in CAD/CAM and CNC machines. 3D printing is also used.
Other materials include a combination of thermoplastics, carbon fiber, elastic, metal, fabric, and more.
Upper extremity orthoses are for the upper arm, elbow, forearm, and wrist. Lower limb orthoses apply to the feet, ankles, knees, and hips. Spinal orthotics are also available in the form of body jackets that stabilize affected spinal fractures. Older adults can use these orthoses if they have joint or muscle problems.
The Bottom Line
Orthotics can be an invaluable tool for relieving joint pain and improving balance in older adults who suffer from chronic ailments such as arthritis or other age-related issues like poor posture. Although both custom-made and prefabricated options are available depending on your budget, either option can be beneficial when it comes to improving mobility while preventing further injury due to everyday activities like walking or running. Ultimately, consulting with your doctor will help you find the type of orthotic best suits your needs, so don’t hesitate to ask questions!
Artik Medical Supply provides high-quality, long-lasting products. We focus on our client’s needs to find the right solution that aligns with their primary care doctors’ guidance for their rehabilitation process. Do you need pain relief, or are you recovering from an injury or surgery? Connect with us today to check eligibility and see how we can help.