Even the smallest bones and muscles can become injured. In today’s society, youth sports and competition are performed at a much higher level and, as a result, injuries are much more common. To help protect and fix injuries in children, a brace can sometimes be the key to making them better again.
For some children braces are a new experience. They may have trouble putting them on and getting used to them. However, with a little practice and some helpful tips, your child will be able to maneuver without trouble and start healing in no time.
Here are 5 tips for how to use pediatric braces:
- Make the brace part of your daily routine.
Just like your kids have a morning routine of getting up, getting dressed, and brushing their teeth, they should also have a routine that involves working on their injured area and putting on their brace.
This will remind them to take care of the injured area and help them to get used to the idea of wearing a brace. Find a few extra minutes in the morning to guide them through any exercises they need to work on and help them to put their brace on properly. The more comfortable they are with wearing their new brace, the quicker they will heal.
- Play with your children in their braces as you normally would.
It is important that your child continues to stay as active as they can while wearing their brace. Continuing to act as they normally would will help them to get used to the brace and allow them to keep using those key muscles and bones.
If their play time is shorter or less aggressive than normal, this is fine; however, you want them to still utilize every part of their body to keep that muscle memory intact. Set aside a certain amount of time each day to do something active with them so they can work toward strengthening those injured areas while the brace protects the area from harm.
- Check often for sores and blisters.
It can be difficult for younger individuals to express how they’re feeling or what is hurting, which is why it is important to do a check of their injured area often. A brace may be too loose or too tight, and this might show through some blistering or sore spots that have developed from rubbing.
Try to do a daily check of the area for any evidence of the brace causing discomfort. This kind of problem can cause the child to walk awkwardly or take weight off of the area, which will not help healing. Keep an open dialogue between you and your child to be sure the brace remains comfortable and effective.
- Tighten or loosen as necessary.
The last thing you want to do is create further injury in a child from improper brace wear. You may need to loosen or tighten the brace over time, and this can be done in a variety of ways. If your child requires a pediatric ankle brace, you can let them try thicker or thinner socks, you can loosen the harness gradually, or you can remove the tongue of the brace.
The way a brace fits is key to how it will help heal, so, if you can, try to have them fitted with the brace by a professional. This will ensure that they are fitted properly and that they get the best support from their brace.
- Consult a professional before choosing a brace.
It is highly recommended that your child receives an accurate diagnosis prior to purchasing a brace of any kind. There are many braces that are available in-store without a prescription, but this does not mean that it will be the best fit for your child’s discomfort or pain.
Braces are just one part of rehabilitation on muscles and bones; other factors may also be present, including flexibility issues, range of motion problems, balance, etc. Consult with your child’s doctor or a sports specialist to get a professional opinion on your child’s specific needs before purchasing a brace.
Children who are injured may not fully understand what has happened to their body or how it is going to be fixed. With that in mind, it’s important that we take their injuries seriously and refer to professional help to find out exactly what the problem is. Getting a professional opinion is important to making sure that the problem can be treated properly.
If you’re new to pediatric braces, be sure to consider the tips suggested and keep an open dialogue with your child. Knowing what hurts, where it hurts, and if it’s getting better are key to helping them become healthy again. If you already know what brace you’re looking for, consider shoulder braces that you know will perform at the highest level throughout your child’s healing.