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Why fabric orthoses are a good option for Cerebral Palsy

Boy in pink DMO Suit

Why fabric orthoses are a good option for Cerebral Palsy

Find out why orthotic devices like fabric orthoses can be a good option in the field of Cerebral Palsy Orthotics and how they can help children and adults living with Cerebral Palsy.

DM Orthotics has been supporting people with Cerebral Palsy to live more independently, by using fabric orthoses, for over 20 years.  In this two-part blog series, we look at why fabric orthoses can be a good option in the application of Cerebral Palsy Orthotics, what the different types of dynamic orthoses offered by DM Orthotics are and how they help different presentations of the condition.

Fabric orthoses are sometimes referred to as lycra orthoses but at DM Orthotics we call them Dynamic Movement Orthoses® or DMO® products.

In this blog, part one, we look at the different Cerebral Palsy presentations, how Dynamic Movement Orthoses® work and why their design can help support patients with Cerebral Palsy.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

Cerebral Palsy (CP) refers to a group of conditions that affect the movement of muscles and the posture of the body.  There are three main types:

Spastic CP

People with this form of CP have increased muscle tone. This means their muscles are stiff and, as a result, their movements can be awkward. Range of movement is reduced because the muscle tone is so tight, spasticity can be very painful with muscles often going into spasm.

Dyskinetic CP

This type of CP is sometimes called dystonic, athetoid or choreoathetoid Cerebral Palsy.  It causes uncontrolled, involuntary, sustained or intermittent muscle contractions.  People can have problems with the movement of their hands, arms, feet and legs making it difficult to sit or walk.  Some people find it difficult to control the tongue, vocal cords and breathing which can affect speech and language.

Ataxic CP

Ataxia is defined as an inability to activate the correct pattern of muscles during movement. People with the condition often have problems with balance and coordination as well as difficulty with spatial awareness.  People with ataxia may be unsteady when they walk or with activities that require a lot of control like writing.  Ataxia can also affect speech and language.

Mixed Cerebral Palsy

Many people have a mixture of these three main presentations.  The most common being a spastic-dyskinetic CP.

Types of Cerebral Palsy Orthotic devices

Orthoses used to treat Cerebral Palsy can be referred to as Cerebral Palsy orthotics although technically orthotics refers to the branch of mechanical and medical science that deals with the design and fitting of orthoses.

At DM Orthotics the types of cerebral palsy orthotic devices we offer are Dynamic Movement Orthoses® (DMO®).  Fabric orthoses that are worn next to the skin.

Fabric orthoses, like DMO®, are often known as lycra orthoses or lycra garments (although our products aren’t made from lycra) they can help build stability while improving muscle tone and function, comfort and independence.

As explained in the descriptions of the different presentations of CP the strength and stability of a person’s body is an important consideration when assessing individuals.  The more stable a body is, the better a person can ambulate and complete tasks both big and small.

Our patented made-to-measure Dynamic Movement Orthoses® are specifically designed for the management of the physical effects of neurological conditions like Cerebral Palsy.  We use the latest CADCAM technology combined with traditional tailoring techniques to ensure each product matches the patient’s exact measurements.

Our dynamic orthoses use a soft, flexible base compression fabric that is light-weight, breathable and strong.   This is combined with strategically placed reinforcement panels made using a powernet material.  These panels position the body into improved postural alignment creating a new biomechanical state and enhanced proprioception.  This combination stimulates and adjusts the neuro-sensory system, training muscles to work with improved tone, strength and performance.

The close-fitting nature of our Dynamic Movement Orthoses® mean that an individual can improve their movement control and awareness of the position of their body.

The benefits of Cerebral Palsy Orthotics will be very individual to the patient, but DMO® Products can provide the following:

  • Improved posture
  • Pain relief
  • Improved movement control
  • Decreased associated reactions
  • Improved proximal and/or distal function
  • Enhanced function
  • Reduced involuntary movements
  • Enhanced therapy sessions

Depending on the area of the body and the severity of the CP, there are a large number of fabric orthoses designs that can help.

In part two of our blog, we explore how the different types of Cerebral Palsy orthotic devices are designed to support a variety of presentations like spinal curvature, drop foot and poor motor skills.

Look out for The types of fabric orthoses that can help people living with Cerebral Palsy. Next month.

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