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What Are the Different Kinds of Orthopedic Supports?

A woman wearing a cervical collar.
A person wearing a knee brace.
Orthopedic equipment may include back braces.
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  • Written By: Patti Kate
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 05 August 2014
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Orthopedic supports come in different types, designed for various parts of the body. Some of the different types of orthopedic supports include the orthopedic pillow and orthopedic brace, as well as cervical collars for neck injuries. There are orthopedic cushions designed to help relieve pressure on the back while the user is driving or sitting in a chair. Support for the feet may be in the form of orthopedic foot supports that are made as inserts for standard shoes. Specially designed orthopedic shoes are also an option.

Basically, any type of aid to help support the back or various joints of the knees, ankles, feet, and arms can be considered orthopedic support. Medical supply stores specializing in orthopedic braces and similar products typically carry an extensive selection for various orthopedic needs. Some of the most common types of orthopedic supports are lumbar support cushions and back braces. These are designed to help patients recover from back injury and surgery, or to prevent injury while doing physical work.

Back braces are often constructed of elastic material, which allows for conformity to a person's individual body shape. Most of these feature a closure that fastens with hooks, although some have Velcro® fasteners. These are typically worn by individuals with back problems, such as strains, pulled muscles, and other issues. In certain types of work, employees are required to wear back braces to help prevent injuries.

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Specially designed pillows are one of the common orthopedic supports used to help promote better sleep. Many people suffering from neck and back problems choose to use these orthopedic supports to help keep the neck properly positioned and the spine correctly aligned. Many of these orthopedic pillows are curved to fit the natural arch of the neck and alleviate pressure.

Knee braces are orthopedic supports designed for patients recovering from knee surgery or knee injuries. These are designed to provide stabilization, while supporting the joints to help prevent further injury. Healing is encouraged by compressing the injured area. Some knee braces are adjustable as well.

Orthopedic supports for the ankles and feet come in various forms. Arch supports and support for the heel of the foot are inserts that typically slide into most any pair of shoes. Some of these are gel-cushioned material and many are made from a type of memory foam. Walking boots of various lengths may also be used for orthopedic purposes.

Post-operative orthopedic shoes are made for patients recovering from foot surgery. These may come in low-profile or high-top boot style. Some shoes feature open toes and others have open heels, each designed for special needs. These shoes can typically be purchased at a medical supply store or from an orthopedic supply company.

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