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What Is a Richie Brace®?

A custom Richie Brace is only available by prescription from a podiatrist.
The Richie Brace® is designed to alleviate long-term foot and ankle pain.
A Richie Brace may help heal a sprained ankle, but the issue could reoccur if it was caused by a pronation issue or unstable gait.
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  • Written By: Amanda Dean
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 11 December 2014
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A Richie Brace® is a custom-fitted ankle-foot orthotic (AFO) device specially designed to reduce pain from chronic ankle and foot problems. The original Richie Brace® was designed by Dr. Douglas Richie in 1996. This durable medical device uses a variety of materials including plastic, metal, and elastic to provide support and stability for patients with a range of foot injuries. The original manufacturers of the device indented it for maximum mobility, particularly when used by athletes.

These braces are usually worn during recovery from an injury, but they can be used indefinitely by people with flat feet, foot deformities, drop foot, and chronic deep foot pain. A variety of Richie Brace® models are available depending on the type of injury and the purpose of the brace. The models vary in height from ankle-only support to stability through the lower leg.

These braces are often selected by doctors because of their previous track record of success and convenience. Unlike solid AFO models, this device moves with the foot and ankle to help provide a smooth, normal gait. The Richie Brace® is specially sized to fit inside normal shoes without increasing shoe size. The braces may also be modified to restrict movement in the foot and ankle.

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Custom Richie Braces® are molded from negative impression casts. In some cases, the cast is made using plaster splints, but for most patients, a special casting sock is the best option. Using this option, the podiatrist that prescribed the Richie Brace would put a protective, plastic bag over the patient's foot. This would then be covered with a special sock that hardens quickly in the shape of the foot. Since the sock is thin, the doctor can mark important points such as the toes and ankle bones and then carefully cut away the hardened cast.

Once the negative impression is collected, the cast can be shipped off to a special laboratory to begin construction of the Richie Brace®. Several laboratories in the United States and Canada are authorized to construct this device. These companies also offer refurbishing and repair services. In many cases, the cost of this durable medical device is covered by health insurance programs.

The family of Richie Braces® also includes an over-the-counter model that may be used without custom fitting. This device may be found in drug stores, but is often distributed at a hospital or clinic after a severe sprain. This type of Richie Brace® is customized by using an appropriately-sized footplate and adjustable sizing strap. This type of brace is often prescribed to treat breaks or sprains. Over-the-counter Richie Braces® may be used for temporary support while a custom Richie Brace® is under construction.

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fify
Post 3

My husband is using a Richie Brace due to weak foot control caused by arthritis. He has been doing much better with this brace. He tried a few other ones before this but walking is easiest with this one. He was barely able to walk before.

The issue with most braces is that in order to give more support, they are rigid and lack flexibility. This brace seems to have both. It allows the person to walk without making the injury worse. We highly recommend it.

ZipLine
Post 2

@stoneMason-- I don't think that's a good idea. The whole point of getting a Richie Brace is to have a brace that's custom fitted and helps with the individual's specific problems. If it's not custom fitted, I don't think it will be as beneficial. It might not be effective at all.

There are other ready-made braces out there that cost less if you can't afford a custom made one. If your problem is temporary, then a custom made brace may not be necessary. But if you have a long term issue that will require the use of a brace regularly, then it might be worth it to invest in a custom made one like the Richie Brace. Talk to your doctor about it and see what he recommends.

stoneMason
Post 1

I have seen a few places online that sell a Richie Brace. These are pre-made and can be worn right away. It seems to cost a little less than the custom fit ones. Will they be just as effective though? Has anyone tried them?

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