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Custom Brace Improves Balance in Unstable Seniors

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 24 Apr 2019
A flexible, custom fabricated ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) can have a profound impact on improving stability and minimizing fear of falling in seniors at risk.

The Moore Balance Brace (MBB), a product of Arizona AFO (Mesa, AZ, USA), is a custom-made therapeutic brace with a durable, flexible design that offers feather-light support, reduced postural sway, and improved postural stability in seniors and other high-risk populations with a fear of falling. Features include Velcro straps; a durable polyester cloth covering; a Plastazote interface that provides comfortable shock absorption to the heel and plantar surface; a polypropylene shell for stable support around the foot and ankle; and an open dorsal design that allows for easy shoe fitting.

Image: The innovative brace is designed to give seniors more confidence when walking (Photo courtesy of Baylor College of Medicine).
Image: The innovative brace is designed to give seniors more confidence when walking (Photo courtesy of Baylor College of Medicine).

The custom orthosis can thus provide arch support and midfoot stability, while allowing the forefoot and toes to be anchored for increased balance. A heel stabilizing post maximizes balance and stability, while ankle stabilization maximizes somatosensory feedback. A six-month trial at Baylor College of Medicine (Houston, TX, USA) showed that daily use of the MBB decreased sway by an average of 54.9%, a decreased fear of falling, and an increase in physical activity; 79% of participants perceived the MBB to be useful when paired with walking shoes, an important indicator of patient acceptance and compliance. The study was published in the November 2018 issue of Geronotolgy.

“Falls in seniors are one of the least discussed, yet most pervasive health risks seniors and their caretakers face today. This new research clearly illustrates the opportunity to prevent these events before they occur,” said podiatrist Jonathan Moore, DPM, creator of the MBB. “The collaboration between a patient and his or her podiatrist becomes the first line of defense. Working with their doctor to develop a holistic preventative care plan that includes the Moore Balance Brace empowers seniors to proactively manage their health, thus retaining their independence without the constant fear of falling.”

According to the World Health Organization, an elderly person is seen to every 11 seconds in an emergency room after a fall, and up to 30% of people over 65 and 50% of those over 80 fall at least once a year. The result of a majority of these falls is a hip fracture, with about 60,000 elderly people dying every year as a result of falls.

Related Links:
Arizona AFO
Baylor College of Medicine


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