Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 58: Braces (Calipers)

HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 58: Braces (Calipers)

Braces are aids that help hold legs or other parts of the body in useful positions. They usually serve one or both of 2 purposes:

1. To provide support or firmness to a weak joint (or joints). For example, this child had polio:
His leg is too weak to support his weight without help. Child standing but bent forward, holding weak leg. This brace keeps his knee from bending forward Child standing more upright with brace on his weak leg.
2. To help prevent or correct deformity or contracture. For example, this child had a club foot:
He was born with a club foot.
Baby with club foot.
His club foot was corrected with a cast.
Baby with club foot in a cast.
After correction, his foot is kept in a good position with a brace.
Young child with brace on lower leg.
CAUTION! The need for braces should be carefully evaluated. Braces should be used only if they will help the child move better and become more independent. Too much bracing may actually weaken muscles and cause greater disability. As a general rule, try to use as little and as light bracing as possible to help the child function better. (See Chapter 56.)

This page was updated:27 May 2020