Hesperian Health Guides

How to Correct Contractures Using Adjustable Braces

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HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 59: Correcting Joint Contractures > How to Correct Contractures Using Adjustable Braces

The advantage of these braces is that children do not have to visit the rehabilitation center so often to have them adjusted. The family can adjust them at home.

Orthopedic suppliers in some countries sell special knee and ankle joints that can be locked in different positions. But these are very expensive. However, a skilled village craftsperson can put together something similar:

Knee and ankle joints can be adjusted every few days to gradually straighten the joints. Space the holes on the 2 pieces differently so that lining them up allows a range of small adjustments.
Leg in adjustable brace, arrows.
Metal pieces with screws to adjust.
leather or plastic cuffs adjustment screw or pin

A much simpler low-cost model can be made of round or flat metal bar.

Two designs for adjustable braces to correct ankle contractures

wood wedges of different widths notch to grip rod
Three wood wedges of different widths.
Wood stop connected to board, wedge and bar.
wood stop
Fit different wedges between stop and rod to change adjustment.
Add a wide, well-padded ankle strap.

Note: This design is complicated to make, but can be adjusted while the brace is on the child.

2. Bent metal rods pointed at one another. Wood in shape of foot with 2 screws, 2 bars.
wood and rod brace with a strap at the ankle.
wide strap
soft pad
Bend the rod tips like this. Bolt them tightly between 2 layers of thin wood. Bend rods up a little more every few days.

An adjustable wood brace for knee and ankle contractures

adjustable wooden full leg brace with arrows pointing toward the knee and ankle cross pieces. winged nut. Using ‘wing nuts’ makes it easier to remove the bolts for clamping the position of the cross pieces.
The positions of these 2 cross pieces can be changed to adjust the angle of the knee and foot. thing piece of wood with holes at both ends. Use thin pieces of hard wood about 2 cm. wide and 6 to 8 mm. thick.

See information about homemade aids to straighten contractures, using car inner tubes and other elastic or springy material.

child with large knee bump and lower leg sagging below the knee.
If a knee looks like this, it is probably dislocated. Trying to straighten it could make the dislocation worse. Take great care to put pressure only on the leg just below and behind the knee, not at the foot. Gradually try to correct the dislocation (bring the lower leg forward) before trying to straighten. If possible, get advice or help from an experienced health worker or specialist.

This page was updated:19 Jan 2018