A custom-made orthotic device can last for many years— but just like any personal device you have to look after it
A custom-made orthotic device can last for many years— but just like any personal device, you have to look after it. This means cleaning it correctly and checking it for signs of wear and tear.
Different materials such as plastics and leather will have slightly different care
and maintenance instructions.
Regular follow-ups with the Boundless team are also important to prolong the life of your brace, and ensure that there are no nicks or cracks in the material.
What to wear under your device
Braces provide an intimate fit with the body. This is why we recommend wearing long socks so the plastic doesn’t touch the skin. Generally we recommend long socks to reduce chafing or sweating.
When choosing the right sock, make sure it’s the right size for your foot and that it’s pulled on correctly. Wrinkles and creases can create pressure points on the skin or create blisters. If your feet tend to sweat a lot, changing socks during the day can help.
Most braces or foot orthotics will require extra width or length from your shoe. So wearing the right shoe with extra space for the brace is important to get the right support for your body. Although everyone’s needs are different, here’s what we generally recommend:
- A firm heel counter. Check this by pinching the back of the shoe, it should not compress.
- Forefoot rocker. When you push down on the front of the shoe the back should raise off the ground.
- Should be half to a full size larger than what you would wear without the brace.
- Shoe Horns can be used to improve independent donning of shoes. Shoe horns come in long and short styles.
- Shoes that are a half to a full size bigger.
- A wide toe box (or shoe that is wider in size than normal, such as athletic shoes)
- A removable insole, the thicker the better.
- Ties or straps that fit snugly. Laces or Velcro both work with a brace, whereas a slip on shoe does not. If you choose Velcro straps, strap extensions may need to be added. Your first pair of strap extensions is free with a new brace.
- An extended shoe tongue, only attached at the end, not along the sides.
Let us help you find the perfect shoe for you
Download your Boundless shoe buying guide with tips on what to look for in a shoe,
recommended shoe stores, brands that come in wide widths and much more.
Getting down and dirty
Once an orthotic device goes out of our office into the real world, we expect it to fully take part in the real world. That means walking, running, hiking and in the case of a lot of children, getting muddy.
How should you clean it?
That depends on what it’s made of. For the most part, you can help maintain the fabric and keep it clear of bacteria by regularly cleaning it with soap and water. In most cases, plain old dish washing detergent should do. Also check for signs of wear and tear, such as loose straps. Although it may be tempting to repair a loose strap with a piece of duct tape, don’t do it yourself. Remember—we’re here for you at all stages of your journey, so schedule a follow-up appointment.
Why you need to monitor skin redness with a new brace.
Even if you’ve had braces before, it’s important to monitor your skin when you get a new brace. Why? Because new braces can cause pressure areas to the skin, which is why we recommend that you follow a wearing schedule. Your orthotist will discuss your wearing schedule with you when you receive your new brace.
Be on the look out for any changes to your skin or excess redness. Here’s a general guide:
- Your brace should not be causing blisters, pain or excessive redness.
- If redness does not disappear within 30 minutes, schedule an appointment to see your orthotist as your brace may need to be adjusted.
Patients with diabetes or anyone with a sensory neuropathy or reduced sensation should make extra efforts to perform regular skin monitoring. Contact your family physician, chiropodist and/or dermatologist if you notice any changes to your skin. Schedule a follow-up appointment with your orthotist if your brace needs an adjustment.
When the redness is the result of a rash.
A rash can happen for any number of reasons. If a rash develops in the vicinity of where your skin contacts the brace, try these tips:
- Thoroughly wash the brace and wear freshly laundered socks. Use a damp cloth and a very mild soap (such as dish soap) to clean the interior plastic and foam components of your orthosis. Do not submerge your brace in water.
- Change your socks daily (or more often if needed), which will eliminate extra moisture at the point of contact with the brace.
- If the rash doesn’t subside, schedule an appointment with your family physician or dermatologist.
Do's of brace care
- Clean regularly using a damp cloth and very mild soap to get rid of dirt and sweat.
- Dry it with a clean cloth.
- Take it out of your shoe on a daily basis and let it air dry.
- Close velcro straps to keep them free of pet hair and lint.
- Wear a long sock underneath your brace to increase comfort and reduce sweat buildup.
- Label your child’s brace to reduce their chance of it being lost at school.
- Change your socks during the day if you have sweaty feet.
- Wear your brace with footwear.
Don'ts of brace care
- Don’t use harsh chemicals to clean your brace as this may corrode softer materials.
- Don’t dry it with a hair dryer.
- Don’t keep your device in extreme hot and cold temperatures, such as in a hot or cold car.
- Don’t let your dog mistake your brace for a chew toy. Keep it out of Fido’s way.
- Don’t let reddened areas on your skin linger for too long. If they don’t clear up, call our staff and see if you need an adjustment.
- Don’t try to do your own home repairs. Call our office to have any nicks or cracks repaired by our staff.
- Don’t wear synthetic socks or shoes if you have sweaty feet.
- Don’t use your brace without footwear (unless designed for this purpose).