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What is a Walking Brace?

Mary McMahon
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A walking brace is a medical device which provides support to someone's foot, ankle, or leg while also allowing that individual to walk. There are a number of different styles of walking brace available for people who require supportive devices of this nature. It is important to have a walking brace fitted by a medical professional because a brace which does not fit properly can be uncomfortable and may cause injuries.

One common reason to use a walking brace is to help someone recover from a fracture. The fracture may be in a cast and a brace can be provided for support, and when the cast is removed, bracing can help the patient while he or she regains strength. Walking boots are a common example of a brace used to support people after fractures or surgery. The purpose of the brace is to reduce strain so that a fracture has a chance to heal properly.

Braces may also be used by people with muscle weakness or spasticity so that they can walk more steadily. For example, someone with cerebral palsy might wear a walking brace and use other assistive devices such as a cane. The brace allows the person to walk comfortably and reduces the risk of a fall. Bracing can also be used for people with congenital conditions which weaken the bone, cause the leg to turn out, or lead to other problems which may impede walking.

An orthopedic physician usually fits a walking brace. First, the patient is evaluated to determine whether or not a brace is needed and then measurements are taken so that the brace can be adjusted. Sometimes a brace needs to be fabricated and in other cases the physician may have a brace available which can be adjusted to fit. Working with the patient, the doctor fits the brace, tightens it and adds padding as necessary, and has the patient walk with the brace on so that the effectiveness of the brace can be assessed.

The duration of walking brace wear can vary. Sometimes it is a temporary measure to support a patient through the healing process, in which case the patient will be periodically evaluated and eventually the brace can be worn for lesser periods of time before being taken off altogether. In other instances, braces may need to be worn at all time to provide support for a patient with a chronic or congenital medical issue.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By Feryll — On Aug 28, 2014

There are lower leg braces you can buy and wear now that will protect you from possible injuries. I have one I wear when I am playing basketball, and they are commonly worn by football players to protect against knee injuries. The good thing about these braces is they are light, and once you get accustomed to having them on you don't even notice them anymore.

By Sporkasia — On Aug 28, 2014

When I turned my ankle really badly playing tennis and injured some ligaments I thought for sure my doctor was going to tell me to stay off of it for a couple of weeks or a couple of months. I did have to stay off the ankle at first, but the doctor had me wear an air walking brace, and he told me to gradually increase my activity.

What I didn't know is that exercise is actually better than rest for an injured ankle in most cases. The physical activity of walking and moving helps the joint heal quicker. Of course, this varies depending on the seriousness of the injury.

By Drentel — On Aug 27, 2014

I guess they were not the same as the walking braces used for injuries, but walking braces were commonly used at one time as treatment for kids with bowed legs. I can remember a couple kids having them when I was growing up.

The braces looked really awkward, and they actually made walking more of a chore for the people wearing them, but they were supposed to correct the condition over time. I can't say how they worked, but I guess they had some value.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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