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Children's Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock (CHad)
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Leg Braces

Using the leg brace after initial treatment for clubfoot is essential to prevent a recurrence of the condition.

View photos of a child fitted with a leg brace.

  • A leg brace, also called a foot abduction brace, will be worn for up to two years after your child's clubfoot is corrected with surgery or with the castings.
  • Like wearing a retainer after orthodontic dental correction, your child will wear the brace to prevent the body from reverting to the uncorrected position.
  • We fit your child with the leg brace here at DHMC in Lebanon, NH.

How long will my child have to wear the brace?

  • He or she will wear it for two years. During the first three months, the leg brace is worn 23 out of 24 hours a day. After this period, your child will wear the brace 14 hours a day: at night and during naps.

Will the brace prevent my baby from walking?

  • Most children learn to walk at a developmentally appropriate time regardless of using the leg brace.

What is the success rate?

  • The leg brace is a crucial part of treatment. The Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics reported in a September 2007 article that all children in the study showed that using the brace as instructed maintained the correction that resulted from their castings. Nineteen out of twenty children had excellent results and the one child whose parents did not consistently use the leg brace had a recurrence of severe clubfoot.

Helpful information

  • Parents have reported that clothing that slips over the head is most practical, especially during the first three months. Dresses work well for girls, of course. You can purchase pants for boys or girls that have snaps along the inseams to make diaper changes easier.
  • Before purchasing high chairs, car seats, and strollers, consider the width necessary to accommodate the wide bar of the brace.
  • It may take several days for your baby to get used to maneuvering with the brace and he or she may be fussy. If this period lasts for more than a few days, check that the shoes are fitted properly and not causing blisters or bruises.
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