We asked Dr. Doug Richie to tell us about his work with children.
What inspired you to create a brace for children?
It was a natural progression after the success of the adult Standard Richie Brace. Since the number one clinical indication for the Richie Brace was Adult Acquired Flatfoot, we started looking at pediatric flatfoot.
What special challenges did you experience working with children?
- Children outgrow their custom foot or ankle braces in two years
- Some children will require lifelong bracing with an AFO starting at an early age
- Some children may experience social stigma with wearing a visible brace
What are some of the most common indications for the Little Richie Brace?
Our research showed that there were several niche conditions that could benefit from a custom AFO. RichieBraces have been effective in treating hypotonia combined with flatfoot deformity, mild cerebral palsy, spina bifida and muscular dystrophy.
By making modifications to the dimensions, padding and strapping of the Richie Standard, we created the Little Richie Brace for pediatric patients. Today, the Little Richie Brace is specifically designed for children and adolescents up to age 16.
The benefit of the Little Richie Brace over other custom AFO’s is the aesthetic appearance. A child or adolescent wearing a Richie Brace looks more like an athlete wearing a sports brace. There is no stigma of the child appearing disabled as they may look much like an athlete they have seen on television.
How does the Richie Brace help children and teens with sports injuries?
Ankle sprains are common among adolescent athletes and can even occur in children. These injuries may require long term bracing and the brace may need to be worn in cleated footwear. The Little Richie Brace is ideally suited for active children and is superior to any off-the-shelf ankle brace for support and comfort.
There are cases of severe Sever’s calcaneal apophysitis where conventional therapy fails and the child must stop sports or be placed into a cast. The Restricted Hinge Little Richie Brace is an ideal alternative to casting the child with apophysitis and may allow the patient to return to sports wearing the brace and remaining pain free for the entire season.
Why is it important to be proactive in treating children rather than waiting to see if they will grow out of it?
Many times our treatments will influence structure and muscle function in a positive way, so we must proceed to provide therapies that we know improve function in the growing child.