Interface corrective force measurements in Boston brace treatment
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Brace application has been reported to be effective in treating idiopathic adolescent scoliosis. The exact working mechanism of a thoracolumbo spinal orthosis is a result of different mechanisms and is not completely understood. One of the supposed working mechanisms is a direct compressive force working through the brace upon the body and thereby correcting the scoliotic deformity, achieving optimal fit of the individual orthosis. In this study we measured these direct forces exerted by the pads in a Boston brace in 16 patients with idiopathic adolescent scoliosis, using the electronic PEDAR measuring device (Novel, Munich, Germany). This is designed as an in-shoe measuring system consisting of two shoe insoles (size 8 1/2), wired to a computer, recording static and dynamic pressure distribution under the plantar surface of the foot. After positioning the inserts between the lumbar and thoracic pads and the body, we measured the forces acting upon the body in eight different postures. In all positions the mean corrective force through the lumbar brace pad was larger than the mean corrective force over the thoracic brace pad. Some changes in body posture resulted in statistically significant alterations in the exerted forces. There was no significant correlation between the magnitude of the compressive force over the lumbar and thoracic brace-pad and the degree of correction of the major curve. Comparing the corrective forces in a relatively new (<6 months) and old (>6 months) brace, there was no statistically relevant difference, although the corrective force was slightly larger in the new braces. We think that the use of this pressure measurement device is practicable and of value for studies of the working mechanism of brace treatment, and in the future it might be of help in achieving optimal fit of the individual orthosis.
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