What is Durable Medical Equipment (DME)?
DME products include crutches, walkers, canes, ice machines, knee braces, walking braces, back braces, slings, immobilizers, elbow and wrist braces, custom shoe inserts, etc.
Why do you need a brace or other DME?
Some of the many reasons for using a brace, orthoses, or DME include:
- Support of an injury or fracture to reduce further injury and to allow healing of bone, ligaments, tendons, or other structures.
- Rest of an inflamed joint, tendon, or nerve. Resting a body part by immobilizing it is an effective way to reduce inflammation.
- Support instability of a joint due to a ligament tear. Knee braces are commonly used for this purpose.
- Improve function while you recover from an injury or surgery. For example, if you have a broken foot, a brace can provide enough support so that you can return to work, school, or life.
- Protection of surgical work. Sometimes a surgery requires bone to heal, joints to fuse, or ligaments to heal before you are allowed to return to normal activities. Back braces are commonly prescribed after fusion surgery to protect the work that your surgeon did for you.
- Prevention of Sports Injuries. Next time you watch a football game on TV, take notice that many linemen wear braces to prevent injury. OIP sports medicine physicians will do that for you too!
- Earlier Return to Sports and Work. At times, wearing a brace or use of another DME will allow you back on the field or play or work sooner than you would if you were not wearing a brace.
- Much more convenient than a cast! If you fracture can be adequately immobilized in a brace, we may be able to avoid a cast!
- Keep you straight! Use of custom shoe inserts can help prevent certain deformities from progressing, such as flat feet. Scoliosis braces can prevent your spinal curve from increasing.
- To relieve arthritic pain. At times braces will be used to “unload” arthritic joints such as your knee or ankle in hopes of decreasing pain due to arthritis.