Due to the difficulty of SMA patients in maintaining good body alignment, they may be at risk for some orthopedic problems related to bone, muscles and ligaments. Devices such as braces and standers may be used to support different parts of the body.

Standers

Some children with SMA are unable to stand independently. Standers can help by promoting bone and muscle strength because users bear weight in their legs. They also help with digestion, circulation and breathing while enhancing social interactions, improving self-confidence, and promoting more positive overall mental health. There are two types of standers: stationary, which stay in one place, and dynamic ones that can be moved.

EasyStand has a wide range of standers developed to help patients starting at age 9 months participate in supervised standing programs.

Jenx standing frames were designed to support people with special needs of all ages. Their products take into account the importance of standing for a better development by stabilizing joints.

Kaye manufactures and sells mobility aids, adaptive positioning equipment and therapy products for infants, children, and young adults with special needs.

Leckey standers are designed to be functional, attractive and robust for people with special needs from birth to adulthood.

Rifton standers are adjustable to meet children’s growth capacity.

R82 Inc. standers are made for children and young adults, providing safe support while standing.

Braces

Braces can be of three different types:

  • Ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs), which are externally applied and intend to control the position and motion of the ankle, compensate for weakness and correct deformities. They can be used to give support to weak limbs or to position a limb with contracted muscles into a normal position.
  • Knee-ankle-foot orthoses (KAFOs), are designed to provide support and proper joint alignment to the knee, foot, and ankle. They are used to help or replace weak muscles, and protect the foot and lower limb.
  • Thoraco-lumbo-sacral orthosis (TLSO) are back braces that wrap beneath the arms and around the thorax, lower back and hips to help cast the spine in a straighter position.

One of the most common concerns in SMA is spinal alignment. Scoliosis is an abnormal spine curvature that occurs due to muscle weakness that normally supports the spine. Besides affecting comfort, the ability to balance when sitting and standing, and arm function, scoliosis can also affect breathing and cause the patient to require surgical treatment.

Thoraco-lumbo-sacral orthosis cannot prevent scoliosis but can help people with SMA achieve a more upright position, improving function, independence, comfort, and quality of life. However, they don’t prevent scoliosis progression and should not be used if they cause discomfort.

A therapist with experience in working with SMA may help with choosing adequate braces and how to incorporate them into daily life.

SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.