Dynamic Elastomeric Fabric Orthoses – DEFO’s (Lycra orthoses) were first introduced in the 1990’s to support children diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. They work using a system of panels which are able to re-align the body and improve posture whilst also increasing sensory awareness. They offer a number of advantages over rigid bracing including: postural support, range of movement (flexibility) as well as encouraging muscle usage.
Who can benefit from them? Since their inception the early 1990’s, the range of conditions being treated using DEFO’s has increased. Clinical research, case histories and anecdotal evidence from patients and medical professionals, highlight the significant, positive effects Lycra orthoses can have for rehabilitation and neurological development for individuals who have conditions which affect muscle tone and sensory processing due to congenital reasons, illness and injury. Common conditions which can be managed using DEFO’s include: Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis and Scoliosis.
How Dynamic Movement Orthoses work Through clinical experience and research, DM Orthotics Ltd developed the Dynamic Movement Orthosis (DMO) to help improve movement, control and function for people with neurological and musculoskeletal conditions. The use of Lycra in DMO’s can help address difficulties with sensory processing and changes in muscle tone, symptoms commonly found in these conditions. Lycra is lightweight and close fitting, offering compression against the skin which stimulates sensory receptors within the body to improve proprioception (body awareness) and influence muscle tone. These sensory benefits are supported by the DMO’s reinforcement panels which improve postural alignment and control of biomechanical movement. This provides the child (or adult) with optimum positioning and sensory feedback required for positive postural development.
Custom Fit DM Orthotics’ orthoses are custom made for a tailored fit and can be suited to the needs of the individual. It is typical to wear a DMO throughout the day and concerns over; getting the orthosis on and off, temperature regulation or access to feeding tubes and nappies can be accommodated. For example, a DMO Suit can be adapted for toileting needs using openings and fastenings.
Clinical Evidence Research shows that wearing a DMO suit may provide stability to the area of the body that needs it most and can help to improve function. For example, wearing a DMO suit can improve trunk control, which influences balance when sitting, mobility and hand function. Improving an individual’s function can contribute to improving independence and children may require less practical and therapy support. There may also be reduced expense in purchasing other equipment, such as special seating, walking aids or podiatry orthotics. DMO Scoliosis suits have been shown to be effective in minimising the severity and progression of scoliosis in neurological conditions and therefore delaying or halting the need for invasive surgical treatment if supported early.
Patient experience Victoria Goodman’s daughter Alice has dystonia and started using a DMO Suit at the age of 5. Victoria comments, “We noticed within a month it was making a difference with her posture. She was getting stronger and was able to achieve more. She’s been able to start ballet classes, which she wouldn't have been able to achieve before.” 16 year old Tom Watts had a stroke at the age of 11 and uses a DMO Glove and DMO Dorsiflex Sock to keep up his active lifestyle. “The Dorsiflex Sock is great. Because it is made from Lycra it is really easy to put on. It’s so much more comfortable than rigid splints, nice and light and doesn’t rub. I can do a lot more running using the sock. I go to an Extreme Sports club - I do wall climbing, mountain biking, rocketball. The Dorsiflex Sock has definitely allowed me to do a lot more of these things.”
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