What are hip splints and braces?

When you've had hip or pelvic surgery or an injury, you may need to wear a hip brace during recovery. There are hip stabilizers and hip braces. These are both types of hip orthotics. If you hear the term "hip splint," it means the same as the other terms. Orthotics are devices that align your body parts properly. They also provide support when you have an injury or need to heal.

Types of hip braces 

There are many types of hip support braces. They can help with different conditions. In general, a hip brace keeps your hips level so they can safely heal. Typically, a hip brace is called a hip abduction brace. It holds your thighbone safely in your hip socket. It can also keep hips and knees separated at a certain angle. 

There are also hip-knee braces. A soft band or sleeve wraps around your thigh and connects to the hip part of the brace. A hip-knee brace aligns and supports both parts of your body.

The goal of a hip brace is to stabilize your hip and pelvic area after trauma. It can also:

  • Balance your walk
  • Limit range of motion
  • Act as a shock absorber
  • Align your hip, pelvis and knee
  • Redistribute pressure on your hip and pelvis

What to expect when wearing a hip brace

You may have to wear your hip brace 24 hours a day unless your doctor says otherwise. Wearing a brace takes getting used to. It can help to remember it's temporary. You'll find that sitting upright is difficult, but that's typical. Getting up from low seating may be challenging. All of this is normal. If your brace is causing you pain, let your doctor know immediately. For added comfort, wear thin and snug cotton leggings underneath your brace. Never let the brace sit on your bare skin. 

Common conditions that require wearing a hip brace

Hip braces can keep your hip and pelvic area stable while conditions heal, including:

  • Hip fracture
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip dislocation
  • Femoral head resection
  • Hip replacement recovery
  • Post-operative hip revision

In addition to stabilization, hip braces provide compression to your body. Compression helps increase blood flow and reduces swelling. This keeps the joints warm, flexible and safe.

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