The Richie Brace is a commercially available AFO brace used to treat foot conditions associated with the most severe forms of “overpronation” such as posterior tibial tendon dysfunction. A plaster cast is made of the foot to make a custom orthotic for the base of the brace and then the lab making the device will attach the rest of the device. Several orthotic labs offer the brace to clinicians around the world.
The Richie Brace was first introduced in the early 1990s by Dr. Douglas Richie, a prominent podiatrist and researcher. Dr. Richie’s motivation stemmed from a need for a versatile and effective device to manage a variety of lower extremity conditions, including ankle instability, plantar fasciitis, and posterior tibial dysfunction. Dissatisfied with the limitations of existing orthopedic devices, Dr. Richie embarked on a journey to create a brace that would address these issues comprehensively. The issues around the brace were discussed with Doug Richie on this episode of PodChatLive:
The Richie Brace is a custom-made, semi-rigid ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) designed to provide stability, support, and biomechanical correction to the lower limb. Its innovative design incorporates several key components:
- Customization: Unlike off-the-shelf braces, the Richie Brace is individually tailored to the patient’s unique anatomical characteristics and specific condition. This level of customization ensures optimal fit and effectiveness.
- Hinged Design: The brace features a hinged ankle joint that allows controlled motion in the sagittal plane. This enables patients to maintain a natural gait while providing essential stability.
- Rigid Shell: A semi-rigid, thermoplastic shell surrounds the lower leg and foot, offering support and preventing excessive motion. This is crucial for conditions like posterior tibial tendon dysfunction and ankle instability.
- Custom Foot Orthotic: The brace often incorporates a custom-made foot orthotic to address issues such as arch support and alignment. This ensures a comprehensive approach to lower limb correction and comfort.