helping you move forward

Custom Bracing and Orthotic Treatment

After over 20 yrs of experience in custom bracing and orthotic treatment, I’ve come to realize that the key to orthotic success is creating a pathway to a mutually agreed and realistic outcome. What is the problem and what can I do about it? Success in orthotics & bracing comes in many forms. From pain relief to providing the ability to walk again; at Tailwind, my mission is to help YOU achieve the goal that WE create.

– Aaron Amar, B.Sc., C.O.(c) – Lead Orthotist

Bracing and Orthotic Services

Aaron developing a custom foot orthosis from a plaster cast 3d model

Custom foot orthoses are made from a 3D model of your feet. At Tailwind, we use plaster to obtain the most accurate representation of the anatomy. The shape and correction to the foot is done directly by hand. Foot orthoses are designed to support the foot and offer correction to poor alignment. More notably, a custom foot orthosis offers great pressure distribution, which, along with improved alignment of the foot, can treat problems such as plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, arthritis, and reduce the risk of diabetic foot ulcers.

Tailwind Bracing and Orthotics Knee Brace

Custom fitted or custom fabricated knee orthoses (often called a knee brace) are designed to treat a variety of issues that range from osteo-arthritic deformities, to ligament tears. The orthotist will determine in the assessment what brace is best based on a number of factors such as patient activity level and leg shape. Knee braces often produce dramatic results in being able to restore walking function and confidence rather quickly when they are fitted well and properly designed.

Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) at Tailwind Bracing & Orthotics

AFOs (ankle-foot-orthoses) are designed to treat a wide spectrum of functional loss around the ankle.  Common pathologies for use of this brace include, foot drop due to stroke or paralysis, arthritic pain and deformity, and sometimes to influence the knee position.  Generally, AFOs have significant ability to improve one’s gait and therefore independence.  AFOs come in many designs which are determined by your orthotist and doctor.  They may include hinges, or fabricated from solid plastic.  They can be rigid or flexible or something in between.  Some braces are light weight and low profile and fit in a larger variety of shoes.  It is critical to be properly assessed and fitted for a custom AFO in order to achieve the optimal outcome.  

Knee-ankle-foot-orthoses (KAFO)

Knee-ankle-foot-orthoses span all joints of the lower extremity but leave out the hip.  They are designed to offer control and support to the knee and ankle combined.  Common pathologies for this brace are paralysis as high as the quadriceps and hips, severe knee deformities, and in some cases, severe pain due to arthritic conditions among many others.  A custom KAFO is a very involved treatment and requires careful and thorough assessment by your orthotist.  There now exists exciting technologies involving the knee hinges called Stance Control.  If you are a candidate for a KAFO, ask your orthotist if this is an appropriate design for you. 

Spinal Orthosis (brace)

Spinal bracing offers a wide range of functional use from chronic low back pain, to scoliotic correction. Soft lower back bracing often has attached connotations of a perceived weakening effect, but for those with chronic pain; wearing a brace can in fact enable one to do more activity and gain strength.  In fact, there is little supporting evidence to suggest that muscle atrophy will occur with soft back bracing.   Braces of the spine are also used to treat vertebral fractures and are worn temporarily until healing occurs.

Upper extremity bracing may include the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, or fingers.  There are a vast number of functional issues that bracing can help.  Common problems are carpal tunnel syndrome, De Quervains Tenosynovitis, and osteoarthritis among many others.   Braces may be custom or pre-fabricated depending on the need.  The key to upper extremity bracing is to determine how much function the patient wants to retain while wearing the brace, and whether that is realistic.  Often a night or resting brace is indicated for treatment of some pathologies where wrist / hand function is not necessary.   Your orthotist will assess all of this with you to determine the correct treatment. 

Footwear & custom modifications

Many patients who use orthotic devices often require footwear with extra depth and width to accommodate their device.  Shoes of this nature are not typically found in the retail market.  Your orthotist can take the time with you to find and fit a footwear product that will work with your orthosis from one of our footwear suppliers.   Custom modifications to footwear such as an elevation, rocker, buttress, or flare, are also indicated for some patients to add biomechanical correction to a foot / ankle deformity or to improve a functional deficiency.  Commonly, footwear modifications treat problems such as a leg length difference or ankle fusion.  In fact, leg length differences are an overlooked problem and are very simple to address.    Ask your orthotist about any of these options.

Kids have unique needs and challenges that require special attention by your orthotist.  Tailwind Bracing & Orthotics will custom fabricate a brace for your child with all considerations in place.   We also regularly use, and are trained in, the Cascade Dafo brace system if you, your child’s therapist, or your doctor prefer. 

Kids grow and are tough on their braces.  It is therefore very important to maintain regular follow up appointments with your orthotist to ensure optimal fit and function.  Follow up appointments also afford your orthotist the ability to forecast brace replacement and funding applications in advance.   

Aaron developing a custom foot orthosis from a plaster cast 3d model

Custom foot orthoses are made from a 3D model of your feet. At Tailwind, we use plaster to obtain the most accurate representation of the anatomy. The shape and correction to the foot is done directly by hand. Foot orthoses are designed to support the foot and offer correction to poor alignment. More notably, a custom foot orthosis offers great pressure distribution, which, along with improved alignment of the foot, can treat problems such as plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia, arthritis, and reduce the risk of diabetic foot ulcers.

Tailwind Bracing and Orthotics Knee Brace

Custom fitted or custom fabricated knee orthoses (often called a knee brace) are designed to treat a variety of issues that range from osteo-arthritic deformities, to ligament tears. The orthotist will determine in the assessment what brace is best based on a number of factors such as patient activity level and leg shape. Knee braces often produce dramatic results in being able to restore walking function and confidence rather quickly when they are fitted well and properly designed.

Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) at Tailwind Bracing & Orthotics

AFOs (ankle-foot-orthoses) are designed to treat a wide spectrum of functional loss around the ankle.  Common pathologies for use of this brace include, foot drop due to stroke or paralysis, arthritic pain and deformity, and sometimes to influence the knee position.  Generally, AFOs have significant ability to improve one’s gait and therefore independence.  AFOs come in many designs which are determined by your orthotist and doctor.  They may include hinges, or fabricated from solid plastic.  They can be rigid or flexible or something in between.  Some braces are light weight and low profile and fit in a larger variety of shoes.  It is critical to be properly assessed and fitted for a custom AFO in order to achieve the optimal outcome.  

Knee-ankle-foot-orthoses (KAFO)

Knee-ankle-foot-orthoses span all joints of the lower extremity but leave out the hip.  They are designed to offer control and support to the knee and ankle combined.  Common pathologies for this brace are paralysis as high as the quadriceps and hips, severe knee deformities, and in some cases, severe pain due to arthritic conditions among many others.  A custom KAFO is a very involved treatment and requires careful and thorough assessment by your orthotist.  There now exists exciting technologies involving the knee hinges called Stance Control.  If you are a candidate for a KAFO, ask your orthotist if this is an appropriate design for you. 

Spinal Orthosis (brace)

Spinal bracing offers a wide range of functional use from chronic low back pain, to scoliotic correction. Soft lower back bracing often has attached connotations of a perceived weakening effect, but for those with chronic pain; wearing a brace can in fact enable one to do more activity and gain strength.  In fact, there is little supporting evidence to suggest that muscle atrophy will occur with soft back bracing.   Braces of the spine are also used to treat vertebral fractures and are worn temporarily until healing occurs.

Upper extremity bracing may include the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, or fingers.  There are a vast number of functional issues that bracing can help.  Common problems are carpal tunnel syndrome, De Quervains Tenosynovitis, and osteoarthritis among many others.   Braces may be custom or pre-fabricated depending on the need.  The key to upper extremity bracing is to determine how much function the patient wants to retain while wearing the brace, and whether that is realistic.  Often a night or resting brace is indicated for treatment of some pathologies where wrist / hand function is not necessary.   Your orthotist will assess all of this with you to determine the correct treatment. 

Footwear & custom modifications

Many patients who use orthotic devices often require footwear with extra depth and width to accommodate their device.  Shoes of this nature are not typically found in the retail market.  Your orthotist can take the time with you to find and fit a footwear product that will work with your orthosis from one of our footwear suppliers.   Custom modifications to footwear such as an elevation, rocker, buttress, or flare, are also indicated for some patients to add biomechanical correction to a foot / ankle deformity or to improve a functional deficiency.  Commonly, footwear modifications treat problems such as a leg length difference or ankle fusion.  In fact, leg length differences are an overlooked problem and are very simple to address.    Ask your orthotist about any of these options.

Kids have unique needs and challenges that require special attention by your orthotist.  Tailwind Bracing & Orthotics will custom fabricate a brace for your child with all considerations in place.   We also regularly use, and are trained in, the Cascade Dafo brace system if you, your child’s therapist, or your doctor prefer. 

Kids grow and are tough on their braces.  It is therefore very important to maintain regular follow up appointments with your orthotist to ensure optimal fit and function.  Follow up appointments also afford your orthotist the ability to forecast brace replacement and funding applications in advance.   

Treatment Plan

See your doctor or nurse practitioner and obtain an Rx to begin our Treatment Plan
  1. See your doctor or nurse practitioner and obtain an Rx.

The Rx needs have a specific diagnosis written but is often helpful if the prescription for the orthosis is not overly detailed. This helps if it is determined at your initial consultation that something somewhat different is required.

Custom foot orthosis
  1. Make an appointment for your first consultation with us

This may take up to an hour and entails obtaining a patient history, full biomechanical exam and gait analysis, a summary analysis of the situation, and a plan that is mutually determined. It is critical that that the patient understand the problem, and is involved in the solution. A 3D cast of the limb is also likely to occur at this appointment. It’s a good idea to wear shorts at this appointment if your problem involves your knee.

Bracing and Orthotics Treatment Plan - A fitting appointment will be made
  1. A “fitting” appointment will be then made

Custom devices typically take 2-4 weeks but often are dependent on 3rd party funding approval as well. In some cases, it may take longer. It is also a good idea to wear shorts at this appointment if you are receiving a knee brace. In most cases, the device will be dispensed at this appointment but sometimes a second appointment is needed to allow time for further and final details to be completed. You will be instructed on how to wear your orthosis, and may be recommended a break-in schedule.

Bracing and Orthotics Treatment Plan - Step 4: follow up
  1. Follow up

We encourage you to make a follow up appointment to ensure your new orthosis meets two key criteria: 1. You can wear your orthosis without pain or skin breakdown. 2. It is achieving its mutually determined result set forth at the first two appointments. If either of these criteria are not being met in any way; please book a follow up appointment so that it is addressed as soon as possible.

Aaron Amar, B.Sc., C.O.(c)

Aaron Amar, B.Sc., C.O.(c)

Lead Orthotist

Aaron is a Certified Orthotist who has been serving the Comox Valley, North Island, and Sunshine Coast since 2009. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in biology from SFU in 1996. Prior to that, he was heavily involved in the Toronto jazz music scene as a session drummer and music teacher. It was as a volunteer with the disabled ski program at Grouse Mountain that Aaron became interested in the various devices that enabled people to continue pursuing their life to the fullest. He decided to combine his creative, musical brain with his science-trained brain and pursue a diploma at George Brown College in Clinical Methods in Prosthetics and Orthotics. Since becoming Canadian Board Certified in 2004, Aaron has accumulated a wide variety of experience in areas including spinal trauma bracing, neuromuscular pediatrics, and everything else in between. When he’s not at work, Aaron enjoys an active lifestyle trying to keep up to his family on the trails. He continues to drum and plays local gigs whenever the opportunity arises. Tailwinds Orthotics & Bracing is Aaron’s newest venture, and he is excited to use his years of experience as a Certified Orthotist to “help you move forward”. 

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“Aaron is simply the best there is!.. for 15 years i have been going to see him for my orthotic needs, and you simply will never find a more intuitive orthotist, who listens to all your needs and goals..and makes it happen with the orthotics he provides. Their service is GOLD.”

– Jeff W

“I saw Aaron after recovering from a broken ankle which turned severely arthritic preventing me from getting outside doing what I enjoy, even walking was a challenge. After Aaron made a custom brace for me, I was back mountain biking and enjoying life again.”

– Ben

Frequently Asked Questions

OPC is the National representative professional association for Orthotics and Prosthetics in Canada

No. You may however be covered by another funding source. See our Funding Options section.

“Orthotic” is an adjective to describe the field of orthotics. An orthosis (singular) is any external appliance. So, a brace is an orthosis and a foot orthosis, is also an orthosis. The term “orthotics” now commonly refers to foot orthoses (arch supports) which is incorrectly used but is the widely accepted meaning.

You can! In fact, we recommend you try off-the-shelf orthotics if you are not sure about custom. If they fail to treat your symptoms and alignment, then that is a good indication to pursue custom foot orthoses from your orthotist.

Certified Orthotists are the only fully trained specialists in bracing and orthotics from head to toe. After completion of an undergraduate degree, very few candidates are selected for the Clinical Methods in Prosthetics & Orthotics at George Brown College in Toronto, or BCIT in Burnaby. The program is two years in length followed by a two year residency in either Prosthetics (artificial limbs) or Orthotics. Certified Orthotists are trained to assess and treat a large scope of pathologies and have the ability to make all custom devices from raw materials in their own lab. This often separates other orthotic providers from Canadian Certified Orthotists and offers a high level of custom detail treatment options.

opcanada.ca/
www.poabc.ca
www.georgebrown.ca/health-sciences/health-wellness/prosthetic-orthotic-programs
www.gbcpando.com/
www.bcit.ca/programs/prosthetics-and-orthotics-diploma-full-time-7100diplt/