Frequently Asked Questions
What makes the Richie brace Superior?
Compared to other ankle-foot orthoses ( AFO’s) the Richie Brace® is easy to fit into shoes, lightweight and comfortable. The fit of the brace to the patient is assured to be accurate and effective each and every time due to a proprietary fabrication technique which has been refined over 20 years of service to the industry.
The Richie Brace® podiatric orthotic laboratories displayed on this web site have trained client service personnel who can help you with every aspect of Richie Brace® treatment from providing casting instructions, clinical indications as well as coding and reimbursement information. Much of this information is also contained in this website, however, you will need to make initial contact with a Richie Brace® podiatric laboratory partner to determine shipping and pricing information.
All of the Richie Brace® laboratory partners are premium custom orthotic labs with stellar reputations in the biomechanics community. All of the labs are certified by the Prescription Foot Orthoics Laboratory Association. Each have their own unique line of custom foot orthotics which are commonly necessary as an accompanying treatment for patients using the Richie Brace®. Therefore, the quality and pricing of the Richie Brace® will be consistent for all the lab partners. The choice of lab for purchase will depend upon the individual practitioner’s needs in terms of foot orthotics, client services, shipping policies etc.
How do I know if my patient is a candidate for the Richie Brace®?
Review the clinical indications outlined on this website. If your patient does not fit into one of the distinct categories, or if there are special considerations such as body weight, paralysis etc. then call the client service department of any of the Richie Brace® lab partners.
How durable is the brace? Do you have repair or replacement capabilities?
The plastic shell materials of the Richie Brace® can be expected to maintain useful function for three to five years of daily use. There is a limited warranty against breakage. The soft components which include limb support pads and Velcro straps will require replacement as often as once yearly. A refurbishment kit can be provided by the lab distributor for quick replacement of these parts in the clinic setting.
What are the best shoes to wear for different activities?
The Richie Brace® products function best in lace-up athletic shoes but can be won in some loafer style shoes, “Mary Jane” style womens dress shoes and even in sandals as long as there are straps across the forefoot and around the heel.
Can the Richie Brace® be used for sports activity?
The Richie Brace® was originally designed for sports applications. Dr. Richie, a practicing sports podiatrist, had encountered difficulty fitting his patients with ankle braces while allowing the patient to continue wearing the custom foot orthotic he had prescribed. Still today, there is no ankle brace that fits or functions properly with a custom foot orthotic footbed inside an athletic shoe. Moreover, most popular ankle braces do not fit in shoes well and do not support the foot. Thus, the Richie Brace® was born: a form fitted custom ankle brace that incorporates a foot orthotic. This brace is ideally suited to treat lateral ankle instability, tendon injuries around the ankle joint, and aid in recovery from Grade II and III ankle ligamentous injuries. The Richie Brace® has been used by many collegiate, professional and Olympic athletes with remarkable success.
What L code do I use? Is it reimbursable?
The Standard Richie Brace is reimbursed using code L 1970 and code L 2820. For a complete listing of all L Codes relevant to the family of Richie Braces, please see the Reimbursement section of the Richie Brace website.
How do I order?
Can I talk to Dr Richie about a specific case I have before I decide what to order for them?
Of course please write to email@example.com and provide your e-mail address, city where you reside and your zip code. Please indicate that you would like Dr. Richie to contact you regarding a patient consultation. Also, please include the name of the lab distributor whom you will be ordering the brace from.
Questions your patient may ask
Will this save me from surgery or just delay it?
For Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction (Adult Acquired Flatfoot) studies have shown that at least 50% of patients can avoid surgery by wearing a custom AFO device such as the Richie Brace®.
Should I use one on each foot to make my gait equal on both sides? As a preventative measure?
Brace® prescriptions are for one foot only although some conditions require bilateral ( both feet) braces. When only one foot is wearing the brace, the other foot should be supported with either a foot orthotic or a heel lift of similar height as the Richie Brace®.
My ankles just feel a little unstable during sports. Should I use the Richie brace as a preventative measure?
Studies have shown that bracing can be very effective in preventing ankle sprains, especially in sports such as basketball, football and soccer.
If I use the Richie brace during sports as a preventative measure, will it hinder my performance?
Studies have shown that ankle bracing has minimal, if any negative effects on athletic performance. Also, contrary to popular belief, ankle bracing does not cause weakness of the muscles around the ankle. Instead, muscle strength actually increases with ankle bracing.
I'm a runner, can I run in the brace? - Can I play sports with this brace on?
Many patients have been able to run and play sports with the Richie Brace. Of course, this will depend on your particular medical condition.
I have tried other braces and had a lot of skin irritation. What can I expect from a Richie brace?
The Richie Brace® is probably the most comfortable custom ankle-foot orthosis on the market today. Occasionally, patients will develop a “hot spot” or skin irritation which can be quickly remedied with an adjustment in the practioner’s office.
How long will I need to be in the Richie brace?
For some conditions such as Posterior Tibial Tendon Dysfunction, the average length of brace use is approximately one year. For other conditions such as dropfoot, the brace will be worn for a lifetime. Other conditions such as tendinditis or arthritis will vary in the length of time of brace use from a few months to seveal years.
Do I need to buy new shoes in a bigger size?
No, the unique advantage of the Richie Brace® compared to other custom AFO devices is the fact that this brace does not require an increase in shoe size. This holds true for any shoe which has a removable liner. By removing the liner, there is plenty of room to insert the Richie Brace® without compromising fit.
Is the Richie Brace® difficult to put on and take off?
No, the unique strap closure system of the Richie Brace® products allows simple application compared to other AFO devices. Basically, a single back strap must be opened and closed when fitting the Richie Brace®. For people who have difficulty feeding the back strap thru the slot in the limb upright, a modification is available which provides a long strap which is wrapped around the lower leg.
My velcro straps are worn out can I order these from you? My padding is worn out, how do I get new padding?
Any modification, refurbishment or replacement of worn parts of the Richie Brace® must be provided by a qualified practitioner. You should contact the practitioner who provided the original Richie Brace®. If you cannot locate that practitioner, we can provide you with a referral to a practitioner who has experience with the Richie Brace®. Please write to firstname.lastname@example.org and provide your e-mail address, city where you reside and your zip code. You will hear back from one of our distributors with a suggested referral.