View Full Version : Breaking in brace?

06-10-2009, 04:34 PM
My daughter will wear her brace 18 hours a day. We were told to "break it in" the first week by wearing it a few hours at a time. I didn't think to ask any questions until later of course. How did all of you start out with your brace? Hours per day, etc. Any advice is appreciated.


06-10-2009, 09:25 PM
Hi Shannon,

Welcome to the group. I am sorry to hear of your daughter's diagnosis and increased curve. I know it is all very overwhelming right now, although the bracing does get easier with time. Your orthotist (brace maker) should have given you some instructions for breaking in the brace, and should be able to advise you if you call. I will tell you what was recommended for my daughter:

First day or so: put the brace on over a snug fitting seamless shirt (there are special brace shirts that help a lot--did they give you some?). Try to have dd wear the brace for 1-2 hours until uncomfortable. I used shameless bribery and TV for my dd, but she was 6 when she got her brace, so that's a whole different situation. After 1-2 hrs, take the brace off and check for red areas. After a little while, put the brace back on and try for another 2 hours. We were told to work up to about 6-8 hrs in the first week. If areas are truly red and getting raw (vs pink), the brace probably needs adjusting.

After 5 days, ideally over the weekend, try to have your dd wear the brace at night. If she wakes up uncomfortable, take it off for the remainder of the night. Try again the following day. Continue with increasing the daytime hours slowly over 2-3 weeks. By the end of 3 weeks, she should be able to work up to the 18 hours. If any area of the brace truly hurts her (vs being uncomfortable and tight), it should be checked by the orthotist. If the fronts of her thighs get numb when she sits, the brace is probably too long and needs to be adjusted. You are lucky that summer is here, so dd can get used to the brace before she has to wear it to school. In my opinion (and I was braced too) that is the most difficult part by far!

Avoid using any lotions on the skin under the brace, it makes the skin too soft and prone to getting raw. Rubbing alcohol is often recommended, my dd absolutely refused this and her skin adjusted fine. Make sure your dd wears a clean shirt under the brace each day. Remember to praise all positive efforts and understand that your daughter needs support through this.

You can also check out www.spinekids.com, they have a section on bracing tips and tricks.

Hang in there, and know it will get easier!

Take care,


06-11-2009, 03:50 PM
Hey Shannon.

I will give you the exact words from the sheet my orthotist gave me when i first got my brace:

"Please post this wear schedule prominently and check off your progress each day. Always inspect your skin after wearing your new Scoliosis Orthosis to make sure there are no areas of extreme redness or skin breakdown. It is normal to see some redness after wear but skin breakdown and/or bruising are not. The brace must be worn as tightly as tolerated at all times."

Then there was a little table/checklist about the hours I should be wearing it over a ten day period, plus a section for any notes or questions.

Day 1 Wear 1 hour, 2 times

Day 2 Wear 2 hours

Day 3 wear 4 hours

Day 4 wear 4 hours again

Day 5 wear 6 hours

Day 6 wear 8 hours

Day 7 wear 10 hours (add night-time wear)

Day 8 wear 12 hours

Day 9 wear 16 hours

Day 10 wear full-time (21 hours)" [for you it would be 18 hours of course]

Then there were 2 passages at the bottom:

"CARE: always wear a clean, dry interface (t-shirt, etc) under the brace to keep your skin healthy. Wash the brace inside and out once a day with rubbing alcohol.

If you are experiencing any areas of extreme soreness at any point during this break-in period, just back up two days on the chart and start again from that point. As always, feel free to call our office if you have questions.

REMEMBER: Too much wear too soon, or inconsistent wear, can make it harder on you."

Don't be shocked if it takes your daughter longer than 10 days to break into the brace. it took me about 2 weeks. it is very difficult and painful and uncomfortable at times when she is getting used to it (I suggest Tylenol or Advil)

I am assuming your daughter has a Boston or some other rigid/hard brace.

I have Boston, by the way.

Good luck!

How old is your daughter? She should look at www.Spinekids.com

06-11-2009, 05:40 PM
Thank you so much for the responses! I feel bad, I made her wear it for much longer periods the first few days. :( She'll be thrilled at that schedule.

Stephanie- I have seen some of your posts and you must be such a reassurance to these young girls. Very thoughtful, imformative, helpful advice! I did sign my daughter up on Spine Kids and she seems to like it. Her member name over there is CurlyQ. ;)

Thanks again for all the responses!!

06-15-2009, 09:36 AM
Thanks! I really try. I know what they're going through, and when I was going through it, I was oblivious to these websites. Scoliosis is the hardest thing I've ever had happen to me, but it has made me stronger. I hope to hear from you more and that your daughter's curve(s) get better x

Oh! and if i could recommend a book about scoliosis, it's called "Deenie" by Judy Bloom. It's an excellent book about a girl who gets a Milwaukee brace. Even though her brace is FAR different than the ones commonly used today, she still has the same emotions as many other girls suffering with this condition. I encourage your daughter and everyone else to read it! (: