Paralympic Swimmer Relies on Ankle-Foot Orthotic
By Dr. Bruce Theall
October 16, 2012
Category: Orthotics

Seventeen year old Alyssa Gialamas was thrilled to compete in the 2012 London Paralympics swimming events. Gialamas was born with arthrogryposis, a congenital condition affecting the joints and muscles. Out of the pool Gialamas relies on her leg-foot-ankle orthotics to stabilize her joints and support her muscles. Gialamas competed with 34 other elite U.S. swimmers at the games.

Gialamas shows that foot and ankle orthotics can allow anyone to regain full mobility. Her condition did not force her to sideline herself for the games, and now she proves that foot conditions and foot injuries are something that can be overcome. If you have a need for ankle-foot orthotics, it is highly recommended to seek the care of a podiatrist, like Dr. Bruce Theall of Gentle Touch Foot Care. Dr. Theall can work with you on treatment options for your foot conditions that might require the use of ankle-foot orthotics.


Orthoses are devices used to correct physical impairments that are caused by scoliosis, spina bifida, cerebral palsy, or foot deformities. Orthopedic devices control, guide, limit or immobilize body segments. They assist in movement; reduce weight bearing forces and aid in rehabilitation from fractures. They also correct the shape and function of the body.

Orthoses include ankle foot orthosis, thoracolumbosacral orthosis, knee orthosis and wrist hand orthosis. When orthoses were first made, plaster of Paris molds were made of the patient and then materials like plastic, elastic, metal or a combination of those materials. Now braces for participants in contact sports are made from neoprene to allow movement but reduce the range of movement.

Different Types of Braces

  • The Boston Brace - used to assist patients who suffer from scoliosis.
  • The Charleston Bending Brace - this is worn only at night, the design of this brace is built to correct the curve of the scoliosis.
  • The Milwaukee Brace - used for mid-back curves. This brace consists of a plastic pelvic girdle and a neck ring. This brace is rarely used but patients with a curve very high in the spine can benefit from wearing it.
  • A knee orthosis is a brace worn to given the knee strength. Ostero arthritiscan cause significant pain, knee braces allow a person to remain active.

Orthoses have changed over the decades as new material and technology have advanced. The materials used for the actual orthotic devices have evolved and help to stop pain and give patients the ability to move pain free.

If you have any questions, please contact our office located in East Orange, NJ. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot and ankle needs.