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What are Lycra Orthotics?

Lycra orthotics are individually designed custom made orthotics which provide a new approach for management of neurological dysfunction, abnormal muscle tone and scar formation. The orthotics are made from lycra material which when layered and reinforced form a close fitting garment which has many therapeutic benefits. It is the increased pressure of the tight fitting garments which improve proprioception (body position awareness) helping to improve posture and control of movement.

From a neurological perspective Lycra orthotics can help people with neurological conditions to improve posture, manage abnormal tone and improve functional ability. From a scar healing perspective Lycra orthotics help speed up the healing process and prevent scar thickening by reducing swelling.

Core stability and proprioception exercises supervised by a neurological physiotherapistAbove: Core stability and proprioception exercises supervised by a neurological physiotherapist

Each Lycra orthosis is individually designed to meet the needs of the user. They can come in the form of gloves, shorts, leggings and full body suits and are suitable for both adults and children. Your physiotherapist will recommend which type of orthosis is appropriate for your needs based on the outcome of an initial assessment.

Lycra orthoses are often used in close conjunction with other forms of therapy to maximise the efficiency of treatment. The person is introduced to wearing the orthosis gradually typically wearing it for up to six hours a day. Over time the aim is to reduce the wearing time of the orthosis to carry over the positive effects experienced into everyday function.

To find out more about our lycra orthotics please call 0330 088 7800 to speak to one of our specialist neurological physiotherapists.

How Do Lycra Orthotics work?

Neurological conditions

Each Lycra orthotic device is tailor made to produce a tight fitting and comfortable garment. The design of the Lycra fabric causes an increase in the pressure in the area covered by the orthotic. The increase in pressure is thought to improve proprioceptive feedback in key muscle groups in the affected area. Stimulation of the proprioceptors over time can lead to an increase in awareness of the affected area of the body. This can then improve problems such as poor posture, reduced muscle tremor, increased awareness of body position and increased confidence in movement.

Scar Healing

Similar to neurological conditions, it is the pressure produced by the tight fitting Lycra which produces the therapeutic effects associated with scar healing. The increase in pressure reduces swelling in the area which in turn prevents hypertrophic and keloid scaring. The increase in pressure also helps improve the maturation rate of scars which prevents the thickness of the scar increasing.

What is high tone?

High tone is caused through damage to the brain or spinal cord (central nervous system). The body has natural reflexes an example of this is touching something hot and your hand pulls away quickly without any conscious effort. This is a reflex and they are usually controlled or dampened down by the brain. When damage causes information to stop being passed to and from the brain the reflexes can occur with no control. This causes the muscles to contract but there is no ‘off switch’ to dampen them down. The high tone can become detrimental when completing activities of daily living and that is why we try to control it.

What is proprioception?

Proprioception is the body’s ability to tell where it is in space. When proprioceptive feedback is working normally it gives you an awareness of where a certain part of your body is in relation to the rest of your body. This allows us to complete many different tasks which we often take for granted such as sitting upright, reaching for a cup of tea or more complex tasks like you may see in a gymnastic routine.

What does this mean for me?


Neurological conditions are complex and often difficult to treat. People may have a similar condition but with very different presenting symptoms. Lycra Orthotics allow us to target specific symptoms of each individual. For example. following a stroke higher tone may develop in the right arm. Using Lycra Orthotics and other complementary therapies we can directly treat this symptom. So depending on your symptom we will tailor your treatment to your needs.

Below is a list of some of the different types of Lycra Orthotic and some of the major benefits.

Type Benefits
Gloves and arm supports
  • Extend and encourage control of fingers
  • Abduct the thumb
  • Extend the wrist
  • Extend the elbow
  • Encourage supination of the elbow
Shorts & Leggings
  • Help achieve knee extension
  • Externally rotate the hips
  • Increase proprioception and stability
  • Improve sitting ability
  • Reduce spasticity
  • Reduce scoliosis and kyphosis
  • Reduce shoulder protraction

What conditions can it help?

Lycra Orthotics as stated above are designed for people with neurological dysfunction and to help those with major scarring. Below is a list of common conditions which Lycra Orthotics can help with. However each individual will present with different symptoms and therefore it is vital that you receive advice from a trained physiotherapist before starting with Lycra Orthotic to ensure you maximise its potential.


Book now

For any more information on how Lycra Orthotics could benefit you, please call today on 0330 088 7800 to book an appointment or toreceive a free phone consultation.You can also use our online booking system to book appointments online today.

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