Sport and Bracing in Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis

Some children with Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis (AIS) need to wear a brace and perform specific exercises. More and more evidence is emerging to support the use of Physiotherapeutic Scoliosis Specific Exercises (PSSE) for scoliosis. But what about the role of sport? And what about the role of sport in those children with AIS that wear a full time-brace? 

What is the Impact of Sport While Wearing a Brace? 

At the recent SOSORT* conference in San Francisco,  Alessandra Negrini and colleagues from ISICO (a scientific institute for scoliosis in Italy) presented the findings of their study in this area. The patients wore a brace full time and were monitored for their sport participation. While further study is needed the findings of this study were promising and the authors were the recipients of the prestigious SOSORT award.

While sport is not a ‘treatment’ for scoliosis, the authors found that the adolescents who participated in sport while committing to brace wear increased their odds of improvement at 6 months and 18 months of follow up. The odds of improvement increased with the number of sessions of sport per week. Adolescents who only participated in sport once per week or no times per weeks did not increase their chance of scoliosis improvement. 

Participation in sport 4-7 times per week during full time brace prescription increased the odds of scoliosis improvement, but this is not a treatment for scoliosis. Sport is considered an adjunct to treatment for scoliosis. 

What are the Current Recommendations in Regards to Sport Participation in AIS?

Right now, the International Guidelines support the continuation of sport for adolescents with Idiopathic Scoliosis. While there may be some individual exceptions, children should be actively encouraged to participate in sport as an adjunct to specific treatment to scoliosis. It is not a replacement for PSSE or bracing. If you are unsure, speak to your treating health professional.


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