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Using an abduction wedge fact sheet

Using an abduction wedge

An abduction wedge is commonly used in the treatment of children with cerebral palsy. It is designed to hold a child’s leg apart and keep the adductor muscles ‘stretched’ immediately after an operation. The wedge helps to maintain muscle length over time as a child grows.

Instructions

  • Position the wedge as high up the leg as possible while being comfortable for your child.
  • Use the wedge along with leg wraps to hold the knees straight and keep the legs apart. When sitting, bend at the hips and sit with a straight back. A small pillow, wedge or folded towel under the bottom may help. Ask your physiotherapist to check your child’s posture in sitting.

The first six weeks after surgery

During the first six weeks, the wedge and leg wraps should be used as much as possible. Aim for about 20 hours in a day, including:

  • overnight for sleeping
  • any time spent sitting(e.g. in cars, wheelchairs or strollers, in the class room, at home for meals, TV, during play)

Your child may remove the wedge for short periods for active exercise, swimming, bathing, therapy or active play at home (crawling/standing/stepping, etc.)

Laying position

Six weeks to two months after surgery

After the first six weeks you can slowly decrease the time your child uses the wedge during the day. The wedge should still be used overnight (while sleeping) until at least three months after the operation.

Your child should still be wearing the wedge for at least four hours throughout the day. This will vary according to your family lifestyle, daytime commitments and orthopaedic recommendations.

Ongoing care

After the first three months you can gradually start to decrease use of the wedge. If your child is sleeping well with the wedge in place there is no need to stop using it. Your child should still have one session each day using the leg wraps and wedge during a quiet time (e.g. watching television).

Contact us

Queensland Paediatric Rehabilitation Service
Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital
Level 6, 501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane 4101
t: 07 3068 2950
t: 07 3068 1111 (general enquiries)
f: 07 3068 3909
e: qprs@health.qld.gov.au

In an emergency, always call 000.

If it’s not an emergency but you have any concerns, contact 13 Health (13 43 2584). Qualified staff will give you advice on who to talk to and how quickly you should do it. You can phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Resource No: F186. Developed by the Queensland Paediatric Rehabilitation Service, Children’s Health Queensland. Updated: August 2015. All information contained in this sheet has been supplied by qualified professionals as a guideline for care only. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your child’s health.

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