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A Guide to Orthotics

Orthotics is a specific area of medicine that focuses on the design, manufacture, and application of orthoses. Orthoses are mechanical or electromechanical devices that are used to modify the characteristics, both structural and functional, of the neuromuscular and skeletal system.

The person responsible for the prescription, manufacture, and management of orthoses is called an orthotist. An orthosis has many functions such as: controlling and guiding an extremity or joint, restrict or immobilize movement in a particular direction, facilitate movement, reduce weight bearing forces for a specific purpose, help in rehabilitation from fractures as well as to correct the shape and function of the body thus providing easier movement capability or reducing pain.

Orthotics is a mix of knowledge from anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, biomechanics, and engineering. Patients who suffer from spina bifida or cerebral palsy as well as those who have experienced a spinal cord injury or stroke can benefit from orthotics services.
Getting Creative With Orthotics Advice

There are three types of orthoses: upper limb orthoses, lower limb orthoses, and spinal orthoses. Upper limb orthoses, as the name suggests, are applied externally to the arm or its segments (clavicle, shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, hands) to restore or improve function. On the other hand, lower limb orthoses are attached to the lower body section. It can help stabilize gait and reduce pain by transferring load to another area. Major types of lower limb orthoses are the ankle foot orthoses, knee orthoses, and prophylactic, functional, and rehabilitation braces. Spinal orthoses can primarily help with Scoliosis, which is a condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine. It usually develops in adolescent females who are going through their pubertal growth spurt. Spinal orthoses can also be used to treat spinal fractures.
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It is highly recommended that patients who are suffering from acute pain caused by injuries find a clinic that provides good orthotics services because it can vastly improve their lives. There are a lot of clinics to choose from in Canada. There are orthotics services in Toronto, North York, and Etobicoke. One important reason to get orthotics services is to get relief from acute pain caused by injuries. A thorough assessment is necessary to make sure that other serious issues are not ignored.

Another reason to get good orthotics services is to help the patient’s body reposition structures in the injured areas to improve biomechanical function and reduce chances of further injury. Additionally, it can provide support for parts of the body that are always being used and put under pressure. This additional support comes in the form of custom molded orthotics. It can be geared toward something that an individual can wear every day. This also comes with value for money since custom made gear is built to last for several years.

There are several factors to consider before prescribing orthoses. The clinic team should ensure that the prescription of an orthosis is a good fit for the patient and to assess the wearer’s ease of function while wearing it. They are also responsible for the patient’s rehabilitation. Other factors to take note of is the end goal of the prescription or what the patient and the clinic team wants to achieve as well as to identify the pathomechanical disorders that can disturb the patient’s function while wearing the orthosis. The prescription should also be able to pinpoint the places where the patient would most likely use the orthosis like in his or her home or community and make sure that these places can accommodate the device.

While this field may seem focused on the physical aspect of recovery, it is also important to take note of the individual’s cognitive, emotional, and social status when coming up with a prescription for an orthosis.

A rigid evaluation of these various factors before prescribing the orthosis is important because pain caused by injuries, especially for those who went through an amputation, can have major impacts on the individual’s mental health. Some even experience a phantom limb, which is the sensation that a missing limb is still attached. After all, the road to recovery not only involves the patient’s body but his or her mind as well.