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. An orthotist is someone who is responsible for the prescription, manufacture, and management of orthoses. An orthosis helps with several functions such as controlling and training an extremity or joint, limit movement in a specific direction, help regain movement, lessen weight bearing forces for a particular purpose, assist in rehabilitation from fractures and to correct the shape and function of the body thereby providing easier movement capability or reducing pain. This particular field combines the studies of anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, biomechanics, and engineering. Individuals who suffer from conditions such as spina bifida or cerebral palsy and those who have gone through a spinal cord injury or stroke can benefit from orthotics services.
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Upper limb orthoses, lower limb orthoses, and spinal orthoses are three major types of 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. Lower limb orthoses are applied to a lower-body segment. 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. Scoliosis, a condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine, can be aided by spinal orthoses. 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 important to find a clinic that provides good orthotics services since this is a major factor that could improve your condition. There are a lot of clinics to choose from in Canada. There are good orthotics services in Toronto, North York, and Etobicoke. Patients should get orthotics services to alleviate the acute pain they suffer from which is 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. Also, it can provide additional support for parts of the body that are being constantly used. Additional support can come in the form of custom molded orthotics. It can be geared toward something that an individual can wear every day. Custom made gear also provides value for money since it can be used for many years. There are a lot of things to consider before an orthosis can be prescribed. The clinic team should make sure that the prescription is a good fit for the patient and assess his or her ease of function while wearing it. They are also responsible for the patient’s rehabilitation. Other factors to consider is the end goal of the prescription as well as to evaluate and identify the pathomechanical disorders that can disturb the patient’s function. The prescription should also identify the places where the patient would most likely use the orthosis such as the individual’s home or community and ensure 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 thorough assessment of the different factors before prescribing the orthosis is necessary because pain caused by injuries, especially for patients who went through an amputation, can have major effects on the individual’s mental health. Some patients even experience a phantom limb which is a condition characterized by feeling 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.