How Orthotics Help
While you may not be familiar with the odd-sounding word “orthotics,” you have probably seen a variety of “orthoses” and may even have worn one.
Orthotics refers to the design and fitting of supportive braces and splints that are needed by persons with disabling conditions of the limbs or spine because of muscle weakness, deformities, or injury. A user of an orthosis may have been born with a deformity or may have developed a disabling condition later in life. Such appliances include a range of products–collars applied to the neck or spine, belts, corsets, splints, and special footwear.
One of the more common orthotic devices is a shoe insert that is custom made to a person’s feet. There are several ways to cast for this orthosis or analyze the foot during the gait cycle to determine the correct prescription for the foot orthosis. Foot orthoses are used for a variety of conditions in the foot and lower leg. Primarily, foot orthoses bring the ground up to the person’s foot to decrease the over use that poor biomechanics of the foot and lower leg causes. An orthopedic surgeon or physical therapist often makes a recommendation for foot orthoses. The professional that recommends the orthoses will usually do the casting. The cast is then sent to an outside company to make the orthoses. These are made for both feet even if the problem is only on one side.
Spectrum Occupational Therapy Department specializes in the custom fabrication of splints primarily for the elbow, wrist and hand. Jill Lefever, occupational therapist with Spectrum Rehabilitation, explains, “There are a variety of conditions that may require a splint, including arthritis, wrist and hand fractures, nerve injuries, surgical reconstruction, traumatic injuries, neurological impairments and cumulative trauma. The purpose of wearing a splint may be to immobilize or protect, rest a joint, allow healing, maintain or increase joint motion, relieve pain, or provide support to allow improved hand function. ”
If you are in need of an orthotic device, either custom or pre-made, your physician will need to write a prescription and, if appropriate, a physical or occupational therapist can assist you with fit or fabrication. “““““““““` has 12 outpatient physical rehabilitation offices throughout the area.
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