Orthotist and Prosthetist

What is an orthotist?

An orthotist is a healthcare provider who makes and fits braces and splints (orthoses). These are made for people who need added support for certain body parts. These body parts have been weakened by injury, disease, or disorders of the nerves, muscles, or bones. An orthotist works under a doctor's orders. They can adapt purchased braces or create custom-designed braces. Braces are often named for the body part they support, such as:

  • AFO brace. This is an ankle-foot orthosis.

  • KAFO brace. This is a knee-ankle-foot orthosis, or long leg brace.

  • Halo brace. This is a brace that surrounds the head. It is held in place with small screws in the skull. It is used to stabilize the neck. It also prevents more damage to the spinal cord after injury.

What is a prosthetist?

A prosthetist is a healthcare provider who makes and fits artificial limbs (prostheses) for people with disabilities. This includes artificial legs and arms for people who have had amputations due to diseases, disorders, or injury.

Orthotists and prosthetists have special education and training in graduate programs or internships. They may work in different settings, including:

  • Hospitals

  • Inpatient rehab centers

  • Outpatient rehab centers

  • Private practice

  • Industrial health centers

Orthotists and prosthetists commonly do tasks such as:

  • Assess and talk with people to learn their needs

  • Take measurements or molds of the body area that will have a brace or artificial limb

  • Create orthopedic and prosthetic devices following doctors' instructions

  • Pick suitable materials for the orthotic or prosthetic device

  • Educate people on the proper use and care of their devices

  • Change, repair, or substitute prosthetic and orthotic devices

  • Keep records of each person's details

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Shaziya Allarakha MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Trina Bellendir PT
Date Last Reviewed: 1/1/2024
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