An orthotic, or brace, is an externally worn device that is designed to either support or assist a weakened or paralyzed trunk, joint or extremity. For short-term use, an off-the-shelf brace may be suitable. In many cases, however, to ensure proper fit and function, a brace must be custom-made to match a client’s specific needs.
Clients may benefit from a leg orthotic to assist with positioning, transfers, standing or walking. A WWRC physical therapist works with clients to determine the most appropriate type of leg brace to meet their goals. Physical therapists use evaluation braces or make temporary braces and shoe inserts for clients to try before recommending a brace that is made by a certified brace specialist (orthotist). The physical therapist would work with a community-based physician and orthotist to prescribe the recommended brace.
Once the brace is made, the orthotist works with the client and physical therapist to make sure that it fits comfortably and works well. Physical therapists train clients in using braces for proper positioning, transferring, standing and walking to the best of their ability in a safe manner.
The orthotist works with you to review insurance and any other funding resources that will cover the costs of any recommended orthotic device.
Limb loss through trauma, disease or congenital absence is often treated by providing a prosthetic device (artificial limb) to substitute for the lost limb.
Most persons undergoing amputations begin working with a prosthetist affiliated with their hospital soon after surgery and may require new devices over time. The prosthetist makes and fits the device as prescribed by the physician. If needed, the physician will refer the client to Physical Therapy for prosthetic gait training or Occupational Therapy for training with an upper extremity device.
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