Orthotics Services: From Pain to Relief
Orthotics is a specialized field in 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 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.
Orthotics is a mix of knowledge from 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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There are three types of orthoses: upper limb orthoses, lower limb orthoses, and spinal orthoses. As the name suggests, upper limb orthoses are devices that are applied externally to the arm or its segments like the clavicle, shoulder, elbow, forearm, wrist, and 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. Scoliosis, a condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine, can be aided by spinal orthoses. This condition commonly develops in adolescent females going through their pubertal growth spurt. Spinal orthoses can also help treat spinal fractures.
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