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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 devices, mechanical or electromechanical, that are used to change the structural and functional characteristics of the neuromuscular and skeletal system.

The person responsible for the prescription, manufacture, and management of orthoses is called an orthotist. An orthosis has many functions such as: controlling and guiding an extremity or joint, restrict or immobilize movement in a particular direction, facilitate movement, reduce weight bearing forces for a specific purpose, help in rehabilitation from fractures as well as to correct the shape and function of the body thus providing easier movement capability or reducing pain.

Orthotics is a mix of knowledge from anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, biomechanics, and engineering. Patients who suffer from spina bifida or cerebral palsy as well as those who have experienced 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. Lower limb orthoses are applied to a lower-body segment. This type of device can help stabilize gait and reduce pain by transferring the person’s weight to another area. Ankle foot orthoses, knee orthoses, and prophylactic, functional, and rehabilitation braces are types of lower limb orthoses. Spinal orthoses can primarily help with Scoliosis, which is a condition characterized by an abnormal curvature of the spine. It usually develops in adolescent females who are going through their pubertal growth spurt. Spinal orthoses can also help 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 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. With this, a rigid evaluation is important to ensure that other serious causes are not ignored.

Another important reason for getting good orthotics services is because it can help reposition structures in the injured areas to improve biomechanical function and reduce chances of further injury. Additionally, it can provide support for parts of the body that are always being used and put under pressure. This additional support comes 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 take note of is the end goal of the prescription or what the patient and the clinic team wants to achieve as well as to identify the pathomechanical disorders that can disturb the patient’s function while wearing the orthosis. The prescription should also be able to pinpoint the places where the patient would most likely use the orthosis like in his or her home or community and make sure 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, healing is not only about the physical aspects of the human body but it also involves the mind.