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Orthotist and Prosthetist

What is an orthotist?

An orthotist is a health care professional who makes and fits braces and splints (orthoses) for patients who need added support for body parts that have been weakened by injury, disease, or disorders of the nerves, muscles, or bones. They work under a doctor's orders to adapt purchased braces or create custom-designed braces. Braces are often named for the body part they support, such as:

  • An AFO brace is an ankle-foot orthosis.

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

  • A Halo brace is a brace that surrounds the head and is held in place with small screws in the skull. It is used to stabilize the neck and prevent further damage to the spinal cord after injury.

What is a prosthetist?

A prosthetist is a health care professional who makes and fits artificial limbs (prostheses) for patients with disabilities. This includes artificial legs and arms for patients who have had amputations due to conditions such as cancer, diabetes, or injury.

Orthotists and prosthetists receive special education and training in graduate programs and/or internships. They may practice in a variety of settings, including the following:

  • Hospitals

  • Inpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Outpatient rehabilitation centers

  • Private practice

  • Industrial health centers

Online Medical Reviewer: Bellendir, Trina, MSPT, CLT
Online Medical Reviewer: Kolbus, Karin, RN, DNP, COHN-S
Date Last Reviewed: 12/5/2013
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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