How Do Orthotics and Prosthetics Work?

Orthotics and prosthetics (O&Ps) professionals integrate knowledge coming from science, art and technology to properly fit, fabricate and install orthopedic supports (or orthotics) and prosthetic limbs (prosts). Advances in technology especially computer-assisted design and materials science have paved the way forward for continuing innovation in this healthcare discipline, whether you seek a career as an orthotic or prosthetic technician, an office assistant or primary caregiver. O&P practitioners are often referred to as "hand surgeons" owing to their expertise on hand surgery, specifically cosmetic surgeries. The scope of work within the field of orthotics and prosthetics is broad, with a wide variety of specialties within it.

You may find yourself serving a wide variety of functions within an Orthotics and Prosthetics practice including primary caregivers, practitioners of primary care, physicians, consultants, technical and product developers, distributors, retailers, audiovisual designers, product development, medical information managers, nursing informatics specialists, medical record managers, medical transcriptionists and clinical laboratory specialists. Your job responsibilities will undoubtedly revolve around the needs of your patient population. Thus, it is important that you are highly skilled in your area of specialization, but equally critical that you can deliver services across the board. In addition, you need to have a strong customer service background to encourage repeat business and to keep current patients happy and coming back for more. Ultimately, you must develop a strong leadership and management skills to help you build a strong reputation, foster trust and increase productivity while equipping your practice with the latest technological advances.

Orthotics and prosthetics came in many forms and are often fabricated at the same facility where you manufacture other medical equipment. Orthotics can be hard-wired or soft-wired, and may be used to replace one, several, or all of the natural structures within the lower extremities, such as the knees, elbows, feet, hips, hands and fingers. For example, arthritic knees may be helped by custom-made braces that articulate the patella so that they do not slide around inside the knee socket. Soft-wired prosthetic legs can be made from a variety of materials, including carbon fiber, silicone, rubber and thermoplastic.

Typically, orthotics will be needed for one or more specific purposes. In addition to serving as protection for the body's natural structures and systems, orthotics also help patients with common pain problems, such as arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome. Other common conditions that can benefit from orthotics include chronic foot, ankle and lower leg pain; diabetic neuropathy; lumbar spinal stenosis; and injured tendons and ligaments. Even mentally impaired individuals may use orthotics to help improve their balance and gait.

Orthotics can be used for rehabilitation after surgery, as well as to improve function and precision of the limbs following an injury or surgery. They can even be used to strengthen weak or damaged muscles or tissues. Some orthotics are designed to enhance a person's strength or functional ability. These can be custom-made or imitate the natural functions of limbs that have been amputated, for example, or simulate walking, running or climbing. There are a wide variety of orthotics available, depending on the needs of the patient.

Today's technologically advanced prosthetics and orthoses are more durable and comfortable than ever before. They can be made to correct any physical problem, and may be used to prevent injury or improve function. However, despite their great technological advancements, many people still choose to wear prosthetic limbs themselves. Find out more details in relation to this topic here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orthotics.

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