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What You Need to Know About Orthotics

Orthotics is basically referring to the medical specialty that is more concerned with the design, application and manufacture of a specific device called as orthosis. This specific specialty of the medical field is basically a combination of other fields such as biomechanics, engineering, anatomy and physiology, and pathophysiology. Orthosis is the singular form for the said device, while its plural form is orthoses, and such device can be applied externally to the patient.

The primary purpose of its manufacture and design is to alter, change or modify the functional and the structural aspect of two systems of the body, namely the skeletal and the neuromuscular system. The common uses of the different orthoses is to restrict movement in a specified direction; to assist the movement of the bones, joint, and muscles in a general manner; to limit the movement, immobilize, control or guide the movement of a body segment, joint and extremity for a specified reason; to correct the function and the shape of the patient’s body part; to provide the patient with an easier movement capability; to reduce the pain felt by the patient; to aid rehabilitation from any fractures after a cast is removed; as well as, to reduce the weight bearing forces of the patient. The common disorders or health conditions that can gain benefits from using orthoses are spina bifida, cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury, peripheral neuropathy, scoliosis, plantar fasciitis, polio, joint laxity or arthritis, and paralysis. The common materials used in producing orthosis include carbon fiber, metals, elastic, EVA or ethylene-vinyl acetate, fabric, and thermoplastics.

There are basically three different classifications of orthoses, namely the lower-limb orthoses, the upper-limb orthoses, and the spinal orthoses. The term upper-limb can also be called as the upper extremities of a human being, and the orthoses used or designed on the said body part can either be a mechanical one or an electromechanical one, and it is being applied or attached to the arm and the segments of the arm of the patient. There are basically a lot of different kinds of upper-limb orthoses, namely the clavicular and shoulder orthoses, elbow orthoses, hand orthoses, forearm-wrist-hand orthoses, forearm-wrist orthoses, forearm-wrist-thumb orthoses, functional arm orthoses, and arm orthoses. The three common examples of the spinal orthoses are the Milwaukee brace, the Boston brace, and the Charleston bending brace; and this specific device is commonly used for the health condition, like spinal fractures and abnormal curvature of the spine called as scoliosis. The term that refers to the lower extremities of an individual is lower-limb, and that include the ankle, the foot and the knee. There are basically a lot of different examples of the lower-limb orthoses, namely the KAFOs or the knee-ankle-foot orthosis, the ankle-foot orthosis, the foot orthoses, the KO or the knee orthosis, and the prophylactic braces.

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