Q – What is an Orthotist?
A – The definition of an Orthotist is person licensed to practice orthotics which is the science and practice of evaluating, measuring, designing, fabricating, assembling, fitting, adjusting, or servicing, as well as providing the initial training necessary to accomplish the fitting of, an orthosis for the support, correction, or alleviation of neuromuscular or musculoskeletal dysfunction, disease, injury, or deformity. The practice of orthotics encompasses evaluations and consultation and continuing care, with basic observational gait and posture analysis. Orthotists assess the need for and measure, design, manufacture, and fit orthoses to maximize function and provide not only the support but the alignment necessary to either prevent or correct deformity or to improve the safety and efficiency of mobility or locomotion, or both. Orthotic practice includes periodic evaluation and consultation to assess its effect on the patient’s tissue and assure proper fit and function of the orthotic device
An Orthotist is only as good as the people who surround him or her that share the goals and belief in restoring the lives of a person who has had an amputation as well as their families, friends and loved ones. An Orthotist does not enter this profession without possessing ingredients such as EMPATHY, CARE, A DESIRE TO HELP AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE, etc.
It also goes for those who work in support of the Orthotist such as the Lab Technicians who spend countless hours creating and fabricating an orthosis. The Orthotic Assistant, whose role it is to support the Orthotist in reaching the goals established by the patient and Orthotist and rehabilitation team. The Administrative Staff including the Receptionist, office manager, coding and billing specialists, etc.
*At Alabama Artificial Limb & Orthopedic Service, we agree with the definition of an Orthotist. But, we also realize that without the other staff/team members, an Orthotist will not be able to fulfill the philosophy of AALOS to restore a quality of life to our patients and their families, friends, loved ones and care givers.
Q – Will my brace/orthosis fit under my clothes?
A – Whether it is a leg brace or back brace, the answer to this question depends on exactly what the brace is treating. The simple answer is that if a person is putting a brace on their body and if the wearer wants it under clothes, a larger size in outer wear is likely necessary. Braces are typically not worn over clothes. However, it is recommended that a thin t-shirt or sock is worn against the skin as an interface between the body and the brace.
Q – How long will I wear the brace/orthotic each day?
A – Depending on the severity of your injury or specific diagnosis, wearing schedules can vary. In most cases, our schedule will be specified by your physician. At the very least, you will wear it when you are up and moving around and during periods of activity. Braces/orthotics are designed to support, realign and/or immobilize an area of the body. So, wearing the brace during activity or when the wearer is up will increase its effectiveness.
Q – My teenage daughter has been diagnosed with idiopathic scoliosis and the physician has prescribed a scoliosis brace. What is the wearing schedule each and how long will she have to wear the orthosis?
A – 99% of the time, Idiopathic Scoliosis is diagnosed in the female population. Typically, it can be diagnosed as early as 11 years old and will be past the most critical phase after 15 years of age. This determination will dictate the overall length of time the brace will be needed. There are 2 types of scoliosis braces. One is to be worn for the majority of the day and the other is for night time wear only. In either case, the effectiveness of the orthosis depends on a diligent effort to wear the brace as long as recommended.
Q – What does a scoliosis brace look like?
A – The appearance of a scoliosis brace depends on the style of brace ordered. However, all of them are fairly low profile and not extremely bulky. This makes them inconspicuous. Scoliosis braces are worn by children and early teens. There are also a variety of transfer designs such as various colors or themes that can make the brace a personal expression of style as well.
Q – Will my short leg brace/ankle foot orthosis (AFO) fit in my shoe?
A – This is the most common question when braces for the lower limb are prescribed. The wearer often will want to wear a variety of shoes or at least, the shoes they currently own. The simple answer is yes. However, lace-up shoes are almost always recommended for ease in donning the shoe over the brace. Depending on the diagnosis and swelling, lace-up shoes can be recommended. Shoes with high heel elevation are also less desirable.
*At AALOS we will go over the variety of options for shoe wear with an orthosis. We understand the desire to limit expenses by using existing shoes as well as the desire to be less conspicuous.
Q – Will my brace/orthosis be hot?
A – As with anything that covers the skin in warm and humid climates, bracing that covers parts of the body limits the flow of air and can cause the body to sweat. At AALOS, we strongly recommend the use of a fitted interface such as a cotton t-shirt or a cotton sock. It can reduce the discomfort or irritation that results from sweating inside an orthosis.