Orthotic / Prosthetic Limb Classifications
If you are having difficulty moving normally due to an injury or an illness, your physical therapist may fit you with an orthotic to help align your feet and body properly. So, what exactly is an orthotic? An orthotic is an orthopedic appliance or apparatus used to support, align, prevent, or correct deformities or to improve the function of movable parts of the body. Simply put, an orthotic is any device that is applied to your body that is meant to help you move and function better. There are several different types of orthotics that your physical therapist may use.
Examples of orthotics that your PT may help you with may include:
- AFO – Ankle Foot Orthosis; orthotic device for the lower limb that encloses the ankle and foot and does not extend above the knee. This is commonly used in foot drop where weakness of the anterior tibialis prevents you from lifting your foot and toes up off the floor.
- Cervical brace – a rigid plastic orthosis that encircles the neck and supports the chin and the back of the head.
- Dynamic splint – a dynamic splint is a device that surrounds a joint to support it but moves to align your joint while stretching a specific part of it. For example, if you are experiencing elbow tightness after an arm fracture, your PT may prescribe a dynamic splint to help stretch your arm out while supporting it. The splint provides a low-load, long-duration stretch to your body part.
- KAFO – Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis; orthotic device for the lower limb that extends from above the knee to the ankle and foot.
- LSO – Lumbosacral Orthosis; spinal orthosis that encircles the body in the lumbosacral region. This is often used after spinal surgery or to treat low back pain from spinal stenosis.
Orthotics may be recommended by your physical therapist to help align your body or to help support a joint or joints. This can improve your overall functional mobility by helping to support your body after injury or illness that results in loss of muscular control or joint mobility.
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