Sometimes, there is confusion regarding the use of orthotics and prosthetics. Most of the time, people consider these terms interchangeable regarding their usage. However, both orthotics and prosthetics are two different terms with different uses.
What is Orthotics
Orthotics is the use of braces and belts for the prevention of further injuries or to provide the movement support to the limb.
Specifically, orthotics refers to apparatus and methods which can enhance or correct the body part’s use. Orthotics can have many effects on the condition of the patient as in increasing mobility and reducing the pain. These effects are beneficial in assisting limb rehabilitation.
Orthotics have the most common uses in:
• Accommodating the birth abnormality or deformity
• Controlling the malalignment of biomechanical structures
In short, an orthosis is an artificial device that helps is support and correction of problems regarding the nervous system, muscles, and skeletal structures.
Most of the orthotic conditions are self-resolving with age. In some cases, these conditions require treatments and professional interventions for their symptoms as:
• Cerebral palsy
• Toe walking
• Knock knees
• Pigeon toes
What is Prosthetics
Prosthetics is the field of rehabilitation in which artificial devices help in the replacement of the missing limb. Prostheses are custom-made devices that match the needs of the amputee patients.
A person can suffer from missing limb due to:
• Congenital maldevelopment as a partial limb or missing limb
• Medical complication as diabetes and gangrene
Difference between prosthetics and orthotics
Orthotics can help patients with the use of braces and belts for treating defects and malalignments. Orthotics is a practice of using assisting devices for the limbs, while prosthesis uses the artificial limbs for compensating the loss of missing limb.
The difference in the functions of the prosthesis and orthosis is:
• The orthosis can enhance or correct the functions of the body part
• A prosthesis can help in the restoration of the natural functions of the missing parts of the body
Similarities between orthotics and prosthetics
• Both prosthesis and orthosis are the mechanical devices which are externally applied over the body
• Both of these artificial devices can be prescribed to patients suffering from similar conditions
When to contact a professional prosthetist or orthotist
If you are having numbness or losing sensations in your limbs, then you must contact a physician. If your physician prescribes you to use the orthotics for the physical defect, then consult an orthotist. In case you are suffering from amputation, then consult your prosthetist for further evaluation and monitoring.