FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS ORTHOTICS?
In basic terms, orthotics is a branch of science that deals with using specialized mechanical devices to either support or supplement joints or limbs that are not functioning properly.
WHAT DOES AN ORTHOTIST DO?
An orthotist is a highly skilled healthcare professional specifically educated in all aspects of the provision of orthotic services to a wide range of patients. The responsibilities of an orthotist include: patient assessment, formulation and implementation of a treatment plan, and appropriate follow-up care - as well as designing, fabricating, fitting and repairing orthoses.
WHAT SHOULD I BRING WITH ME TO MY APPOINTMENT?
Bring the current orthosis even if you, or your child, have outgrown it or it is broke. The patient must be present for all appointments, including adjustments. Additionally, you will need to bring your current insurance information and a current prescription.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I SEE MY ORTHOTIST?
Under normal circumstances you should see your orthotist every 3 to 6 months.
Just because everything may seem to be in working order, it is important for the orthotist to monitor your progress.
CAN AN ORTHOSIS BE ADJUSTED FOR GROWTH?
Yes. In most cases an orthosis can be adjusted for growth.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD A BRACE BE REPLACED?
This depends on the age and activity level of the patient. Higher activity levels can lead to shorter "life" for the brace, as more activity generally means more wear. Additionally, younger patients need braces more often because they generally grow more quickly.
WHAT KIND OF SHOES SHOULD I WEAR WITH MY ORTHOSIS?
Athletic shoes typically work best, although most shoes can be worn as long as they comfortably fit both the brace and the foot. However, you must not change the height of the shoe as it will change the function of the brace.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE VELCRO STRAPS ON MY ORTHOSIS ARE DAMAGED OR NEED TO BE CHANGED?
Contact us immediately. Often, no appointment is needed for strap changes.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF THE FIT OR FUNCTION OF MY ORTHOSIS CHANGES?
You should contact us immediately and we will schedule an appointment for you to meet with the Orthotist.
CAN I PLAY SPORTS IN MY ORTHOSIS?
Yes, unless otherwise directed by your physician or orthotist.
IS IT NORMAL THAT MY SKIN IS RED AFTER I REMOVE MY ORTHOSIS?
Minimal redness is expected with orthosis. However, if you experience redness or irritation that lasts longer than 30 minutes after removing the brace, please contact us.
WHAT IS PROSTHETICS?
Prosthetics is the branch of medicine or surgery that deals with the production and application of artificial body parts.
WHAT IS A PROSTHESIS?
A Prosthesis is an artificial limb that replaces a missing body part lost through trauma, disease or congenital conditions.
WHAT DOES A PROSTHESIS LOOK LIKE? HOW WILL IT STAY ON?
Depending on the level of your amputation, physical ability and functional needs, each prosthesis will be somewhat different. If you desire a “cosmetic look,” prosthetic supplements are available. Most standard prostheses are comprised of conventional component parts attached to a socket that fits over your residual limb.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF FITTING MY PROSTHESIS?
As a new patient, you will usually meet our prosthetist for the first time while in the hospital following surgery. This is for consultation, to give you the opportunity to become familiar with the prosthetic process. All of the procedures you receive will be through prescription, ordered by a physician. The first item that is usually ordered for the new amputee is a compression sock usually referred to as a “shrinker”. The shrinker generally does two things; first, it helps to reduce the post-surgical edema, which will usually help with reducing pain and promote healing of the incision, and also helps to shape the limb to make it more conducive to being fit with an artificial limb, called a prosthesis. When you have sufficiently healed, per orders from your physician, the prosthetist will begin the process of providing you with an artificial limb.
The span of time varies from patient to patient. The first prosthesis you receive will be what is called a preparatory prosthesis. The purpose of this is to get you up and walking as soon as possible. A new amputee can usually expect the limb to go through a loss of volume in the initial period. Consequently, it is usual practice to fit you with a preparatory prosthesis to accommodate these changes as your limb stabilizes. For below the knee amputees, this period is usually 2 to 4 months.
For above knee amputees, this time period is usually from 3 to 6 months. When you’re limb has stabilized in volume, it is time to begin the fitting process over to achieve a more definitive fit for your permanent prosthesis, as we do not expect the limb to change in shape and volume at the rate it did initially.
During all these procedures it will be important that you have the necessary follow-up with the prescribing physician, as well as your prosthetist. It will be important that you receive the necessary therapy to help you to become successful in your rehabilitation.
HOW LONG WILL THE PROSTHESIS LAST?
The life of a prosthesis is determined by several factors including patient age, activity level and growth. Typically a prosthesis will last anywhere from several months to several years. In early stages after limb loss, many changes occur in the residual limb that can lead to shrinking of the limb. This may require socket changes, the addition of liners or possibly a different device.
Increased activity level and desire for additional function can necessitate a change in the prosthesis or its parts. Once you are comfortably adjusted and functioning at the desired level of activity, the prosthesis needs only minor maintenance and can last for an average of three
ONCE I AM FITTED AND FEEL COMFORTABLE IN ITS FUNCTION, WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?
Follow-up is important. Your limb will change. It is a living organism. It is important for you to schedule regular office visits to see your prosthetist. They will assess your changes and adapt to your new needs. Inform the prosthetist if the manufactured limb is uncomfortable, or red skin develops.
Ask questions about the things you want to do. Communicate honestly about your needs. After your few initial fittings, you should be meeting with your prosthetist every six months.
IS IT DIFFICULT LEARNING TO USE A PROSTHESIS?
Learning to use a prosthesis can be difficult, it takes time, great effort, strength, patience and perseverance. Best results are usually obtained working with a physical therapist while learning how to handle the new device. You will need guidance on how to: take care of the prosthesis, put on and take off the prosthesis, walk on different types of surfaces (including stairs and uneven terrain), safely handle emergencies like falling down and getting up again, perform daily activities at home, at work and even in a car and investigate new things such as sports and recreational activities.
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF DIABETIC SHOES?
Diabetic shoes are designed to prevent problems with the foot. They can accommodate for deformities as they often have more depth and width. They are seamless inside which helps in the prevention of skin irritation and wounds.
WILL MY NEW SHOES FIX MY PROBLEM?
It is possible that diabetic shoes will help with problems with the foot, however sometimes patients need other approaches to relieve pain, discomfort or deformity.
WHEN SHOULD I CHANGE MY INSERTS?
Diabetic inserts are designed to last for approximately four months. They are designated by the pink and white color and soft material. To be sure you have proper cushioning for an entire year, you will receive three sets of inserts.
WHEN WILL I NEED TO REPLACE MY SHOES?
Patients should replace their shoes every year.
IF I AM HAVING PROBLEMS WITH MY SHOE FIT, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Contact us and let us know what you are experiencing. We will make any adjustments or modifications if needed.
DO YOU NEED A PRESCRIPTION FOR FOOT ORTHOTICS?
Yes, all patients are required to have a prescriptions for foot orthotics. The physician must state on the prescription the reason for requiring foot orthotics.
ARE FOOT ORTHOTICS COMFORTABLE?
Foot orthotics should be comfortable. It may take time to adjust to the feeling. In some cases you may feel as if the heel of your foot is coming out of the back of your shoes. This can be reduced by properly tightening your shoes.
When you receive your foot orthotics, your practitioner will give you a weaning schedule. This is meant to reduce or eliminate your discomfort while you adjust to your new orthotics.