Orthotics refers generally speaking to the health field dealing with the prescription, making of and application of devices for the purposes of modifying the structure and functioning of the muscles and bones.  The word orthotics is based on the Greek word ‘orthos’ which means to straighten or correct.  Orthotists usually work with other health professionals to prescribe specific braces or splints for stabilization, surgery, structural improvement and injury rehabilitation.  Devices can include knee braces, cervical collars, spinal braces, helmets, foot orthotics, and hand or wrist splints.

World War I & II stimulated the need to improve prostheses.  Injured veterans were faced with function problems and this spurred the research and development of orthotic devices.   Then in the 1960’s new materials were being created like thermoplastics which could be heated and molded.  This was advantageous in the making of foot devices and paved the way for real growth in orthotic research, prescription and manufacture.  Today there is a wide variety of orthoses to support the body structure, to improve gait and reduce pain or other issues.                                       

Custom orthotic manufacturers who do biomechanical assessments and actually make the foot orthotic in-house.  There are podiatrists who consult with clients and provide gait and structure assessments then prepare plaster foot casts for the off-site manufacture of custom orthotics.   Also, there are orthotists who provide orthopedic and sports bracing to individuals of all ages with disabilities and injuries.

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