Prosthetics and Orthotics Expertise
Prosthetists and orthotists are Health Professions Council (HPC)-registered paramedical clinicians working primarily in a rehabilitation setting. They are often qualified in both prosthetics and orthotics, but mostly practice in only one of the fields. The main aim of prosthetic or orthotic interventions is to improve mobility, function and sometimes appearance of the damaged body part. The desired outcome is to enhance the independence, confidence and quality of life for the patient.
The prosthetist is concerned with the replacement of a patient’s limb with a prosthesis following amputation or congenital limb absence. This includes establishing the specification of the prosthesis based on factors such as body weight and intended use, as well as designing the ‘socket’ which is the bespoke element that fits to the amputated body part. Prosthetists also fit the prosthesis and align it to optimise the way it interacts with the body in use. There may be times when more than one prosthesis is indicated to ensure that an individual can undertake a variety of activities without restrictions.
The orthotist creates an orthosis which provides support to parts of a patient’s body to compensate for paralysed muscles, provide relief from pain or prevent orthopaedic deformities from progressing. Orthotic devices range from simple shoe insoles supporting a collapsed foot arch, to reciprocating gait orthoses that will enable a person with lower limb paralysis to stand and walk a short distance.
When might you use one?
Prosthetists/orthotists work best within a multidisciplinary team, often together with a consultant in rehabilitation medicine, physiotherapist, occupational therapist and psychologist or counsellor.
In a medico-legal setting, prosthetists and orthotists often provide reports indicating long-term needs of prosthetic and orthotic equipment, together with associated costs which are widely used in quantum calculations.
HPC Registered Prosthetist/Orthotist (4-year Degree)