My child’s doctor mentioned orthotics. What are the different types and what do they do?

Orthotics are medical devices usually made from a type of sturdy plastic or/and fabric, that can be worn on the foot, leg, arm/wrist, neck, or back. Orthotics are made to help align and support a part of the body and can help prevent deformity or misshapen positions. They can also help that body part function and in a more optimal way. Orthotics are made by certified orthotists however physical therapists or doctors make the recommendation for your child’s orthotics. For children, these orthotics are usually custom made to fit only your child. Because children grow quickly, your child will typically need to be measured again in 6 months to get new orthotics to make sure that the fit is always appropriate and not too small or too tight. Here are a few types of orthotics:

-Arch support/Foot orthotic/Shoe insert- Used to support the heel, arch, and long bones of the toes. (pictures in Google doc)

- SMOs (Supra Malleolar Orthotics): Used to support the lower ankle bones, heel, arch and the entire length of the toes.

-AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthotics): Used to support the calf, entire ankle, heel, arch and toes.

- Knee orthosis: Used to help keep the knee straight when standing or help bend the knee.

- Hip Orthosis: Used to help keep the hip joints in an optimal position for development and growth

-Hip Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis (HKAFO): Used to support the entire leg in a standing position.

- TLSO (Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis): Used to keep the spine and trunk aligned straight and to limit curving of the spine (scoliosis)

-Dynamic Soft Trunk Orthosis: Used to support the trunk with fabric “compression” but is soft allowing the trunk to move easily

- Dynamic Functional Arm Orthosis: Helps with movement of weak muscles in the arm, usually the elbow, allowing for more function and movement on one side.

- Wrist/Hand Orthosis/Hand Splints- Covers the wrist and palm and occasionally the fingers to support the joint and help with opening, closing and holding toys. These are usually recommended with the help of an Occupational Thearapist Chandi Edmonds, PT, DPT, PCS Pediatric Certified Specialist Physical Therapist

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