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Learn More About the Various Uses of Orthosis

Orthotics is a term that is referring to the medical specialty which is concerned with the manufacture, application and the design of a device called as orthosis. This specific specialty of the medical field is basically a combination of other fields such as biomechanics, engineering, anatomy and physiology, and pathophysiology. Orthosis is the singular form for the said device, while its plural form is orthoses, and such device can be applied externally to the patient.

The primary purpose of its manufacture and design is to alter, change or modify the functional and the structural aspect of two systems of the body, namely the skeletal and the neuromuscular system. The various uses of the different types of orthoses is to reduce the weight bearing forces of the patient; to restrict movement in a specified direction; to assist the movement of the bones, joint, and muscles in a general manner; to limit the movement, immobilize, control or guide the movement of a body segment, joint and extremity for a specified reason; to correct the function and the shape of the patient’s body part; to provide the patient with an easier movement capability; to reduce the pain felt by the patient; and to aid rehabilitation from any fractures after a cast is removed. The common disorders or health conditions that can gain benefits from using orthoses are spina bifida, cerebral palsy, stroke, spinal cord injury, peripheral neuropathy, scoliosis, plantar fasciitis, polio, joint laxity or arthritis, and paralysis. The various materials that are commonly used in the production and design of orthoses are fabric, thermoplastics, carbon fiber, metals, elastic, and EVA or ethylene-vinyl acetate.

The orthoses are classified in three ways, namely the upper-limb orthoses, the spinal orthoses, and the lower-limb orthoses. Upper-limb is a term that refers to the upper extremities of a person, and the orthoses for the said body parts are designed either as a mechanical or an electromechanical device and this device is being applied to the arm or arm segments. The different examples of the upper-limb orthoses are the elbow orthoses, hand orthoses, forearm-wrist-hand orthoses, forearm-wrist orthoses, forearm-wrist-thumb orthoses, functional arm orthoses, arm orthoses, and clavicular and shoulder orthoses. The three common examples of the spinal orthoses are the Milwaukee brace, the Boston brace, and the Charleston bending brace; and this specific device is commonly used for the health condition, like spinal fractures and abnormal curvature of the spine called as scoliosis. Lower-limb is a term that refers to the lower extremities of a person, which includes the foot, ankle and knee. The different examples of the lower-limb orthoses are the ankle-foot orthosis, the foot orthoses, the KO or the knee orthosis, the prophylactic braces, and the KAFOs or the knee-ankle-foot orthosis.

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