Orthotic and prosthetic specialists design, build, and fit orthopedic braces, surgical supports, and artificial limbs.
Orthotists and prosthetists design, build, and fit:
- Corrective shoes
- Surgical supports
- Replacement limbs
Orthotists and prosthetists often work with doctors to help decide on appliances and prescriptions. They read and review prescriptions from doctors. They examine patients, taking measurements of the affected parts of the body.
They may make plaster casts directly from the patient's body to be sure the devices fit comfortably. They use measurements to make models and layouts.
Orthotists and prosthetists may send their designs to assistants or technicians to build the product. Some build the appliances themselves out of materials such as wood, plastic, and composite metals. They form, saw, mold, shape, grind, polish, buff, and sew components together.
When devices are ready, orthotists and prosthetists work with patients to fit, test, and evaluate them. They make sure the fit is good and all the parts are working properly. They make adjustments and changes to improve the fit.
Orthotic and prosthetic specialists show patients how to use their appliances. They counsel patients to help them gain confidence.
Orthotic and prosthetic specialists research new designs, materials, and technologies. They discuss designs with patients and coworkers. They teach student doctors, assistants, technicians, and rehabilitation counselors about orthoses and prostheses.
To update their skills, orthotic and prosthetic specialists attend conferences and seminars. They write and publish their findings. They sometimes present their findings to their colleagues.