Orthotics and prosthetics is a specialized health care profession, which combines a unique blend of clinical and technical skills. Orthotists and prosthetists evaluate patients and custom design, fabricate and fit orthoses and prostheses. Orthotic patients have neuromuscular and musculoskeletal disorders, and prosthetic patients have a partial or total absence of a limb. Orthotists and prothetists give their patients the ability to lead more active and independent lives by working with other members of the rehabilitation team to create a treatment plan and custom device. This work requires substantial clinical and technical judgment.
The practice of orthotics and prosthetics has its history in the artisans and other skilled craftsmen of the past. Many of the development of the 20th century in both processions came out of the world wars and the polio epidemics of the 1950s. Today’s practitioners work in a variety of settings and use innovative materials and techniques to restore function and provide relief for many impairments.