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Definition and explanation of terms:
Orthosis (plural: orthoses) is "an externally applied device used to modify the structural and functional characteristics of the neuromuscular and skeletal system".
Also known as: brace, splint, support, surgical appliance, truss.
An orthosis may be used to:
Restrict movement in a given direction
Assist movement generally
Reduce weight bearing forces for a particular purpose
Otherwise correct the shape and/or function of the body, to provide easier movement capability or reduce pain
Equally, orthoses are sometimes used prophylactically or to optimise performance in sport.
Orthotics ( from Greek: Ορθός, ortho, literal translation 'to straighten, to align') is a medical speciality that focuses on the design and application of orthoses.
Orthotic is a term that is often used to describe a device that is worn within footwear, which alters the way that pressures and forces effect the foot and leg during walking and running. This is a form of orthosis, correctly called a Functional Foot Orthosis (FFO) or insole.
An Orthotist, as defined by The World Health Organization, is a healthcare professional with overall responsibly of Orthotics treatment. They are clinicians trained to assess the needs of the user, prescribe treatment, determine the precise technical specifications of Orthosis, take measurements and image of body segments, prepare model of the evaluation, fit devices and evaluate treatment outcome.
An orthotist combines knowledge of anatomy and physiology, pathophysiology, biomechanics and engineering to improve the alignment and function of the body, primarily reducing pain, discomfort, and reducing further damage or injury to the body.
An orthotist is the primary medical clinician responsible for the prescription, manufacture and management of orthoses. In the U.K., orthotists will often accept open referrals for orthotic assessment without a specific prescription from doctors or other healthcare professionals.