Orthotists and Prosthetists

If you want a rewarding career in allied health care then explore the possibilities of becoming Orthotists and Prosthetists  (O&P). O&P professionals may work in both orthotics and prosthetics, or they may choose to specialize in one. Orthotists are specifically trained to work with medical supportive devices, such as braces and inserts. Prosthetists are specifically trained to work with prostheses, such as artificial limbs and other body parts.

Some O&P professionals may construct devices for their patients. Others supervise the construction of the orthotic or prosthetic devices by medical appliance technicians. Orthotics and Prosthetics specialists examine, evaluate, manufacture, and custom fit orthopedic devices and artificial limbs. These specialists are classified as allied health workers. Specialists in this field can find exciting opportunities as orthotics and prosthetics technicians, fitters, assistants, and pedorthists.

Role of Orthotists and Prosthetists

  • Evaluate and interview patients to understand their needs
  • Measure patients to design and fit medical devices
  • Develop orthopedic and prosthetic devices based on physicians' prescriptions
  • Take a mold of the part of the body, select material that will be fitted with a brace or artificial limb
  • Fit, test, and adjust devices on patients
  • Training and  instructions to patients for the use and care for their devices
  • Repair or update prosthetic and orthotic devices
  • Document care in patients' records
  • Reassessment of treatment objectives

Skills needed to be Orthotists and Prosthetists

Service Orientation: Actively looking for ways to help people.

Communication Skills:  Orthotists and prosthetists should  be able to communicate effectively with the technicians who create the medical devices and also  explain to the  patients how to use and care for the devices.

Accuracy:  Orthotists and prosthetists must be precise when recording measurements to ensure that devices are designed and fit properly.

Dexterity: Orthotists and prosthetists must be good at working with their hands. They may design orthotics or prosthetics with intricate mechanical parts.

Leadership Skills: Orthotists and prosthetists who work in their own offices must be effective leaders. They must be able to manage a staff of other professionals in their office.

Patience: Orthotists and prosthetists may work for long periods with patients who need special attention.

Problem-solving skills: Orthotists and prosthetists must evaluate their patients’ situations and often look for creative solutions to their rehabilitation needs.

Some Job Titles of Orthotists and Prosthetists

  • Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist (CPO)
  • Certified Prosthetist (CP)
  • Orthotist/Prosthetist
  • Orthotist, Certified Orthotist (CO)
  • Orthotic/Prosthetic Practitioner
  • Prosthetist
  • Licensed Prosthetist/Orthotist (LPO)
  • American Board Certified Orthotist (ABC Orthotist)
  • Licensed Certified Orthotist
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