Orthotics Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
General orthotics questions
What is orthotics?
Orthotics is a specialty in the medical field that focuses on applying and designing orthoses. Also, ortho from greek means to straighten or align. Our Certified Orthotists specialize in orthotics to also provide you with the best orthoses for your situation.
What is an orthosis?
An orthosis is a term for a medical device that is applied externally to help the user with one or more various issues. These include reducing pain, increasing mobility, protecting an injury, supporting a disability, and ensuring the area is properly aligned. These devices may also be known as a brace or an orthotic.
What does an orthotist do?
An Orthotist is a professional in healthcare that provides orthoses. They also fit orthoses to injured, unstable or any body part that needs support. They also align orthotics to make sure they fit you properly. Also, an Orthotist creates custom-fit and designed braces and splints. A doctor will prescribe an orthotic which you will then bring to an Orthotist.
You may have seen across the site that all our Orthotists have certificates. What does one need to be a Certified Orthotist and provide the best care? A Certified Orthotist in Canada needs a certification from the Canadian Board for Certification of Prosthetists and Orthotists (CBCPO). Also, Orthotics Prosthetics Canada (OPC) is the organization that offers this certification. You can find more about the requirements here.
When is an orthosis useful?
An orthosis is often prescribed by a doctor for your needs. If you have some sort of physical deformity, post-surgery, to help with an injury, arthritis, or other conditions an orthosis can be helpful with your condition.
Do I still need to rehabilitation exercises if I get an orthotic?
If you have been recommended exercise to help with your rehabilitation, you should also do your exercises after you get your orthosis. An orthosis will help support the area and help with the healing process. But it is just a part of the healing process and rehabilitation exercise will help improve your range of motion and the healing process if used with the orthosis.
How long can I wear my orthotic?
Depending on the orthotic, how long you wear it each day or how many days you wear the orthotic will vary depending on where it is. Our certified Orthotists are here to help you understand your orthosis, contact us today if you need assistance.
How do I take care of my orthosis?
It is important to keep your orthosis clean and in working order. Depending on the type of orthotic you have, these instructions may change but in general, follow these instructions if you are able.
- Rinse the orthotic
- Using gentle dish soap, rub every part of the orthotic with the soap
- Rinse the soap off
- Dry the orthotic off with a towel
Knee brace questions
How does a knee brace help me?
A knee brace is an orthosis that is used to stabilize, support and relieve pressure from the knee. A knee brace is also used for a wide range of conditions. This includes injuries, osteoarthritis, post-surgery and more.
Does the type of knee brace matter?
Yes, there are four main types of knee braces.
- These braces are used to relieve pressure from the knee. They are also useful for people with osteoarthritis as they will help unload the weight from the more damaged part of the knee to the less damaged part.
- These braces are used to help the recovery process post-injury or post-surgery. They limit movement to the knee while healing and also support the knee and alleviate pain.
- These are used to support the MCL in the knee. They also help prevent the ligaments from being damaged.
- A knee brace that is useful for ACL injuries. They are also useful for minor PCL and MCL instability.
Can I still run with a knee brace?
Absolutely. Contact your doctor first to know if you should run with the brace. But, a brace is a good option for runners to help support the impact the knees take while running. They also can help prolong the health of knees by stabilizing and supporting the knee.
When should I wear my knee brace?
It is a good idea to wear your brace whenever you are doing when recommended by a doctor or doing physical activities. This could be sports, walking, running, and also any time you have pain in your knees. If you have a knee brace for an injury or also post-surgery, you should wear your brace at the start of the healing process and then talk to an Orthotist or your doctor to know how long you should wear the device.
How long do I need to wear the knee brace?
It depends on the type of knee brace you have, for example, if you have a rehabilitative knee brace, you should wear it until your injury or the surgery has healed. For a meniscus injury, It generally takes six weeks for the meniscus to heal post-surgery. Also, a knee brace is a good tool if you doing physical activity.
Wrist hand orthotics questions
What types of wrist hand orthotics are there?
There are a few different types of wrist orthotics:
- Wrist braces: These braces allow for a limited range of movement and is useful to wear during the day and it also provides support.
- Compression sleeves: Allows for a full range of movement while compressing the wrist. The compression supports the wrist and relieves pain caused by carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, swelling and poor circulation.
- Immobilizers: Also called splints. These hold the wrist in place and provide support to the wrist. They are used at night for carpal tunnel syndrome and also other conditions such as arthritis. They are also often used post-surgery.
- Thumb braces: Used to support a thumb that is injured, weak or unstable.
How do wrist orthotics help with carpal tunnel syndrome?
Wrist orthotics can help alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome by keeping the wrist in a neutral position and reducing pressure on the median nerve. This can help reduce inflammation and swelling and improve blood flow to the affected area. Wrist orthotics can also help to prevent the condition from getting worse and aid in the recovery process. Wearing an immobilizer orthotic while sleeping is useful because at night we tend to bend our wrists which can put pressure on the median nerve. Compression sleeves are also quite useful to help alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome while also allowing a full range of motion.
How long should I wear my wrist brace for carpal tunnel syndrome?
The length of time that you should wear your wrist orthotic for carpal tunnel syndrome will depend on the severity of your condition and your individual recovery. Generally, it is recommended to wear the orthotic for as long as it takes to alleviate symptoms, which can range from a few hours a day to 24 hours a day. It is important to note that a wrist orthotic should not be worn for an extended period of time without rest as it may cause further damage. It’s best to consult with your doctor or our certified Orthortists about the specific duration and how often you should wear it. It’s also important to monitor your symptoms, as the orthotic may need to be adjusted or worn for a different duration as your condition improves.
What symptoms do wrist orthotics help treat?
Wrist orthotics can help alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome, such as pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness in the hand and wrist. They can also be used to help treat other conditions such as arthritis, tendonitis, and repetitive strain injuries. Wrist orthotics are often used after surgery, to protect or support an injury or help support a weakened wrist also. If you have any questions about if a wrist brace is right for you, contact us and we will be glad to help.
Back brace questions
What types of back braces are there?
There are a few different types of back braces:
- Flexible: Made of a soft and elastic material these braces allow for more range of movement. They provide support and relieve pressure while also shifting the weight from the spinal column.
- Semi-rigid: These braces use a rigid panel covered in a soft material to support the back and limit movement more than a flexible brace. Semi-rigid braces will incorporate some flexible parts into the brace. They also provide more support than a flexible brace and are used when you need more support.
- Rigid: Rigid braces are similar to semi-rigid braces except they do not incorporate the flexible elements of the semi-rigid brace. These devices are sometimes custom-made. Our certified Orthotists will measure and design the brace to fit you.
What conditions do back braces help treat?
Back braces such as a Thoracolumbosacral (TLSO) are used to treat a variety of conditions, including herniated discs, scoliosis, and spinal stenosis. They can also be used to provide support and stability to the back during recovery from injury or surgery.
Can I still exercise while wearing a back brace?
In some cases, you can use a device to exercise and also do sports. It is a case-by-case basis and also depends on the severity of the condition. Some back braces, for example, flexible back braces, are designed specifically for exercise and activity. Other braces are meant to be worn during periods of rest and limited movement. Consult with a doctor or physical therapist before beginning any exercise routine while wearing a back brace.
How long should you wear a back brace?
The length a back brace should be worn depends on the condition and also will depend on the individual being treated. Consult a doctor or physical therapist to know how long to wear the brace, as well as any other instructions on how to properly use the device.
Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) questions
How does an AFO help with foot drop?
Foot drop or drop foot is a condition that can happen as a result of a stroke, nerve injury, neurological disorders or muscle disorders. It is a condition that makes lifting the front of the foot difficult. This can then mean that your foot will drag while walking. Foot drop can be temporary or permanent.
Foot drop is the inability to raise part of your feet. The way a foot drop brace such as an ankle foot orthotic can help is by limiting how much the foot can move. As a result, an ankle foot orthosis helps with foot drop by limiting the dorsiflexion/plantar flexion of the ankle. In other words, an AFO brace worn on your lower leg prevents how much the ankle can move up and down. Also, the ankle foot orthosis stops the foot from dropping while during the swing phase when taking a step. The brace also encourages the foot to strike the ground on the heel. This helps improve your gait by reducing how much the foot deviates.
Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) questions
What is a KAFO?
Similar to an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO), Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis (KAFO) attaches above the knee, below the knee and around the foot. Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis is used to improve the symptoms of a wide range of conditions and injuries, with the main use of them being to help with muscle weakness or paralysis.
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WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR FIRST VISIT
Your First Visit
Please plan to come 10-15 minutes before your appointment time to complete necessary forms. Want to save time? Print and then complete the form below.
Meeting your Specialist
Your first appointment will include an initial assessment and also a chance to meet your specialist and ask questions.
If you have a prescription from your doctor, be sure to bring it with you.
Be prepared to discuss your medical history and also talk about your goals and expectations. We will also complete a physical assessment and try out a variety of orthotics to see what best meets your needs.
Please dress comfortably and bring shorts. We may need to measure, cast or use 3D-scanning to customize your fit and maximize comfort.
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