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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Orthotics

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About us

What is orthotics?

Orthotics is the design, fabrication and fitting of devices that provide external support or assist weak or abnormal joints and/or muscle groups. Musculoskeletal disorders, joint weakness, back problems, or the inability of any joint or muscle group to function correctly, can greatly decrease an individual's quality of life and mobility. These problems can be caused by congenital factors such as cerebral palsy, traumatic injury or chronic conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, sports injuries and degenerative disease.

What is an orthotist?

An orthotist (pron: ortho-tist) is an allied health professional. The orthotist's role is to assess, prescribe, apply and provide education regarding the use and care of an appropriate orthosis that serves the individual's requirements.

What is an orthosis?

An orthosis is an external brace or appliance that is designed and fitted to the body to achieve one or more of the following goals:

  • control biomechanical alignment
  • protect
  • assist rehabilitation
  • reduce pain
  • increase mobility
  • increase independence.

Commonly prescribed orthoses include:

  • foot orthoses
  • footwear
  • ankle foot orthoses (AFO)
  • knee ankle foot orthoses (KAFO), and
  • spinal orthoses.

An orthosis may be worn temporarily until a weakness or injury is overcome, or on a permanent basis to facilitate impaired function due to a congenital or degenerative condition. There are a wide variety of prefabricated and custom made orthoses used for conservative management of conditions.

Most orthoses for our patients are manufactured on site in the Tebbit Building at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre (NOC).