Orthotists and prosthetists design and fabricate medical supportive devices and measure and fit patients for them. These devices include artificial limbs (arms, hands, legs, and feet), braces, and other medical or surgical devices.
Orthotists and prosthetists typically do the following:
Evaluate and interview patients to determine their needs
Take measurements or impressions of the part of a patient's body that will be fitted with a brace or artificial limb
Design and fabricate orthopedic and prosthetic devices based on physicians' prescriptions
Select materials to be used for the orthotic or prosthetic device
Instruct patients in how to use and care for their devices
Adjust, repair, or replace prosthetic and orthotic devices
Document care in patients' records
Orthotists and prosthetists may work in both orthotics and prosthetics, or they may choose to specialize in one area. Orthotists are specifically trained to work with medical supportive devices, such as spinal or knee braces. Prosthetists are specifically trained to work with prostheses, such as artificial limbs and other body parts.
Some orthotists and prosthetists construct devices for their patients. Others supervise the construction of the orthotic or prosthetic devices by medical appliance technicians.