Grand Rapids – Orthotics and Prosthetics

One of the questions that people who work with Grand Rapids orthotics and prosthetics get all of the time involves the primary differences between orthotics and prosthetics. For people who do not have contact with these kinds of devices on a regular basis, the terms can seem confusing. Each of these medical devices serves a very important purpose for the people that use them. But they are very different in their purpose and they are used for very different reasons. When you understand the difference between orthotics and prosthetics, you are better able to discuss any options with your doctor if the topic ever comes up.

An orthoses is a brace that rectifies or supports an existing musculoskeletal abnormality. These kinds of devices either help correct a deformity in the human body, or help to compensate for some sort of medical issue. “Orthotic” is the term commonly used when referring to a foot orthoses, for example, if one of your legs is slightly shorter than the other then you can get an orthotic device to put in your shoe and correct the difference. A more elementary example of an orthotic device is a cushioned insole that you put in your shoe to relieve back pain. A common example of an orthoses is a special helmet called a cranial remolding orthoses, which is worn by babies to correct head shape deformities. Orthotics can even be used to correct conditions such as a curved spine or a damaged hip. Some orthotic devices like shoe inserts can be purchased over the counter while custom orthoses that are created specifically for the patient must by procured by an orthotics professional.

A prosthetic is used as a replacement for a missing limb or extremity. A Grand Rapids prosthetist professional may fit someone who is missing a leg with a leg prosthesis to allow that person to regain mobility, or an amputee missing an arm with an artificial arm complete with a hand that is capable of grabbing objects. Prosthetics are not just limited to limbs, there are also prosthetic eyes, teeth and heart valves. Technological advancements have allowed prosthetics to continue to become lighter, stronger and more useful. At Teter Orthotics and Prosthetics we are able to provide our clients with very capable prosthetic limbs, including a leg prosthesis created specifically for swimming or skiing.

You can learn about the other advances that medical science is offering for these devices when you visit us at our Grand Rapids office or one of our other 19 Michigan locations