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Starting your orthosis journey can leave you with many questions. The most important one of which is how do I find a great Orthotist? 

Although it may be convenient to go to the nearest or cheapest one, you should take your time to consider other factors before choosing your Orthotist. Such as how well they can understand your needs or how proficient they are at providing your specific treatment. 

There are some steps you can take to narrow down the list of Orthotists in your area. But eventually, you’ll have to visit a few Orthotists before committing to one. 

Here’re nine things to consider when looking for an Orthotist. 

1. Ask for Referrals
You should ask your trusted primary care physician which Orthotist they recommend. Word of mouth and online reviews on the clinic’s website, including yelp reviews, are also helpful in choosing an orthotic clinic.

Patients going through a similar situation as yours can give you insight into your particular situation based on their experiences. 

If there isn’t enough information available online about your clinician, then don’t worry. Many other factors will help you find a great Orthotist. ​

2. A Professional Setup 
Your Orthotist must have a proper office with all the necessary equipment. Waiting on your braces or facing delays because your Orthotist doesn’t have the setup to make your orthosis will be very irritating and disruptive to your recovery. 

An Orthotist who is professionally connected to others in the industry will provide you with easier access to specialist consultation outside of their field. 

3. Compassionate 
Your Orthotist should be compassionate and kind.  It’s easy to get desensitized to the pain of the patients and their feelings when you see them every day. But a great Orthotist is the one who can always empathize with you and offer you comfort when you need it. 

Your Orthotists’ good bedside manners will go a long way in helping you deal with the anxiety of orthosis fittings. 

4. Knowledgeable and Experienced
Competence and skill are essential qualities you should check in an Orthotist. Get a confirmation that your doctor has the proper license to practice. 

Usually, the clinics will tell you about the degrees and licenses of your Orthotists, so be sure to check their website or online profiles for your peace of mind. 

If an Orthotist regularly participates in research and conferences, then that’s a great sign because it means that he or she stays up-to-date with the advancements in the field.   

5. Friendly and Nurturing 
If you’re looking for an Orthotist for your kids, then this point becomes especially significant. Children have a hard enough time as it is dealing with orthosis, so having a doctor who’s kind and friendly to them will be a major advantage. 


6. A Good Communicator
You need an Orthotist who’s attentive to your needs and personal preferences. When you leave the clinic, all your questions should’ve been answered, and only an Orthotist who’s a good listener can do that for you. 

There’ll be questions that don’t even occur to you. 

A good Orthotist is proactive and will tell you about all the self-care processes and other precautions you need to take with your orthosis without you having to ask them. 

7. Portfolio of Similar Patients
The perfect Orthotist for you is the one who’s previously dealt with conditions similar to yours.  Some things come with experience, and an Orthotist with a background in your condition will be best equipped to treat it. 

If your Orthotist has an entire portfolio to show you with testimonials of satisfied patients, then that’s an excellent indicator that you’ve found a great Orthotist. 

He or she should also match your preferred treatment method. For example, if you prefer to cover your bases and do many tests in each visit, your Orthotist should understand that and be on the same page as you.  

Or if you appreciate an explanation for each new treatment method used, then your Orthotist should provide you with it. 

8. Cost Management
Since cost will play a central part in your orthotic journey, you need to find an Orthotist who’s in-network, which means that your insurance covers your visits with the Orthotist and the cost of the prescribed orthosis. 

Or, if you’re paying out of pocket and insurance is not a concern, check how many visits the entire process will take. And assess if their fees match the services they provide as compared to other clinics in your area. 

9. Give Them a Visit
Even after you gather all the data, such as license information, insurance coverage, referrals, and testimonials, you can’t make your decision unless you visit the clinic and get a feel for the place. 

You’ll likely have to visit your Orthotist quite a few times, so you need to feel comfortable at the clinic. 

Schedule a consultation and visit them to see for yourself what the clinic is like. You can also meet other patients there who might share their experiences with the Orthotist you’re considering.

Final Words 
Sometimes you can’t check off each item listed above, but you should spare no effort to match as many of these qualities as possible.

​The Orthotists at Align Clinic is some of the best in the field. And each one has the proper qualifications and experience to practice.

We operate clinics in three cities, including California and Texas. Reach out to us to book a consultation, and you’ll receive outstanding care from our special orthotics team at each of our locations! 

Does anyone in your life have an artificial limb? If not, have you ever met anyone with prosthetics? 
In the United States alone, doctors perform between 300 and 500 amputations every day. There’s a good chance that you’ve met numerous people with artificial limbs without even noticing it.

However, modern artificial limbs work so well and look so convincing that most people don’t even notice them. Thanks to the recent developments in prosthetics technology, people with disabilities can walk, run, and even swim as well as they did before losing a limb.

Today, we are going to see how state-of-the-art prosthetics work, what types of them are there, and see how you know when you need to consult a prosthetist.

The Different Types of Prosthetics
A prosthesis is an artificial device that replaces an impaired or a missing part of the human body. The replacement limb is there to substitute a part of the body a patient may have lost in war, in an accident, or that wasn’t there from birth.

Some prosthetic limbs are highly functional and replace the lost body part almost entirely. Others, however, are there for cosmetic purposes only and serve no higher functions. Artificial hands are usually made for cosmetic reasons.

Generally speaking, there are four groups of prosthetic limbs. They are divided into two categories.

Lower extremities

  • Transtibinal: A prosthetic leg that replaces the limb cut off below the knee, which attaches to the remaining part of the upper leg.
  • Transfemoral: A prosthetic leg that replaces the limb cut off above the knee, it attaches to the upper part of the thigh and includes an artificial knee.

Upper extremities

  • Transradial: A prosthetic forearm that replaces the limb cut off below the elbow that attaches just below the elbow and features a prosthetic wrist.
  • Transhumeral: A prosthetic arm that replaces a limb cut off below the shoulder and above the elbow, and includes a prosthetic elbow. 

How Prosthetic Limbs Work
A functional prosthetic limb is made of four parts: the limb itself, the socket that connects it to the body, the mechanism that attaches it, and the system that allows the patient to control it. Let’s take a look at each part individually and see how it works.

1. The Limb
The look of the prosthetic limb is dictated by the job it needs to do. The aforementioned cosmetic prosthetic limbs are there for appearance, which means they don’t need to be mobile too much.

Prosthetic legs, on the other hand, are there to substitute a major structural part of your body. They need to bear someone’s weight and allow them to walk normally. Both prosthetic legs and arms are made out of lightweight and durable materials like carbon fiber.

2. The Socket
Since the amputee will wear the prosthetic throughout the day, it needs to be as comfortable as possible. The connecting part of the artificial limb is more commonly known as the socket. The prosthetic makers mold the socket carefully around the cast taken from the amputee’s residual limb.

The socket needs to fit the residual limb precisely if the manufacturer wants the wearer to be completely comfortable. The socket may require some tweaks after a few years since most residual limbs go through some changes.

3. The Attachment
A prosthetic arm or leg needs to be secured to the residual limb by a strong attachment system. The attachment can come in a form of the suction socket, elastic, rubber sleeve, or a strap and harness system.

The system is also important to one’s comfort, however, it plays another major role. It ensures that the patient can properly control the mechanical limb. The socket can be part of the attachment system too. A leg socket, for instance, may have a large plastic case, in which the amputee inserts their leg.

4. The Controls
A healthy limb is pulled by muscles and tendons, and managed by the brain. A simple prosthetic limb is operated by a system of cables that runs through it. These cables do the same job as the muscles do in a healthy limb.

Hollow artificial legs work mainly through gravity and it’s up to the person wearing them to learn how to operate them properly. There are also sophisticated prosthetics, which are powered by batteries and operated by remote control.

How Do You Know When You Need Prosthetics?
There are a few things you need to discuss with your doctor and consult a prosthetician about before getting a prosthetic leg:

  • How much pain are you experiencing on a daily basis?
  • What’s your skin condition around the limb?
  • Does the area have enough soft tissue around it?
  • What’s the motion range of your residual limb?
  • Is the other limb 100% healthy and mobile?
  • Before the amputation, how active were you?
  • What goals do you have for your prosthetic limb?  

The Costs of Losing a Limb
Another thing you need to be aware of is the cost of losing a limb. As data gathered by BioTech shows, over a lifetime, a person that lost a limb will spend almost $510k on medical bills and healthcare. On average, an amputee will spend $150k more on hospital bills than a regular person.

Back in 2013, healthcare charges for people that underwent a limb removal procedure reached $8.7 billion. Considering that the number of amputations has remained relatively the same, it’s safe to say that healthcare spending remained similar.

Final Thoughts
Losing a limb is hard both on your wallet and on your psyche. Going through this experience is certainly life-changing. 

However, it isn’t life-ending.

When something like that happens, it’s only the beginning of a new phase of life. With perseverance, a person that lost a limb regain independence and live a normal life in a matter of months. 

Get in touch with our San Francisco prosthetic orthotic service

Make sure you consult a prosthetist certified by the American Academy of orthotics and Prosthetists.