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Doctors, physiotherapists, and orthotists often work together to improve their patient’s mobility-related ailments and disorders. An orthotist is a medical professional who provides, designs, and custom-fits orthosis devices for patients. They are trained to supply braces, splints, and supports of many different kinds.

An orthotist’s job is to support and better the function of existing limbs; they don’t deal with amputated limbs and artificial limbs. In the US, about 6000 trained and certified orthotists are currently working.

Out of these, only a tiny fraction are trained as pediatric orthotists and can cater to the needs of children needing orthosis devices. This article looks at how pediatric orthotists differ from general orthotists and how they can help your child.

What Does a Pediatric Orthotist Do?

Every child deserves the best care, especially in times of crisis. Pediatric orthotists are trained to deal with children and make orthosis devices to accommodate their malleable, energetic, and growing bodies. Correcting any deformity through the help of orthosis gear is a long road.

Your child’s orthotist will periodically check, tweak and change the equipment to support your child’s treatment. They might also need regular appointments for physical therapy to improve muscle function and gait.

As adults, patients can get fitted once and use the same orthosis gear for years or even decades. That’s not the case with children going through the critical initial years of growth. Since children’s bodies are still undergoing massive transitions, some disorders can be corrected without invasive intervention. A pediatric orthotist will have a better knowledge of bracing techniques and rectifying your child’s disorder.

Secondly, children suffering from a birth disorder, deformation of a limb, or accident are going through a tough emotional time. A professional specially trained in dealing with children can help your child better navigate this confusing time. Also, children are more likely to comply with at-home care directions of orthosis gear when they trust their care providers. 

Professional pediatric orthotists can help the child emotionally and improve his chances of recovery.

For some children, treatments start before they can talk and communicate. Pediatric orthotists are trained to understand the cues of these non-verbal children better. For example, identifying when the child is in pain or if the brace is uncomfortable or tight.

These skill sets make pediatric orthotists more capable of helping your child on his journey to complete recovery.

What Disorders Can a Pediatric Orthotist Help With?

Pediatric orthotists are trained to help young patients with many genetic, neuromuscular, and skeletal disorders. They also make braces for children hurt in accidents or with weakened limbs from other illnesses such as cancer. Here are some conditions that a pediatric orthotist can help your child with

  • Toe-walking
  • Hypotonia
  • In-toeing
  • Clubfoot
  • Hip Dysphagia
  • Tibial torsion
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Foot pronation
  • Foot supination
  • Plagiocephaly
  • Scoliosis
  • Spinal Bifida
  • Fractures
  • Contractures
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Leg and foot spasticity
  • Muscular Atrophy
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Post-surgical support
  • Foot or ankle mal-alignment
  • Severe metatarsus adductus

How Can a Pediatric Orthotist Help Your Child?

There are many benefits your child stands to gain from regular visits to the orthotist. Not only do they help your child, but they also guide you about the best practices to keep up the care at home. Here are some ways a pediatric orthotist can help support your child’s recovery:

Providing the Right Orthosis Equipment

Orthosis gear either comes pre-fabricated or is tailored to your child’s particular needs. An orthotist can best guide you in deciding which type of gear would suit your child. They will do a complete evaluation and order any tests and scans necessary before finalizing a brace. The brace will then be fitted to accommodate your child’s limb. In addition to bracing, rehabilitation or physiotherapy is also recommended in most cases.

Keeping Their Spirits Up

Your child’s orthotist has most likely dealt with children in circumstances similar to yours. That places them in a position to lend better support and encouragement by sharing success stories and other children’s experiences. Sometimes, being able to draw parallels with someone else makes a difficult phase a little easier and more relatable.

Helping Them Understand the Process

Children are visual learners. Quoting statistics and research may work for adults, but a different approach is needed when a child needs treatment, bracing, and physiotherapy. Going to the orthotist office after school instead of little league practice like all their peers is a difficult adjustment for a child.

Orthotists trained in dealing with pediatric cases can explain to your child why they need to wear the orthosis device, how it helps support their limb and how long they need treatment. Understanding the process can help make your child more compliant with receiving the care they need to rectify their ailment.

Supervising Progress

Orthosis devices need to be periodically monitored, and adjustments need to be made. Especially with children going through growth spurts or puberty. To ensure that the bracing supports their limb’s recovery correctly, your pediatric orthotist will schedule regular appointments. That allows them to keep track of your child’s progress and nip any potential complications in the bud.

Keeping the Parents in the Loop

The right information empowers you to make better decisions for your child. A vital job of pediatric orthotists is keeping parents updated about their child’s condition. They will guide you about

  • Duration of treatment
  • How to care for their equipment at home
  • How often to take your child for physiotherapy
  • Help your child on his journey towards full recovery
  • How to take off and put on the orthosis gear correctly

Help Your Child on The Journey Towards Full Recovery

As a parent, dealing with your child’s condition can be challenging. Align Clinic has experts who understand how hard the treatment phase can be on you and your child. Book an appointment with our expert orthotists today and receive the care your child deserves.