What is Prosthetics?
Prosthetics and Orthotics is a dynamic and expanding allied health science profession. Technically, Prosthetics and Orthotics are separate disciplines, but their common goals in rehabilitation unite them into one cooperative entity.
Prosthetics involves the use of artificial limbs (prostheses) to enhance the function and lifestyle of persons with limb loss. The prosthesis must be a unique combination of appropriate materials, alignment, design, and construction to match the functional needs of the individual. These needs are complex and vary for upper and lower extremities. Lower limb prostheses might address stability in standing and walking, shock absorption, energy storage and return, cosmetic appearance, and even extraordinary functional needs associated with running, jumping, and other athletic activities. Upper limb prostheses might address reaching and grasping, specific occupational challenges such as hammering, painting, or weight lifting, and activities of daily living such as eating, writing, and dressing.
A Prosthetist is a health care professional who is responsible for the care of an individual with partial or total absence of a limb. They are responsible for:
- Assessing the needs of the prosthetic user.
- Selecting the most appropriate type of prosthesis.
- Capturing the data required to fabricate a prosthesis, including all necessary moulds and measurements.
- Fitting and aligning prostheses to the user’s specific requirements.
- Educating the user on care and wear of their prosthesis.
- Reviewing the user and maintaining the prosthesis.