An orthosis, is an external medical device designed to stabilize, immobilize, prevent deformity, protect against injury, or assist with the function of a body part.
An orthotist, is a trained and highly skilled professional that designs, fabricates, and fits orthotic devices.
The orthotist works with a team of assistants and technicians to make and fit the most appropriate device.
How an orthosis is made
First, a mold or cast impression is made of the patient’s body part that requires the orthosis, most often a leg or a foot. Measurements are taken of that area, and a mold is created to look like that body part.
Heating the plastic
An orthotic technician prepares a sheet of plastic (usually a material called polypropylene). This plastic is cut from a large sheet into a smaller sheet that is appropriately sized for the patient’s limb and then placed in an oven at 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit and heated for 20 minutes.
Molding the plastic
Once the plastic has reached the optimal temperature, the rigid sheet is now moldable and ready to be formed.
The technician carefully removes the plastic from the oven and transports the cooling plastic to a vacuum station.
The plastic is molded around the plaster shape and placed under constant vacuum where it will cool for 2 hours under the vacuum suctioning.
It will remain there on the mold for an additional 8 hours.
After 8 hours the plastic will be cut off of the mold and the edges carefully smoothed and rounded, and components like Velcro straps, ankle joints and other things will be added to complete the plastic orthosis.
Fitting the patient
Once complete, it is fitted to the patient, edges are rounded again, pressure points are padded, and areas are cut out to make the device as comfortable and as functional for the patient as possible.
Some devices can be customized with colors and patterns in the plastic to make them more unique for the personality of the patient.
To make an appointment
Please call our office at: (909) 558-6272
Loma Linda Ambulatory Services Building
11406 Loma Linda Dr.
Loma Linda, Ca 92354
Please come to the North Entrance