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.
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.
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!
Playing sports can be aggressive on your body due to rotational movements at high speeds. And thus, it leads to several injuries. That’s why orthotics have a significant role in sports rehabilitation.
The types of orthosis you receive in rehab range from simple immobilizer splints applied for a week to adjustable orthosis covering more than one joint. Almost all joints of your body, including the spine, require Orthotic treatment during recovery from a sports injury.
The primary goals for orthosis are to assist your body's healing process, protect you from further injury and restrict the range of motion of your joints.
Why Would You Need an Orthosis for Sport?
In case of a torn ligament or an unstable joint, an orthosis will restrict the motion of your body part within specified parameters. This restriction takes the load off of those body parts, allowing them to heal like in tennis elbow.
That is especially true for foot orthosis, which reduces stress fractures and overall injuries in aggressive sports. Orthosis and taping prevent excessive foot pronation (foot rolling inwards) during sports such as soccer and football.
Spinal braces help patients with scoliosis participate in different kinds of sports. This preventive measure reduces the worsening of your condition and prevents future injury. Using braces, especially Functional Foot Orthosis (FFO), improves balance and postural sway in patients recovering from an ankle injury or an unstable ankle.
When Are Sports Orthosis Prescribed?
Now that you know the different purposes of orthosis in sports rehabilitation. Let’s move on to when an orthosis is given to athletes.
Many times when there is a tear too small for surgery, your doctor or Orthotist will prescribe you a splint or a brace to stabilize the injury. That will give your body time to heal.
Athletes with shoulder instability wear a brace or an orthosis while undergoing other conservative treatment regimens to avoid surgery.
Post-op orthosis is quite common. As it helps restore the biomechanics of your body while supporting the weakened surrounding structures. You will often see athletes recovering from shoulder or knee surgery and sitting on the sidelines with an orthosis.
Protection from an orthosis is as essential for recovery as the surgery itself.
Your Orthotist can also prescribe an orthosis for continuous protection of your body structures. Some athletes wear an orthosis even while they play. That is for additional stabilization of a previously injured area.
It’s commonly seen in relatively older athletes who have suffered multiple injuries to the same region. Such as runners who need a lifelong customized shoe support orthosis due to overuse injuries or repetitive wrist injuries requiring splints or a brace.
Examples of Orthoses Use in Sports Rehabilitation Athletes can sustain injuries to almost any body part, but most commonly, they are in the joint areas. Orthoses are used for different regions from the shoulder down to the ankle.
Here are some examples of how sports rehabilitation and orthosis use are integrated.
Rotational injuries and rotator cuff tears are common in baseball and volleyball athletes. During their recovery, slings, functional orthosis, post-op orthosis, and others are used based on individual needs.
These help with stability and redistributing pressure while providing a limited range. Shoulder orthosis and immobilizers are also used to heal clavicle injuries and fractures.
The most common elbow problems in sports are overuse injuries. Golf and tennis players suffer them the most.
As a treatment for such a sports injury, you’ll receive a compression orthosis to relieve the pain by taking the pressure off of the inflamed space around the tendon.
Carpal tunnel syndrome and torn finger ligaments are seen in athletes who take impact directly on their hands, such as in basketball and gymnastics.
Splints and rigid orthosis are provided during their rehab because unnecessary movements on already affected structures can be significantly damaging.
The knee is by far the most commonly injured joint in sports. Athletes involved in sports from running to long jumping and everything in between regularly suffer from ACL tears, meniscus tears, and fractures.
There’re different orthoses for knee rehabilitation after sports injuries, including patella stabilizers, neoprene sleeves, immobilizers, and functional knee braces.
The ankle has many supporting structures around it and many ligaments. An injury to any one of these moving parts results in an unstable ankle. Ankle sprains and fractures are frequent in sports that require agility and swift change in positions such as basketball, football, and soccer.
Rolling your ankle can result in torn ligaments. A doctor will provide you with an orthosis to stabilize the joint and create a supportive environment to return to activity. These include rigid or dynamic AFOs, Supramalleolar Orthosis, and others.
Each sport comes with its challenges. Contact sports result in knee and shoulder injuries, whereas golfers and tennis players suffer many elbow problems.
Since orthosis is a device that improves function, provides support, and fixes alignment of the body structures, there is a significant role of orthoses in sports rehabilitation.
If you’re looking for a licensed and experienced Orthotist to help you with your rehab, then visit us at Align Clinic for a consultation. Our Orthotists have years of experience, and we can help you get back to playing the sport your love.
The first meeting with an Orthotist is an important one. It’s where you sit with the team to discuss the details of your orthosis. Since you’ll be coming back for many checkups after this initial meeting, it’s wise to get your most vital questions out of the way in the beginning.
There’re many questions you must ask when you first meet with the Orthotist. Such as how should I care for the orthosis? Can I shower with it? What clothing considerations do I have to think about? And so on.
Well, the good news is that your Orthotist will tell you about most of these things without you having to ask them. But still, it’s best to have a general idea of what you should discuss with your orthosis.
Here is a list of five such questions you should ask your Orthotists, based on our many years of clinical experience.
1. How Long Will the Adjustment Take?
Getting used to a new orthosis takes time. And if it’s your first time getting one fitted, then you should get an estimate of how long it’ll take until your body is adjusted to the device.
That is especially important for athletes and younger patients. Since their physical activity levels are above-average and the orthosis will cause some restrictions to their movements. But that does not mean that they can’t run around the playground or ride a bike because of it.
Many of our patients are active in different sports such as mountain biking, volleyball, and surfing, to name a few.
Nevertheless, have an open conversation with your Orthotist to get an idea of how long the adjustment period will be. And prepare accordingly.
Moreover, you should ask for a timeline for when you can potentially take off the orthosis for good (if your condition is temporary). Orthotist will look at your scans and manually assess you to create a prognosis.
2. How Much Will It Cost?
Most times, an off-the-shelf orthosis will fit your needs just fine, especially if you need it for a small amount of time, such as after an ACL tear or surgery.
A custom orthosis is more suitable for long-term orthosis, such as scoliosis or an AFO for your child.
Your Orthotist is the best judge of what kind of device is the best fit for you. Make sure you discuss co-pay options or your insurance packages with the Orthotist and factor that into the decision.
Cost is a significant factor that affects future care. So this question is vital for the long term.
Your Orthotist or the clinic may also guide you on alternative payment options.
3. How Does Bracing Work?
This question is essential for your peace of mind.
Your primary care physician may not be able to tell you in detail how an orthosis will help your condition.
But an Orthotist is a specialist dealing with the fitting of braces and other orthoses. They can explain to you exactly why you need it and how the device will work to improve your condition.
When you know how the orthosis works, you can better set your expectations.
A spinal brace is there to ensure the condition doesn’t worsen in some cases. And other treatments fix your scoliosis. Learning this information will make it easier for you to wear the brace despite some initial discomfort.
Knowing how the orthosis works are essential for you to understand your condition in detail.
If you want to know more about the purpose of an orthosis and how it works, then book a consultation with us. We have a team of certified Orthotists with years of experience ready to help you with your bracing needs.
4. How Long Will the Orthosis Last?
An Orthotist will either show you or discuss the different orthosis types during your visit. The orthoses come in various designs and other materials suitable for several purposes.
It’s wise to ask about the durability of each one. Some will wear out much quicker than others, depending on the environment, humidity levels and use.
You should ask about signs of damage to the orthosis, when you should come back for a new one, and how to care for it.
5. What Are the Possible Complications I Should Expect?
Even though every licensed Orthotist will tell you about the complications of the orthosis, you should still feel free to talk about your fears and clarify all your concerns.
Complications vary from person to person, depending on the type of orthosis, potential allergies, and many other factors.
Orthotists are trained to assess the risks and potential complications to employ preventive measures properly. They’re best equipped to answer your questions, no matter how specific they may be.
The five questions mentioned above will help you cover your bases. But there may be more questions that are personal to you.
For instance, if you have a busy schedule, you might want to ask about the average number of appointments so that you can make alternate arrangements.
You may want to ask for recommended support groups because the orthosis journey can become difficult.
The main point is that you use your first meeting with an Orthotist to learn about the steps involved in the fitting and training for the use of orthosis.
You can reach out to us at any one of our locations for a free expert consultation from our Orthotists.
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