Orthotics and prosthetics: what’s the difference?

1 June 2020 Orthopedy
Orthotics and prosthetics: what’s the difference?

Orthotics and prosthetics are both designed to support you on a daily basis. However, they do not provide support in the same way. 

An orthotic compensates, supports and corrects a biomechanical deficiency or a postural problem. A prosthetic, on the other hand, replaces a missing limb of your body. 

In podiatry, plantar or podiatric orthotics are frequently used to treat or improve the function of your feet and legs. However, when it comes to foot prosthetics, a consultation with a prosthetist is necessary. 
Find out how PiedRéseau podiatrists can help you find the ideal appliance to relieve foot pain.

Plantar orthotics

A custom-made plantar orthotic perfectly adjusts to the morphology of your foot. It can be flexible, semi-flexible or rigid.

Comfortable and discreet, the plantar orthotic is easily inserted into shoes and can correct many pathologies:

Many pains, deformities or postural problems can be resolved by custom-made foot orthotics. The podiatrist will make the right diagnosis and develop the right treatment plan to meet your needs. 

In this way, all patients who work with a podiatrist can profit from the benefits of a foot orthotic:

● Athletes

● Children

● Diabetics

● Seniors 

● Professionals

How the podiatrist is involved in the design of your orthotic

The podiatrist uses state-of-the-art technology to accurately assess your condition. They can also design, prescribe, repair and replace your foot orthotics. 

Here’s how this health care professional ensures that patients receive the best orthotics: 

● They perform a biomechanical evaluation of your feet. 

● They make a cast of your foot.

● They evaluate your posture.

● They determine the pressure points on your feet.

● They use imaging to make sure their prognosis is correct.

Foot prosthetics

Custom-made prosthetic devices are suitable for people whose foot has been amputated, either completely or partially. 

Foot amputation is a difficult event for many patients. However, the foot prosthetics help these people regain their quality of life. 

In podiatry, amputation is a last resort solution in exceptional situations where the pathology has escalated to too great an extent. It is performed by surgical podiatrists, only on the feet. If the amputation involves more than the foot, an orthopaedic surgeon will perform the operation.

Among the causes of amputation is the diabetic foot left untreated for too long. Some toe deformities can also become so severe that partial amputation becomes the only option. 

Thus, foot prosthetics are used to treat many situations:

● Toe amputation 

● Foot amputation 

● Tibial amputation 

● Transmetatarsal amputation

● Transfemoral amputation 

● Amputation of the foot bunion 

● Metatarsophalangeal amputation

● Knee deformity 

● Disarticulated knee

When the podiatric or orthopedic surgeon must resort to amputation, they will recommend the services of a prosthetist certified by the Association des orthésistes prothésistes du Québec (AOPQ). Thanks to this professional, you will be able to maintain the same routine and the same level of autonomy as before. 

There are several types of foot prosthetics: 

● Forefoot prosthetic devices 

● Tibial prosthetics (from the tibia to the foot)

● Femoral prosthetics (from the femur to the foot)

The prosthetic foot: designed for all realities

Foot prosthetic devices are aesthetic, comfortable and discreet. They also come in a variety of shapes, depending on your needs. 
Indeed, prosthetists can manufacture them, incorporating various levels of rigidity and flexibility. These prosthetics thus succeed in reproducing the natural movement of the foot. This allows them to be used by active people, such as athletes. Models for children or the elderly are also available.

PiedRéseau: the reference in foot orthotics

PiedRéseau regroups some forty podiatric clinics across the province of Quebec.

Our podiatrists specialize in the design of custom foot orthotics. PiedRéseau clinics have all the state-of-the-art equipment at their disposal to provide you with orthotics that are tailored to your needs. 

Our team can also recommend qualified prosthetists for your foot prosthetics. 
Visit a PiedRéseau clinic near you to benefit from the best treatment and follow-up for your orthotics.

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