Othosis is a field of medicine that deals with application of external devices to the skeletal system or neuromuscular system to help improve their structure and the functional characteristics. Orthotics is the devices which are used to achieve this end. Essentially orthosis combines the disciplines of anatomy, biomechanics, physiology and engineering. Although this field has experienced tremendous development in the recent times, the field itself has been there since centuries. Originally twigs, wood and metal etc. Were used as the material out of which orthotic devices were made. However, with the advent of plastic, orthosis became a much more popular and possible way of getting these structural corrections done.
Orthotics is generally classified based on which body part is being benefited. For example, the ankle foot orthotics also known as AFO is used for correcting the feet. These foot orthotics are specially designed so that they provide sufficient support to the foot. The orthotics help in distribution of pressure on the feet or even realigning the foot joints when a person chooses to walk, stand or run. Orthotics that is used for the feet as observed also has a positive effect on the user’s hip, knee and spine areas.
The orthotics Known as AFO (Ankle foot orthosis), this device is a brace that is externally cast on the ankle-foot region. This device is meant to control the movement of the ankle, help in coping with weakness in this region and also help in correcting any deformity in this region. These orthotics are very useful when a person fractures his ankle or when one is suffering from arthritis. Manufactured from lightweight plastic, it is an L- shaped fixture which is provided with straps to cast on to the leg.
This orthosis covers the entire leg. KAFO (Knee-ankle-foot orthotics) is useful in limiting motion, stopping motion and helping in motion. In a KAFO, the material used for fabrication can be metal, plastic, leather etc. The hinges which are used can be controlled either mechanically or electrically.
Many athletes use orthotics such as Prophylactic braces in games like football, basketball etc. where there is contact. These braces help in resisting ligament tear in specific regions. Athletes know that foot orthotics helps in increasing the strength, endurance and the abilities to perform. In high impact sports, individuals who have suffered from running injuries, sprains etc. can benefit from sports orthotics. Physiotherapists, podiatrists etc. across the world recommend these for realignment of feet and to cause less impact while running, walking etc. Arch support, foot mold etc. provide support and shock absorption to the foot region making it easier for the athlete to perform. These inserts are placed inside the shoe in place of insole.
Essentially the advantage of this device lies in the fact that it can improve the any physiological foot condition which would otherwise be painful to cope with. This is an aid for faster recovery and correction processes. Given below is a list of benefits:
· Helps in control of lower limb movement.
· Helps in aligning the feet to correct movement.
· Is an effective shock absorber for people who are engaged in high impact sporting activities; an example of this would be jumping or running.
· They can be availed in custom made fits and can be customized according to the problem that is there.
· Issues which are usually associated with heel pain, sprains, plantar fasciitis etc. can all be effectively treated and the results are largely successful.
· Good support to foot, knee and ankle essentially means lesser chances of chronic injuries to these areas. These injuries can be due to any kind of an activity that results in ligament tears, tendonitis, spinal injuries etc.
People with diabetes can also use foot orthotics. Diabetic patients are susceptible to nerve damages in the feet. This eventually causes numbness in feet, inability to experience temperature variations etc. This goes on to cause considerable stress to the rest of the body parts. Foot orthotics is suggested by medical practitioners in these cases as well. The orthotics helps in stress reduction.
It is not necessary that the orthotics is used by people who are suffering from injuries or other kinds of deformations. People who would like their movement to be more fluid and more comfortable can also opt for foot orthotics. Slipping a shoe insert or arch support inside the sneakers will help in pressure redistribution and also in absorption on shock due to impact or even body weight.
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