Orthotics and Prosthetics (O&P) is a medical and engineering based allied health profession that involves the evaluation, fabrication and custom fitting of artificial limbs and orthopaedic braces and supports. The current qualification within Australia is a four-year Masters course at La Trobe University in Melbourne.
Orthotists are clinicians who are responsible for the clinical care and fitting of orthoses in short term acute and long-term rehabilitation settings.
Prosthetists are clinicians who are responsible for the clinical care and fitting of artificial limbs for amputees. Their first involvement with a client may be to fit an interim limb post operatively and continue on throughout a client’s life.
An orthosis (plural: orthoses) is a device that exerts external forces to any part of the body to provide support and alignment that reduces pain or improves mobility. It is derived from the Greek word ‘ortho’ meaning to straighten. Such devises include braces, splints and shoe inserts. Clients may seek treatment due to sporting injuries, post-operative needs, trauma management and conditions such as cerebral palsy.
A prosthesis (plural: prostheses) is a device that extends or replaces a missing or damaged body part. These devices include artificial arms, legs, partial hands and feet. Prosthetists assist clients with congenital limb deficiencies, those who have lost limbs as a result of accident and elderly patients who may have diabetes or vascular issues.