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Limb Fitting and Orthotics

Bedford Hospital

Orthotics is concerned with the design, development, fitting and manufacturing of orthoses, which are devices that support or correct musculoskeletal deformities and/or abnormalities of the human body. The aim is to enhance or maintain mobility and independence, enhance or maintain a patient’s quality of life or to slow any deterioration.

What does an orthotist do?

The orthotist designs and fit orthoses which provide support to parts of a patient’s body to compensate for paralysed muscles provide relief from pain or prevent orthopaedic deformities from progressing.

The appliances include bracing and splinting of different joints. Please click on the links below for more information:

  • Knee, ankle or foot orthosis
  • Collars
  • Fabric supports
  • Footwear
  • Insoles
  • Knees braces
  • Splints
  • Wigs
  • Wrist supports

What is an orthosis?

An orthosis device is an externally fitted device to support any part of the body weakened by defect, disease or injury; thus correcting, maintaining or even restricting biomechanical functions.

An orthosis device can be fitted to any part of the body, so a patient’s requirements can range from fairly simple to very complex.

How long will my appointment be?

Appointment times vary. Please allow approximately 15-30 minutes. You will be advised after this careful and thorough assessment if any further appointments are required and how long they may take.

If I have a foot problem, what should I wear?

If you have been referred for an assessment to see if insoles will assist your condition it is important to wear the correct type of shoes for your appointment in case these can be fitted on your first visit. Insoles will take up additional room in your shoes and unless your shoes already have a removable insole you may have problems assessing the benefits of an insole.

Suitable Footwear

The wearing of improper shoes may not be the main cause of foot problems, however it can certainly aggravate an existing condition, and cause a few of its own.

The three factors to look for when assessing if your shoes are suitable for insoles

Flexibility – does the shoe bend where it suppose to bend – too stiff, alters the normal movement of the foot, too soft will not support the foot.

Stability – does the shoe keep the foot properly positioned during the gait-cycle?

Heel height is an important consideration. Low heeled shoes keep the foot in the correct position. Heel cups need to be supportive and deep enough to hold the heel in a neutral position. Lace ups or shoes with fastening often hold the foot more securely than slip on shoes.

Shock absorbent – does the shoe provide sufficient shock absorption to take the undue stress of the foot during walking?

When your soles or heels have started to wear down have your shoe mended. You need a flat platform on which to walk to prevent biomechanical problems.

If your feet have changed shape you may no longer be able to buy shoes to accommodate your foot in a comfortable or supportive way. There are some companies which specialise in shoes for the larger or unusually shaped feet which are helpful as it is important that your shoe fits your foot rather than trying to make your foot fit your shoe.

These include: such companies as Cosyfeet , dbshoes Hotters and County Footwear

Do I have to pay for my orthosis?

Some items incur a prescription charge which is payable before the item is supplied. If you are exempt from charges, we will need verification of this and may ask you to complete a form.

What if I am unable to attend?

If you are unable to keep this appointment please phone the booking office as soon as possible so that another patient may be given the opportunity to attend. If you do not attend and do not contact the department we will assume that you no longer require treatment.

Telephone: 01234 792254

Hours of business

Tuesday: 8.30am to 3.45pm

Wednesday: 8.30pm to 3.45pm

Friday: 8.30am to 2.00pm

Common conditions of the feet

For information on conditions of the feet, please click on the appropriate link below:

  • Cavus Feet
  • Flat Feet
  • Metatarsalgia
  • Plantar Fasciitis/Heel Pain
Luton and Dunstable University Hospital
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