There are multiple reasons a person may need an orthotic device. At the core of each reason, however, is the desire to live a more comfortable and independent life.
At Horizon Orthotics and Prosthetic Experience, we strive to earn your trust and create an orthosis that allows you to comfortably live your life and take part in the activities you love. Our goal is to work alongside our patients to create a solution that’s specific to their individual needs. Ultimately, this personalized solution will ensure lasting satisfaction.
In this blog, we’ll take a deeper look into the orthoses process and what a patient can expect from their experience with HOPE KC. No two processes will be exactly alike, given that each patient will have unique needs. However, most experiences with our orthotics team follow a similar outline.
Treatment Areas & Devices
Before we get into the process, it’s important for patients to know the options available to them. HOPE KC offers orthotic solutions for four areas:
Upper extremity treatment includes the use of an orthotic brace that’s meant to align, support, or assist any weakness or deformity in the shoulder, elbow, arms, wrist, or hands. The devices we use can be custom-built or off the shelf and include:
- Arm Brace
- Elbow Orthosis
- Wrist Orthosis
- Hand Orthosis
- Shoulder Orthosis
HOPE KC can help patients with a variety of different spine conditions by creating a customized back brace orthosis. This is your body’s primary support system, and these devices will focus on improving a person’s quality of life. Devices specifically aid with support, alignment, or assistance with spinal weakness or deformity.
Other non-bracing options are also available to patients, such as including Functional Electric Stimulation (FES) devices like WalkAide and Bioness.
Our specialists at HOPE KC use Foot Orthoses (FOs) to correct several conditions using foot inserts and arch supports. Among the ways we can help are by redistributing weight through your entire food, biomechanical correction, and by offloading specific areas.
Among the ways we can correct your foot issues through orthosis include:
- Sole work – including lifts, wedges, rocker bottoms, posting, and out flares
- Padding/reliefs – including metatarsal pads, insert reliefs, posts, and wedges,
- Orthotic Inserts – including corrective and accommodative inserts
- Shoes – including custom, orthopedic, and diabetic shoes
Our specialist at HOPE KC will usually use an ankle-foot orthosis (AFO) to treat pain, weakness, or instability. A custom-made or off-the-shelf brace will help stabilize and protect your ankle joint and assistant with your range of movement. With proper treatment, an ankle brace from HOPE KC can help patients remain active by assisting with daily functions and preventing future deformity.
Along with these four areas, we also treat several conditions related to orthotic care. Besides treating ailments in specific areas, such as foot drop, ankle arthritis, scoliosis, and diabetic foot, we also treat neurological and pediatric issues. These include conditions such as stroke or neuromuscular disorders and plagiocephaly.
Much like with our prosthesis process, we begin the orthotics process by getting to know you as an individual. The staff at HOPE KC believes that before we can move forward with the process, it’s important to establish mutual trust between specialists and patients.
Getting to know our patients on a personal level helps us develop a bond and gives us a grasp of the challenges you’re facing. This allows us to better understand your individual needs, which ends up creating a better result. During this time, we encourage patients to actively involve themselves in selecting an orthosis that’s customized to their specific requirements.
During this initial consultation, we’ll also go over your medical history, your career, your hobbies, and other aspects of your life in order to determine your own individual goals for an orthosis. These factors will play a role in the device you receive.
Ultimately, we want to create an orthosis that allows you to live your daily life the way you desire. The goal of this process isn’t just to increase your functionality, but to get you back to doing what you love. Whether that means walking without pain or playing sports with your family and friends, we want to create an orthosis that’s specifically for you.
Finally, depending on your area of concern, we’ll use this initial consultation to perform various tests to help us determine the best course of action in the future. This includes manual muscle testing (MMT), range of motion testing (ROM), and outcome measures. Once this concludes, we can begin the next phase.
After we complete the initial consultation phase, we can move on to the planning phase of the orthosis process. This phase involves us taking the proper measurements of the problem area on your body in order to build or find an orthosis design that best suits your needs.
You’ll work with our highly experienced clinical staff to go over the specific pros and cons of each device. For those seeking foot and ankle orthotics, this part of the process may involve taking an impression of your foot/ankle for a customized design.
Ultimately, your orthotic device may be custom-designed or off-the-shelf (OTS). We can customize OTS designs to your specific measurements for fit and functionality.
For custom-fabricated orthoses, we’ll need the fabrication of a positive model of the limb in order to produce your custom device. Positive models produced by detailed measurements or digital scanning use a CAD-CAM system. During the scan, a computer model gets converted to an actual model by utilizing a digital carving machine.
Though measurements are an important part of this process, this planning process will also serve as another opportunity to go over your lifestyle goals. These goals also play a factor in the design and functionality of your device.
Certain devices fit better with certain lifestyles, so the planning process is important for drawing back on information from that initial consultation. Whether your goal is pain management, playing basketball with your friends, or even swimming in the ocean again, we can build a custom device that suits you specifically.
Delivery and Fitting
The fitting and delivery phase is the final part of the orthotic process. This visit takes place at one of our six Kansas City-area clinics and centers on getting you accustomed to life with your new orthotic device.
Using the measurements and lifestyle demands from your initial evaluation and planning meeting, we’ll give you your custom-crafted or OTS orthotic device and test to ensure its proper fit. Should your device not fit as planned, we’ll make the adjustments and take outcome measurement tests once more.
Ultimately, having the proper fit ensures that you see results with your new orthosis. An ill-fitting orthosis can lead to not only discomfort, but it can actually have a negative impact on your body and lead to future pain. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that your problem area has the proper fit, and it’s also why we stress patience during this process in order to produce the best outcome.
Once we find a proper fit, our professional orthotic experts will go over all the details about life with your new device. You can expect to learn everything you need to know about proper care, proper daily use, a wearing schedule, and everything you need to become more familiar with your lifestyle now that you have your new device.
When you leave our facility that day, it doesn’t mean you’re finished with the process. Patients still need to work closely with their physician or occupational therapist to ensure proper courses of action with the new device. Orthotic devices are a great tool for helping you get back to the lifestyle you want to live, but they aren’t a cure-all.
It’s also important to note that changes to your body may also occur, which requires you to take new measurements in order to get a new device that fits properly. Most of these body changes stem from weight gain or weight loss, and will occur depending on activity level and diet.
Ultimately, you’ll need to follow your individual plan as outlined by your health care team. If needed, HOPE KC can provide assistance and work closely with medical providers throughout the area to help you adjust to daily life with an orthosis.
When you receive your orthotic device, we highly recommend scheduling follow-up appointments. This is to ensure that you get the most from your orthosis. During this appointment, we’ll discuss how you’re adapting to life with your device, and it’s also an opportunity to make any necessary adjustments.
Follow-up appointments give us a chance to evaluate where you’re at with your individual plan. This is where you can ensure that you’re still meeting all your goals and milestones. As you adjust to life with your new orthosis, our clinical staff can help you determine the best way to move forward and ensure success in the long term.
Most importantly, follow-up appointments in the Kansas City area allow our staff to continue building a relationship with each patient we work with. If you have questions about the process and where you’re at, we can use this as a time to work through your issues. We care about your personal success, and we can help provide answers or point you in the right direction.
While we have largely geared information on this process toward adults, it’s also important to note that HOPE KC also follows a similar process for pediatric orthotics. We use devices to help children work through a variety of issues. HOPE KC can specifically help with post-corrective bracing, functional bracing, preventative bracing, and corrective bracing.
That being said, there are some differences in our process with children. For one, children may receive different devices than adults because of specific issues that aren’t seen in older populations. Some examples include walking on tippy toes or flat feet. Additionally, bracing will be different in children than in adults.
This is because children continue to grow, meaning that their orthotic devices won’t continue to fit as time goes on. Adults usually only see changes that stem from weight fluctuations, so they’ll need new devices far less often.
Even with children outgrowing their braces or orthotic devices, it’s still very important for them to have a proper fit. This means that more visits will be necessary to ensure that the device functions as normal and still fits. Parents also need to consistently check that their child’s device still fits properly. Uneven distribution of weight leads to looser braces from children growing longer limbs.
Ultimately, it’s important to be patient during the pediatric orthotic process. Growth spurts happen and they can be unpredictable, which can be frustrating for parents. Consistently taking visits to one of our Kansas City area offices, as well as staying on top of how your child’s device fits, will lead to more successful outcomes for your child in the long run.
Begin Your Orthosis Journey With HOPE KC
If you’re ready to take the first step toward feeling better and begin the orthotics process, HOPE KC is ready to help.
When people work with Horizon Orthotic & Prosthetic Experience in Kansas City, they get a professional clinical staff who strives to create lasting relationships. We want to be your trusted resource throughout your orthosis journey. That’s why our goal is to make sure we treat each person who walks through our doors like family.
With the help of our highly trained clinical staff and our modern facilities, we can make a lasting difference in our patient’s lives. For convenience, we have six locations spanning across the Kansas City metro area, Central Kansas, and Central Missouri areas.
As the best orthotists in Kansas City, we are a local, award-winning prosthetic and orthotic company that strives to give our patients HOPE every day.
For more information about custom prosthetics in Kansas City, contact us today.