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Careers Spotlight – Prosthetists and Orthotists

Hello, my name is Matt Frederick and I am Sherwood Forest Hospitals Orthotic Clinical Lead

This week we celebrated Prosthetists and Orthotists Day and wanted to highlight these roles.

Did you know that there are only 110 NHS Orthotists in England? We have four Orthotists at Sherwood Forest Hospitals who are directly employed by the NHS. Most work for a commercial company that provide services to the NHS.

Who are Prosthetists and Orthotists?

Prosthetists are autonomous registered practitioners who provide gait analysis and engineering solutions to patients with limb loss. They are extensively trained at undergraduate level in mechanics, bio-mechanics, and material science along with anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. Their qualifications make them competent to design and provide prostheses that replicate the structural or functional characteristics of the patients absent limb. They are also qualified to modify CE marked prostheses or componentry taking responsibility for the impact of any changes. They treat patients with congenital loss as well as loss due to diabetes, reduced vascularity, infection and trauma. Military personnel are forming an increasing part of their caseload. Whilst they are autonomous practitioners they usually work closely with physiotherapists and occupational therapists as part of multidisciplinary amputee rehabilitation teams.

Orthotists are autonomous registered practitioners who provide gait analysis and engineering solutions to patients with problems of the neuro, muscular and skeletal systems. They are extensively trained at undergraduate level in mechanics, bio-mechanics, and material science along with anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology. Their qualifications make them competent to design and provide orthoses that modify the structural or functional characteristics of the patients’ neuro-muscular and skeletal systems enabling patients to mobilise, eliminate gait deviations, reduce falls, reduce pain, prevent and facilitate healing of ulcers. They are also qualified to modify CE marked Orthoses or componentry taking responsibility for the impact of any changes. They treat patients with a wide range of conditions including Diabetes, Arthritis, Cerebral Palsy, Stroke, Spina Bifida, Scoliosis, MSK, sports injuries and trauma. Whilst they often work as autonomous practitioners they increasingly often form part of multidisciplinary teams such as within the diabetic foot team or neuro-rehabilitation team.

For more information about starting a career as a Prosthetist or Orthotist please see the BAPO Careers pages

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