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What Does an Orthotics Technician Do?

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  • Written By: Nick Mann
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 05 December 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Working as an orthotics technician revolves around creating supportive devices, such as braces or prosthetics, for patients with medical abnormalities or missing limbs. Being successful in this career usually requires someone with sound communication skills and the ability to solve a variety of medical problems. While it's sometimes possible to get into this field with an associate's degree in orthotics technology, a bachelor's degree is ideal. Some primary job duties of an orthotics technician include taking patient measurements, designing and creating supportive devices, demonstrating their use and repairing supportive devices.

Prior to the creation of a supportive device, it's usually necessary for an orthotics technician to first take the measurements of a patient. For example, before building a knee brace, he might measure the circumference of the patient's knee. Accurate measurement is essential for creating a device that contours perfectly and is comfortable for the patient.

After the initial measurements have been taken, the orthotics technician will then design the supportive device. This process usually involves drawing out a rough sketch, determining dimensions and deciding which materials to use. For patients with missing limbs, he will usually create a cast and may also need to determine which color pigment to use to best match the prosthetic limb to the patient's skin tone. Consequently, an orthotics technician must be highly skilled and able to design a variety of supportive devices.

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Once he has completed a design, an orthotics technician will then create the supportive device. The specific type of materials used for this process can vary, but may include plastic, metal, rubber and fiberglass. For this process, he will often implement hand and power tools to mold a device to the specific dimensions of the patient. In the case of a prosthetic limb, he will typically use a cast when creating a device. Essentially, his goal is to make a supportive device that is stable, matches the exact dimensions of a patient and is aligned properly.

Along with this, he will usually demonstrate how to use a device and explain any other details. Since a patient is often unfamiliar with using a supportive device, an orthotics technician will explain the basics of wearing and maintaining it. If a patient finds a device to be uncomfortable, he may also make some final adjustments and fine tune it. In addition, an orthotics technician will make repairs to supportive devices when necessary. This might include replacing parts, like bolts, or tweaking the overall structure.

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