Frequently Asked Orthotics Questions

1. Why do I need to wear an orthosis/brace?

This should be explained by your physician who prescribed the orthosis for you. Usually an orthosis is prescribed for one or more of the following reasons:

1.      To stabilize or protect an injured part of the body

2.      To help the body do something it can no longer do on its own

3.      To prevent the body from doing something dangerous or undesirable

4.      To correct deformity of a part of the body

2. What should I do if my orthosis hurts when I wear it?

You should contact your orthotist who fit you with the orthosis immediately. While an orthosis may be uncomfortable at first as you get used to it, it should not be painful to wear.

3. Can my leg orthosis/brace be worn with any of my shoes?

Not necessarily - your orthosis is made to fit your leg, not your shoes. In general, you want to wear a good walking shoe or gym shoe. Depending on the design/construction of your orthosis, it may be necessary to remove the insole (cushion layer) from the shoe to create room for your orthosis. Sometimes it is necessary to switch to a wider shoe or go up a half or whole shoe size.

4. When should I put on my orthosis?

Leg orthoses/braces (AFOs, KAFOs, etc.) ideally should be put on when you get out of bed in the morning and worn until you go back to bed. Unless instructed otherwise, you should not sleep or nap with a leg orthosis on.

If you wear a spinal orthosis, generally this should be put on before getting out of bed, to protect your back from the stress associated with getting up from a lying down position.

5. How long should I wear my orthosis each day?

Because the orthosis only helps you when you wear it, you should strive to wear it all day. This is especially true of spinal orthoses when prescribed to protect an injured or unstable spine.

Sometimes with leg orthoses a break-in schedule is recommended to allow you to get used to wearing it and to allow frequent skin checks as you work up to wearing it all day. You may need to remove you leg orthosis if it interferes with the exercises recommended by your physical therapist.

6. Will I have to wear my orthosis forever?

You and your physician ultimately will decide when you no longer need your orthosis. For post operative orthoses, this usually depends on your surgeon's protocols. For orthoses prescribed due to disease or injuries, the timeline is very individualistic. Sometimes the condition causing you to need the orthosis is permanent and you will always need the orthosis.

7. Why do I have to check my skin every time I remove my orthosis, even if I have worn it without problems for weeks or months?

While your orthosis does not change by itself, you body can. Factors such as weight gain/loss, water retention or edema can result in changes to your body size. These changes can occur gradually or abruptly.

Sometimes our nerves do not alert us that there is a problem with the fit of our orthosis. That is why visually checking your skin is so important. It helps you catch a problem at the first opportunity, hopefully before any tissue damage occurs.

8. How long will it take to get my orthosis?

Custom fabricated orthoses usually take about a week to fabricate after your evaluation and cast are taken and your insurance authorizes us to proceed. Some orthoses are patented devices that need to be fabricated by a specific manufacturer. If your orthosis is prefabricated, it may only take a few days or less, if it is an item we keep in stock.

9. Will my insurance cover the cost of my orthosis?

Most insurance policies cover a major portion of the cost for the orthosis, but we will need to verify your particular benefits with your insurance company before giving you an accurate answer to this question. Our office staff will be happy to answer questions regarding your coverage after verifying your benefits.