Medical Orthotists & Prosthetists (MOPs) are concerned with the design, manufacturing and fitting of splints, braces, surgical appliances (orthotics) and artificial limbs (prosthetics). MOPs are members of the rehabilitation team; helping those who require orthopaedic support. Once qualified, Medical Orthotists & Prosthetists register with the Health Professional Council of South Africa (HPCSA).
Orthotics can be defined as orthopaedic appliances (braces or splints) that provide support, correction or protection of a body part or limb.
Orthotics are typically used in the following instances:(Note: Categories often overlap)
- Support of an injured joint or body part– to allow for healing to occur safely
- Improve function as result of mal-alignment or weakness – often used long term
- Protection against injury – often used in sport
- Correction or prevention of deformity – often as a result of neuromuscular-conditions or degenerative conditions
- Protection against injury – often used in sports
Foot orthotics – used for a wide range of foot or lower extremity problems. Often used prophylactically by runners or other sports people
An ankle-foot orthosis (drop-foot brace) used for improved function and walking after neurological injury or stroke affecting the foot/ankle
A range-of-movement leg brace for post-injury or post-operative knee immobilisation
A neck brace or collar for post-injury or post-surgical immobilisation of the neck
An arm sling for post-injury or post-surgical support of the arm, shoulder and/or elbow
An unloading knee brace to un-load the knee joint as a result of degenerative disease (such as osteoarthritis)
A semi-rigid wrist brace used for support after injury or prophylactic protection against injury
Orthotics can be custom made by an Orthotist, or pre-made by orthotic brace manufacturers and fitted to the patient by an Orthotist. Pre-made orthotics are commonly referred to as ‘’off the shelf’’ (OTS) orthotics.
Orthotists also often dispense mobility aids such as crutches, walkers, wheelchairs etc. This is however not exclusively through orthotists as there are other medical professionals and retail outlets that also sell mobility aids.