An orthotist/prosthetist helps people of all ages who need artificial limbs (prostheses) and othersupportive devices (orthoses) such as back or ankle braces and callipers. They assess the physicalneeds of people with mobility issues caused by amputation or problems with their muscles, bones ornervous system. An orthotist/prosthetist can make and fit devices.
Orthotics involves fitting special braces to support and protect part of the body that is affected by injuryand disease, whereas prosthetics involves making, fitting and maintaining artificial limbs to replace amissing body part. People can work either as an orthotist, a prosthetist or as an orthotist/prosthetist.
An orthotist/prosthetist can work in public and private hospitals, community-based organisations andaged-care facilities. They work closely with other healthcare professionals such as nurses, medicalspecialists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and podiatrists.
- Diagnosis and treatment
- Management of acute and chronic conditions
- Information and advice
- Worker's compensation, motor accident insurance (TAC) and Department of Veterans’ Affairs requirements
- Preparation and dispensing of mobility aids
An appointment with an orthotist/prosthetist usually requires a referral from your doctor.
The cost of orthotist/prosthetist services varies depending on the treatment. Contact the clinic before you attend if you are unsure of the cost.
Orthotists/prosthetics are not widely covered by Medicare. They are covered for individuals who are eligible under some programs.
Private health funds
Orthotists/prosthetics are covered by some private health funds but your coverage will depend on your insurance policy.
SectorConventional healthcare – allied health
RegistrationOptional registration through the Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Association
Minimum qualificationsMaster of Clinical Prosthetics and Orthotics
Make sure your orthotist/prosthetist is registered with the Australian Orthotic Prosthetic Association.
- A prosthetist can customise a device (such as an artificial leg) that is replacing a missing part ofthe body.
- An orthotist designs, makes and fits external devices that protect injuries and help with healingand recovery after surgery and rehabilitation.
- Orthotists and prosthetists can help people with physical impairments that are caused by trauma,neurological or genetic conditions.
- Prosthetics can also be used for cosmetic purposes (for example, to improve appearance afterinjury).