What are prosthetists and orthotists?

Prosthetist and Orthotist

Prosthetists and orthotists are Allied Health Professionals. Find out more about prosthetists and orthotists, the patients they see and how you can follow a career in prosthetics at UHDB. 

What is a prosthetist and orthotist and what patients do they see?

Prosthetists are responsible for the design, manufacture and fitting of artificial limbs. They are specialist autonomous professionals with a diverse skill set who are able to fit prostheses (artificial limbs/parts of limbs) for all levels of limb absence or amputation (upper and lower limbs), from partial feet to a full leg (including hip joints).

Biometric measurements and casting may be used to capture the necessary information to start making the prosthesis. Each one is made specifically for the individual person, based on their activity, weight and functional needs.

What’s a typical day for a prosthetist and orthotist?

“During the consultation and examination, I will formulate a prescription based on the individual’s needs and requirements. I will supervise all levels of the manufacture process, which is competed onsite with skilled technicians. This includes materials and component selection to achieve the best outcome from use of the prosthesis".

“Following manufacture, the prosthesis is tailored further for the individual person and fine-tuned to optimise the look and function.  This will include a detailed examination of the walking cycle, for lower limbs. When ready for completion the prosthesis can be made to look similar to the surviving limb, or can be customised if preferred".

Career paths for prosthetists and orthotists

The main qualification is a BSc Prosthetics and Orthotics at university, which have varying entry qualifications. Once complete you must be registered with HCPC to practice.

Why I became a prosthetist and orthotist

“Prosthetics is complex but very rewarding. One minute I may be researching materials for a special job, then helping someone get up for the first time with their new leg, or troubleshooting a problem with an established user. Technology is advancing all the time, in both materials and prosthetic joints.  Currently I’m fitting Microprocessor Knees (MPK) to some of our patients who have been assessed as suitable candidates. As limb loss a lifelong condition, we do not discharge, so develop a long term professional relationship with our patients.”