What is an orthotist and podiatrist?

An orthotist is a healthcare professional who’s trained at making and fitting braces and splints for people who need support for body parts that are weak due to an injury, disorder, or disease of the nerves, muscles or bones. These splints and braces are normally referred to as orthosis, and the medical field that works with them is called orthotics. A podiatrist is a foot specialist that treats conditions of the foot, ankle and connecting parts of the leg.

What does an orthotist and podiatrist do?

An orthotist assess, prescribes, designs and fits orthosis that best serves an individual’s needs. He/she also monitors, provides therapy and educates patients about the use and care of their orthosis. A podiatrist uses orthotics to treat:

  • Children born with a congenital limb deficiency or cerebral palsy.
  • People who have had an amputation after an accident.
  • People with muscular weakness after a stroke or spinal injury.
  • People with diabetic foot ulcers.
  • Foot, ankle and heel pain.
  • Elders who have lost a limb due to vascular disease.

When to visit an orthotist and podiatrist?

Prior to getting your orthosis, you will visit a podiatrist who will examine your feet and how you walk. He or she will check your medical history and assess the movement and function of your lower extremities. This information will help determine whether you need prescription orthotics.

An orthotist will then design the required orthosis to:

  • Immobilise the affected part of the body to allow it to heal.
  • Assist movement or offer support.
  • Correct the shape or function of the affected body part.
  • Limit the affected body part’s possible directions of movement.

Different orthoses may be designed and used, such as ankle braces and arch supports. Orthoses are used to help with the rehabilitation of injuries and reduce pain associated with long term health problems.


“Take care of your body,
and your body will take care of you.”