Freqently Asked Questions
Do I need a prescription from my doctor to get a prosthesis or orthosis?
What will I need to bring to my first appointment?
How long after I am amputated will I get my prosthesis?
Will I need to get therapy after I receive my prosthesis?
How long should my definitive prosthesis last?
How do I know when to add prosthetic socks?
Can I swim or bathe in my prosthesis?
Will I be able to walk with my prosthesis without the aid of a cane or walker?
What kind of shoes can I wear with my orthosis?
How long should I wear my orthosis each day?
My brace no longer fits; will I need a new one?
There are red marks on my leg when I take my brace off at night. Should I be concerned?
Glossary of Terms
establishing a specific relationship between a brace or prosthesis and a patient’s limb or body segment
Bilateral: pertaining to two sides of the body
Casting procedure: duplicating a body part’s shape by applying plaster or synthetic material to make a mold of that part
Cervical vertebrae: the first seven bones of the spinal column
CO: certified orthotist
Contracture: a tightening or shortening of a muscle
CP: certified prosthetist
CPO certified prosthetist/orthotist
Donning: the act of putting on an orthosis or prosthesis
Doffing: the act of taking off a prosthesis or orthosis
Drop Foot: a condition in which the toes drag during walking due to an inability to raise the foot voluntarily
Edema: a condition in which tissues retain excess fluid (swelling)
Gait training: the exercise of being taught how to walk with and properly use a prosthesis or orthosis
Hemiplegia: paralysis of only one side of the body
Lateral: pertaining to the outside of the body
Liner: soft material used between the patient’s body and the prosthesis or orthosis for padding
Lumbar vertebrae: the five spinal vertebrae in the lower back
Medial: pertaining to the inside of the body
Neuroma: a “ball” of nerve tissue which is very sensitive to pressure
Orthoses: the plural form of orthosis
Orthosis: a device fitted to the body to protect, stabilize, or immobilize a body part; i.e. a brace
Orthotics: the science of using mechanical appliances for orthopedic use
Orthotist: a professional who designs and fits orthotic devices
Paraplegia: paralysis of the lower part of the body and both legs
Prostheses: the plural form of prosthesis
Prosthesis: an artificial limb
Prosthetist: a professional who designs and fits prosthetic devices
Scoliosis: a lateral (side to side) curvature of the spine
Suspension: the method by which a prosthesis or orthosis is held on to the body
Thoracic vertebrae: the 12 vertebrae that make up the middle segment of the spine
Total contact: total surface area support in an orthosis or prosthesis to diminish excessive pressure in any one area
Unilateral: pertaining to one particular segment of the body
Valgus: bent inward as in “knock-kneed”
Varus: bent outward as in “bow-legged”.
AK: above knee
Amputation: removal of a limb
Amputee: a person who has had an amputation especially of the arms or legs
Atrophy: a wasting or decrease in the size of muscle tissue
BE: below elbow
BK: below knee
Cosmesis: the outward appearance of a prosthetic device
Cosmetic cover: a foam material covering the mechanical parts of a prosthesis which is shaped to resemble a body segment
Definitive prosthesis: a prosthesis designed for long term use
Disarticulation: amputation through a joint
Endoskeletal: refers to a prosthesis in which the structural strength is internal
Exoskeletal: refers to a prosthesis in which the structural strength is external
HD: hip disarticulation (an amputation of the entire leg at the hip joint)
Hip disarticulation: an amputation through the hip joint
Hemipelvectomy: an amputation of the leg including part of the pelvis
Intermediate prosthesis: an initial prosthesis intended for relatively short term (months) use by a new amputee while the residual limb circumferentially reduces and shapes
KD: knee disarticulation
Knee disarticulation: an amputation through the knee joint
Myoelectric prosthesis: a battery powered prosthesis using sensors on the skin to operate it
Phantom pain: the feeling of pain in a part of the body that is no longer there following amputation
Phantom sensation: the sensation of still feeling a body part although it is not there following an amputation of that body part
Residual limb: the part of the limb that remains after an amputation
Silesian belt: a belt that is used as suspension for an above knee prosthesis
Socket: the portion of the prosthesis in which the residual limb fits
Stump shrinker: a special elastic sock used to reduce the swelling and to shape the residual limb following an amputation
Stump sock: a special sock used with a prosthesis to adjust the fit of the leg or arm in the prosthetic socket
Suspension sleeve: a Neoprene or rubber “sleeve” that helps secure a prosthesis to the body
Syme’s Amputation: through the ankle joint amputation
Terminal device: the functional device at the end of a prosthesis; i.e. a hand or a foot
Test socket: a diagnostic clear socket used to evaluate the fit and comfort of a prosthetic socket before the actual finished socket is fabricated
AFO: ankle foot orthosis (a brace for the lower leg and foot)
Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO): a lightweight brace/splint for the lower leg and foot used to provide stability or to prevent deformities
EO: elbow orthosis
HKAFO: hip knee ankle foot orthosis
HO: hip orthosis
KAFO: knee ankle foot orthosis
KO: knee orthosis
LSO: lumbar sacral orthosis
Spinal orthosis: a brace applied to the neck or back
TLSO: thoracic lumbar sacral orthosis
WHO: wrist hand orthosis
Glossary of Terms