EXPERT SPEAKS: orthopedics Assistive Devices- Evaluation & Training - KAREN PAVRI

There are several Orthopaedic assistive devices available in the market, made from a combination of materials such as metal, plastics, synthetic fabrics etc. This article covers Physiotherapeutic evaluation and training with aids and appliances for the spine and lower limbs, as experienced over three decades.                                        The Physiotherapist is involved with the person with disability, from ‘bed to job’ and integrating him as an active member of society. Physiotherapists are involved with the timely need for an appropriate appliance and/or walking aid, to achieve an energy efficient symmetrical walking pattern. It is also important to provide adequate supervised ‘gait training’ to get the patient habituated to using the assistive device, including donning and doffing, thereby improving patient-compliance. Requirements for safe and quality walking are strength, endurance, flexibility, balance, co-ordination and confidence, developed individually with Physiotherapy.

Orthosis is defined as an appliance used to support, align, prevent/correct deformities, can relieve weight, or improve function of hypermobile segments. Walking aids increase the base of support, for safety during walking. They improve balance, and extend weight bearing area, reduce lower limb pain, can provide small propulsive forces and provide sensory feedback.        

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