What's the Difference Between Orthotics and Prosthetics

What's the Difference Between Orthotics and Prosthetics

The difference between orthotics and prosthetics is that prosthetics are artificial limbs, while orthotics are medical devices that can help patients who have a wide range of conditions. Orthotics can actually help you avoid having to get a prosthetic limb.

Orthotics devices are used for more than just feet. They can be used on the ankle, knee, back, wrist, and neck. They may also be used on the arm.

These devices can help patients adapt to a disability or injury. They can prevent further injuries from occurring because these devices are designed to support weakened muscles and joints.

What qualifications are required as an orthotists/prosthetists?

Orthotists / Prosthetists have to study the same subjects as other health professions, e.g. anatomy, physiology, neuroscience and pathology, but specific studies relevant to the profession include biomechanics, orthotic and prosthetic prescription, as well as device design and fabrication. They require strong technical skills and a thorough understanding of clinical assessment and the application of orthotic and prosthetic techniques. Lastly, they should have a clear grasp of research methodology to supports evidence-based practice. General health degrees or alternative health qualifications do not allow candidates to enter the occupation.

So What's the Difference Between Orthotics and Prosthetics

If you have a broken bone or are missing a limb, your doctor might recommend some kind of orthotic or prosthetic device. Both types of devices can help restore mobility, but they’re very different. Here’s what you need to know about each one:


Orthotics are devices that control and support parts of the body that aren’t functioning properly. Braces and splints are two examples of orthotics. Depending on your injury or disease, your doctor may recommend an orthotic to help stabilize a joint, reduce pain, or prevent further damage.


Prosthetics are artificial devices that replace a body part that’s missing. One example is an artificial limb for someone who has lost an arm or leg. Prosthetics can also function as cosmetic substitutes for body parts. Some people with hearing loss wear hearing aids that are considered prosthetics.