Clinical Specialties : Orthotics and Prosthetics

Orthotics and Prosthetics

Physiatrists treat some 50,000 new amputees each year; about one-third were a result of trauma and two-thirds were from vascular diseases, usually diabetes. New technologies in prosthetics allow amputees to return closer to their previous quality of life. Prosthetics are being made with some of the same materials used in airplane wings – making them strong, light, comfortable and durable. Because of these technologic developments, there is now a leg amputee who runs less than two seconds slower than Olympian Carl Lewis.

Physiatrists use many orthoses to assist, resist, align or stimulate function of part of the body. Orthoses may be made out of thin metal, heat moldable plastic, foam or plaster. We can use these braces or splints to assist in improving gait, reduce pain, allow healing and provide support. Lately, there are many exciting and innovative ultra-light orthoses fabricated using modern technology which we use to improve medical care.

Laura Y. Huang, MD
Assistant Professor

Lauren T. Shapiro, MD, MPH
Assistant Professor