Orthotics and Prosthetics: An introduction

The field of orthotics and prosthetics is as old as mankind. Ever since the first person fractured a bone, strained a joint, or lost a limb, attempts have been made to protect or strengthen an injured body part, or compensate for a missing arm or leg.

Today's rehabilitation professionals are known as prosthetists and orthotists. They are highly trained in helping adults and children with physical disabilities handle the tasks of daily living as well as possible. Most often this is done by designing and fabricating a rehabilitation device.

Prosthetists create artificial, or prosthetic, arms and legs for amputees, while orthotists design and fit support devices such as braces, casts, and body jackets. All devices are worn externally. Some people can stop wearing an orthosis after several weeks or months, when the injured body part is healed; others with ongoing conditions, such as spina bifida, need supportive devices indefinitely. And an amputee usually has a lifelong relationship with the prosthetist.

ABC Certification Quality Care: Certification is Vital

Every profession has some type of review board to make certain its members are following appropriate standards. Rehabilitation professionals recognize the American Board for Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics (ABC) as the top standards setting and administering body in our field.
To obtain ABC certification, applicants must have:
• a baccalaureate degree
• post-graduate education in orthotics/prosthetics
• a one-year residency under a certified practitioner
• pass a three-day exam including formal and practical testing.

Certified prosthetists use "CP" following their names, while certified orthotists use "CO." Tom Watson's practitioners are accredited in both specialties and may use the initials "CPO;" our facilities are also ABC accredited.

Once certified, practitioners must continue professional education and training, plus undergo re-accreditation review every five years. Meeting standards is proof of competency and professional certification assures patients that they will receive the best rehabilitative care possible.

Technologically Enhanced Personal Service

When it comes to prosthetics and orthotic devices, one size doesn't fit all. Every prosthesis and orthosis is custom designed, fabricated, and fit according to the needs and activity level of each patient.

Tom Watson's Lab uses the sophisticated TracerCAD to help design comfortable fitting, high performance devices such as ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) and prosthetic sockets. The TracerCAD's computer-guided wand scans the limb, relating detailed, accurate measurements that are translated into an on-screen image of the limb. The data is used to make a positive mold. Plastic is then vacuum-formed over the carved mold transferring the computerized design into the finished orthosis or prosthesis.

The result is a high-performance, precision-fit socket and prosthesis that delivers extended wear with improved comfort. Hand-held and portable, the system can be taken to hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics, increasing convenience for patients and referral sources.

With this system we are also able to fabricate braces and support systems are also designed and fit to meet the individual's unique demands. We also provide custom foot orthoses, or pedorthics, and orthopedic footwear. Fabrication and repairs are done in our well-equipped laboratory to ensure that high standards of craftsmanship are met in a timely manner.

Our skilled technicians use high performance materials and innovative techniques to fabricate devices and handle repairs in our own laboratory. On-site fabrication also means our patients receive custom devices in a more timely and cost-effective manner.

Patient Education

Patients and family member are the most important members of the rehab team assisting in setting and achieving individual recovery goals. As part of treatment, our staff informs patients about various resources that can assist their recovery or enrich their lives. And, throughout our patient/practitioner relationship, we offer support, encouragement, and understanding. We also show them how to maintain the rehabilitation device and protect the part of the body with which it comes in contact.


• Cosmetic Restorations
• Conventional Body Powered
• Myoelectric - All levels Otto Bock, Utah Arm, Boston Elbow, Hosmer

• Immediate & Postsurgical
• Preparatory Prostheses
• Conventional P.T.B. Systems
• Total Surface Bearing & Suction Socket B/K Prostheses
• N.S.N.A. & CAT-CAM A/K Prostheses
• Endoskeletal & Exoskeletal
• Geriatric Lightweight Systems
• Ultra-light, high-tech componentry, C-Leg, Harmony Systems


• Temporary FX Orthoses
• Postsurgical Splinting
• Dynamic & Static Orthoses

• Prefabricated & Custom
• Soft - Metal Frame - Plastics
• Halos

• Corsets - Stock or Custom
• Rigid Metal Frame Orthoses
• Custom LSO & TLSO Body Jackets
• Scoliosis Orthoses -
Milwaukee - Boston - Charleston

• Sarmiento Style
• Custom Removable Plastic

• Conventional Metal Frame
• Total Plastic Systems
• Knee Orthoses — Lenox Hill, Townsend, CTi, NUKO, Don Joy

• Scottish Rite Legg Perthes
• Pavlik Harness
• L.S.U. Reciprocator Orthoses
• Standing Frame
• Parapodiums
• N.D.T. Tone Reducing A.F.O.'s

• Custom Molded Shoes
• Depth Inlay Shoes
• Shoe Modifications
• Biomechanical Foot Orthoses
• Diabetic & Arthritic Supports

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