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Orthotics/Serial Casting

Foot orthotics are prescription medical devices that are worn inside your shoes to correct biomechanical foot issues associated with how you stand, walk or run. They can also help with foot pain stemming from medical conditions, such as diabetes, plantar fasciitis, bursitis and arthritis. Patients with flat feet can maybe even use orthotics to correct the issue rather than having surgery.

Many hand injuries benefit from an orthotic fabrication (splint) to protect healing tissues, reduce stress on injured tissues, reduce scarring and regain lost range of motion. The therapists in hand therapy can make customized orthotics to meet the needs of each individual patient as opposed to the one-size-fits-all, off the shelf models. Orthotics are made from a variety of materials to comfortably and safely protect and position the injured extremity.

Serial casting is used if a joint can’t flex or extend as far as it should. That might be because one of the muscles connected to it is too short or tight. Your doctor may recommend putting a series of casts on the joint to stretch it. This technique is mainly used on wrists, elbows and ankles. Improved range of motion may help you walk better or use your hand or arm better.

The first cast holds the joint in a position where it stretches the muscle just a little. A week or so later, the therapist puts a new cast on. When the muscle gets stretched over a period of weeks, it adds cells that make it longer and more flexible. On average, about 5 degrees of flexibility is added with each cast. A typical length of time is 8 to 12 weeks. If neurological factors are involved, the casting process will be longer.


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