What is an Orthotist?

People who study prosthetic and orthotics usually specialise in one area either prosthetics or orthotics.

Prosthetics involves fabricating or providing devices to replace parts of the body that have been lost (e.g. prosthetic leg, prosthetic pancreas, prosthetic arm).

Orthotics involves fabricating or providing devices that support existing body part (e.g. Ankle, Foot Orthotics (AFOs), Knee Ankle, Foot Orthotics (KAFOs), Foot Orthotics, Footwear modification, Upper limb bracing).

How are Prosthetists and Orthotists trained?

Prosthetist and Orthotist until recently completed a Bachelor of Prosthetics and Orthoitcs which was a 4 year course only offered at Latrobe University City Campus (Bundoora). The course has changed to a Bachelor of Health Science Master in Prosthetics and Orthotics.

The Australian Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) is the body that most clinicians are registered with. Prosthetists and Orthotists are not registered with AHPRA and cannot access any medicare funding.

Funding for prosthetics and orthotics can be accessed through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the State Wide Equipment program (SWEP) – although funding in this body is reducing, or through TAC, work cover or private health insurance.  

What services do Prosthetics and Orthotics offer?


  • Replacement parts for any amputations required.


  • Provide support to joints and offload painful areas of the foot.
    • Foot orthotics –
      • Midfoot pain (midfoot degeneration)
      • Forefoot pain (neuroma)
      • Rearfoot pain ( Tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction, plantar fasciitis, Achilles pain)
    • Ankle Foot Orthotics –
      • Support for drop foot  
      • Reduce movement of the ankle
    • Arizona brace –
      • Provide support to a degenerate midfoot, subtalar joint and midfoot.
    • CROW – Charcot Restraint Orthotic Walker
      • Supports severe midfoot and ankle degeneration
    • KAFO – Usually for post polio or with Knee ankle stability.
    • Spinal braces  
    • Upper limb braces

When should I see a Prosthetist or Orthotist?


  • Amputees


  • Ongoing lower limb, upper limb, or spinal complaints where providing bracing or support may be beneficial

How may I find a Prosthetist and Orthotist who has a specialist interest in rheumatology conditions?

AOPA provide a list of practitioners.

Further information

AOPA – Australia Orthotic Prosthetic Association

Email Geoff – geoff@tashacare.com.au