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Practice Analysis of ABC Certified Orthotic Fitters

January 2019


Results and Discussion Related to Practice Areas, Devices, and Activities

All respondents were asked to characterize the nature of their work in regard to an extensive list of orthotic devices.

Respondents spend the greatest percentage of their time working in the Lower Extremity area (44%); Spinal and Upper Extremity each accounted for approximately 20% of work time; Fracture Orthoses* takes about 10% of work time; and Other areas account for close to 6% of work time.

Table 17

Percentage of Time in Each Practice Area
Lower Extremity44.2%
Upper Extremity20.5%
Fracture Orthoses9.8%

*An ABC Certified Fitter-orthotics is competent to practice orthotics within a scope of practice that is specific to fitting certain custom fitted, prefabricated, and off-the-shelf orthoses which includes prefabricated orthoses of the upper and lower extremities, except those used in the initial and/or acute treatment of long bone fractures and dislocations. The entire Certified Fitter-orthotics Scope of Practice can be found at

A detailed breakdown of the percentage of time in each area shows the percent of time spent working with specific orthotic devices in each area.

Table 18

Detailed Percentage of Time in Each Area
Lower Extremity44.2%
1.1 Orthopedic shoes2.9%
1.2 Diabetic shoes7.9%
1.3 Foot orthosis (FO), prefabricated4.1%
1.4 Ankle support4.8%
1.5 Ankle-foot orthosis (prefabricated)4.2%
1.6 Ankle-foot orthosis (AFO-custom)2.8%
1.7 Soft Knee orthosis (KO)5.5%
1.8 Rigid Knee orthosis (KO), prefabricated6.6%
1.9 Post-operative Knee orthosis (KO)4.2%
1.10 Hip orthosis (HO)1.2%
2.1 Soft Lumbosacral orthosis (LSO)3.8%
2.2 Semi-rigid Lumbosacral orthosis (LSO)4.7%
2.3 Rigid Lumbosacral orthosis (LSO)2.0%
2.4 Soft Thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO)1.1%
2.5 Semi-rigid Thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO)1.8%
2.6 Rigid Thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO)1.5%
2.7 Thoracolumbar orthosis (TLO-hyperextension)1.0%
2.8 Semi-rigid Cervicothoracic orthosis (CTO)0.6%
2.9 Soft Cervical orthosis (CO)1.8%
2.10 Semi-rigid Cervical orthosis (CO)1.6%
Upper Extremity20.5%
3.1 Hand orthosis (HO)4.2%
3.2 Wrist Hand orthosis (WHO)11.4%
3.3 Elbow orthosis (EO)4.9%
Fracture Orthoses9.8%
4.1 Rigid sole shoe1.7%
4.2 Walking boot5.6%
4.3 Tibial fracture brace1.2%
4.4 Humeral cuff0.9%
4.5 Other0.4%
5.1 Compression garments1.9%
5.2 Lymphedema sleeves0.7%
5.3 Burn garments-custom0.3%
5.4 Hernia supports0.4%
5.5 Traction equipment0.2%
5.6 Canes0.3%
5.7 Crutches0.7%
5.8 Walkers0.5%

Respondents were asked which of four specific activities they perform with respect to 58 specific orthotic devices organized into four categories of devices by body area (see Table 19). On average, a slightly greater percentage of respondents Measured and Assembled and Fit devices than perform the other two activities. Overall, Measure is performed most frequently, followed by Assemble and Fit. A greater percentage of respondents perform the four activities with regard to devices in the Spinal area than with regard to devices in the other three areas.

Table 19

Breakdown of Activities Performed Within Each Device Type
Perform Initial InvestmentMeasureAssemble and FitPerform Follow-Up
Lower Extremity    
L-1686 Post-op hip orthosis33%39%37%33%
L-1800 KO, elastic with stays64%72%69%50%
L-1810 Elastic hinged KO67%74%72%56%
L-1815 Patellar tracking KO62%71%67%52%
L-1820 Hinged KO with condylar pads68%74%71%58%
L-1825 Elastic knee sleeve62%71%70%51%
L-1830 Knee immobilizer70%77%78%56%
L-1831 KO with locking joints53%58%56%49%
L-1832 Post-op ROM KO64%70%71%57%
L-1843 KO, unloader, OA type59%64%61%56%
L-1845 Prefabricated functional KO64%70%66%59%
L-1902 Ankle Gauntlet, prefab65%71%71%51%
L-1906 Ankle multiligamentus orthosis54%60%60%43%
L-1930 Prefabricated thermoplastic AFO48%52%51%44%
L-1932 AFO, rigid anterior section, carbon fiber or equal38%43%42%38%
L-1951 AFO, spiral, plastic, or other material31%35%33%31%
L-1971 AFO, plastic or other material with ankle joint38%41%39%36%
L-4350 Ankle control orthosis, stirrup style53%59%57%42%
L-4360 Walking boot, pneumatic68%75%76%53%
L-4386 Walking boot73%79%79%58%
L-4396 Multi-podus splint52%58%56%47%
L-4396 Plantar fasciitis night splint70%78%78%58%
L-0120 Soft cervical collar83%95%93%63%
L-0172 Semi-rigid collar83%93%93%70%
L-0174 Semi-rigid collar with thoracic extension82%90%90%81%
L-0210 Rib belt86%92%91%66%
L-0450 Thoracolumbar corset87%94%90%73%
L-0458 TLSO, two piece rigid shells, prefabricated85%91%87%79%
L-0472 TLSO Ant. frame hyperextension85%89%89%79%
L-0625 Lumbosacral corset, short86%94%93%67%
L-0626 LSO warm and form85%94%91%72%
L-0627 Lumbar orthosis with rigid ant/ post panels88%91%94%74%
L-0628 Lumbosacral corset, long89%93%90%74%
L-0631 LSO, with rigid ant/post panels88%92%91%80%
L-0633 LSO, with rigid frame or panel, with rigid ant/post panels87%92%88%75%
Upper Extremity    
L-3651 Shoulder immobilizer elastic55%63%62%44%
L-3670 Accromioclavicular splint38%40%40%30%
L-3675 Canvas shoulder motion restraint orthosis38%42%41%30%
L-3960 Shoulder abduction orthosis (Gunslinger, Airplane)41%45%45%33%
L-3980 Humeral fracture cuff43%48%48%38%
L-3710 Elbow orthosis with adjustable hinges50%54%55%43%
L-3908 Wrist splint75%84%84%56%
L-3908 Wrist splint with thumb70%78%77%53%
A-3650 Figure of 8 shoulder splint49%53%53%37%
L-3999 Tennis elbow strap64%69%71%45%
L-3700 Elbow sleeve with stays43%48%48%34%
L-3701 Elbow sleeve52%60%59%37%
L-0210 L-3760 Elbow orthosis with adjustable locking joints53%56%55%45%
Other Devices    
A-6533 Above knee compression hose55%60%59%43%
A-6542 Custom compression hose40%43%43%34%
L-3260 Post-op shoe64%73%73%48%
L-3260 Unloader shoe (Darco wedge type)55%62%62%43%
L-3649 DH pressure relief shoe42%47%48%34%
L-3216 Ladies’ depth inlay shoe44%48%48%40%
L-3221 Men’s depth inlay shoe44%48%48%40%
A-5500 Diabetic shoe57%61%59%52%
A-5512 Diabetic insert58%62%61%52%
A-6530 Below knee compression hose58%63%63%44%

Patient Profiles

Of the patients seen by respondents, 45% are adults (18–65 years), 41% are geriatric (66 years or older), and 14% are pediatric (up to 17 years). Slightly more than half (54%) have disease-related pathologies, 43% present with pathologies related to trauma, and 3% have other pathologies.

Table 20

Percentage of Patients in Each Age Category
Pediatric (0–17 years)14.1%
Adult (18–65 years)45.0%
Geriatric (66 years or older)41.0%

Table 21

Percentage of Patients with Each Type of Pathology