Lower extremity orthoses are the most commonly prescribed orthoses. They are typically used to prevent deformities, enhance walking, alleviate pain and protect limbs.

Orthoses for the lower extremities can be categorized in four general classifications:

Hip Orthoses from Northern Prosthetics


These are used to treat hip dislocations or deformities. An example is the hip abduction orthosis, used to position the hip and lower extremity after a dislocation. These orthoses keep the affected joint abducted, or moved away from the median plane of the body. They are usually worn only during the rehabilitation process, and not long-term. Other types of hip orthoses include harnesses used to treat congenital hip dislocation and bilateral abduction orthoses to prevent scissoring of the legs, most commonly associated with cerebral palsy.

Knee Orthoses from Northern Prosthetics


These are braces which address deficiencies of the knee, including ligament damage, osteoarthritis and tendonitis. Knee orthoses for treatment of tendonitis and general knee pain are commonly made from neoprene or elastics, while orthoses for treatment of ligament damage are custom-fabricated from thermoplastics or laminates.

Ankle Foot Orthoses from Northern Prosthetics


These are appliances worn on the lower leg and foot to support the limb and hold the foot and ankle in a functional position. AFO’s are commonly used in the treatment of disorders that affect muscle function such as stroke, spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, polio and multiple sclerosis. AFO’s can be used either by providing support to weak or atrophied limbs or by positioning contracted limbs into a functional position. AFO’s are also used to immobilize the limb in the presence of arthritis or fractures. They are typically made of thermoplastics, custom-fabricated from a negative impression of the affected limb.

Knee Ankle Foot Orthoses from Northern Prosthetics


Commonly used when control of the knee, ankle and foot are needed. It will provide stability in the presence of disorders, such as stroke, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy and polio. KAFO’s are also used to position contracted limbs and to treat fractures. They are typically made of thermoplastics, custom-fabricated from a negative impression of the affected limb.


Upper extremity orthoses are devices applied externally to restore or improve functional and structural characteristics of the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. In general, musculoskeletal problems include those resulting from trauma, sports and work-related injuries. These orthoses are also used frequently on patients with neurological problems such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injury and peripheral nerve injury. Custom-made upper extremity orthoses are commonly made from low-temperature plastics, fabricated by occupational therapists and orthotists.

General Classification:

Static Orthoses: As the word static implies, these devices do not allow motion. They serve as rigid support in fractures, inflammatory conditions of tendons and soft tissue, as well as nerve injuries.

Dynamic Orthoses: In contrast to static orthoses, these devices permit movement. They are used primarily to assist movement of weak muscles or to assist in treating contractions.

Upper Extremity Orthoses from Northern Prosthetics


Spinal orthoses are commonly used to control back pain, to stabilize weak or injured structures, provide correction or prevent progression of a deformity.

General Classification:

Flexible Spinal Orthoses: These are typically garments such as corsets or binders used to treat low back pain, associated with degenerative disc disorders, trauma or postural deformities. They are used to unload spinal structures by increasing abdominal compression. Metal stays or molded inserts can be added to consider these orthoses semi-rigid.

Rigid Spinal Orthoses: These are commonly custom-fabricated and provide maximum support to the area being treated. A TLSO (thoracolumbosacral orthosis) controls motion in all planes, meaning spinal flexion, extension, rotation and lateral bending. A two-piece clamshell design is commonly used postoperatively for ease of application, while a front or back opening one-piece design is often used when treating scoliosis.

Spinal Orthoses from Northern Prosthetics


Today, more than 14 million Americans and an estimated 120 million people worldwide are afflicted with diabetes. It is important for diabetic patients to not only take care of their feet, but to wear proper footwear. Diabetic shoes are extra depth, often with soft linings for the “at risk” foot. Paired with an accommodative insole, the diabetic shoe can be a tremendous benefit for those fighting this disease. At Northern Prosthetics and Orthopedic Inc., a Certified Pedorthist will help you decide which shoes are best for you. In a wide variety of styles, we feature shoes by Apex, Aetrex, Dr. Comfort, and Dr. Zen. Your Pedorthist will also provide you with an accommodative insole, whether they are OTC or custom molded.

Diabetic Shoes from Northern Prosthetics


Custom foot orthotics are made from castings of your feet, ensuring the optimal fit. Custom foot orthotics are generally considered the best choice for treating painful foot conditions. Heel pain, ball-of-foot pain, knee pain, or low back pain are among the many conditions best treated with custom orthotics. Full-length accommodative orthotics for diabetic patients, sports orthotics for athletes, or functional dress orthotics are just some of the many types of custom orthotics available. Partial foot prostheses or those requiring toe fillers are also types of custom orthotics. At Northern Prosthetics and Orthopedic Inc., a Certified Pedorthist will evaluate your particular needs, and help you decide which orthotic is best for you.

Custom Foot Orthotics from Northern Prosthetics


Extra-depth shoes are specifically designed and constructed to address medical needs. Many footwear prescriptions call for foot orthotics to be worn inside the shoe, often requiring an extra-depth shoe. Northern Prosthetics and Orthopedic, Inc. carries a complete line of extra-depth shoes featuring Apex, Aetrex, Dr. Comfort and Dr. Zen. Through a thorough examination of your feet and your specific diagnosis, your Certified Pedorthist will help you decide which type of shoe is right for you.

Extra Depth Shoes from Northern Prosthetics


Over the counter (OTC) foot orthotics can provide those with minor foot problems with relief at a low cost. Conditions such as heel pain, ball-of-foot pain, knee pain, and low back pain can all be treated with an OTC foot orthotic.

At Northern Prosthetics and Orthopedic Inc., we offer a variety of OTC foot orthotics, from full-length accommodative, to three-quarter-length dress orthotics. Your Certified Pedorthist will help you decide which is best for you.

Over the Counter Foot Orthotics from Northern Prosthetics


Compression hose are used when an individual has circulatory problems due to venous insufficiency. Gradient compression delivers a “squeezing” to the leg that is tightest at the ankle. The degree of compression gradually decreases up the leg. This compression, generally expressed in mmHg (millimeters of mercury) provides two main benefits:

  • Compression is believed to increase the the pressure in the tissues beneath the skin, therefore reducing and helping to prevent swelling.
  • The physical presence of the stocking helps to reduce the size of the superficial veins beneath the skin. This reduction of “pooling” allows blood flow to proceed up the leg, and back toward the heart.


NPO Inc. carries a full line of canes, walkers, crutches and other ambulatory aids. A certified professional will help you choose which is right for you.

Canes, Walkers, Crutches from Northern Prosthetics