Frequently Asked Questions

What is orthotics?


Orthotics is a specialty within the medical field concerned with the design, manufacture and application of orthoses – an externally applied device used to modify the structural and functional characteristics of the neuromuscular and skeletal systems. Orthoses are designed and fitted to the body to achieve one or more of the following goals:

  1. Support or correct musculoskeletal deformities
  2. Support weakened joints
  3. Control biomechanical alignment
  4. Enhance of maintain mobility
  5. Protect and support an injury
  6. Assist rehabilitation

An orthosis can take the form of a brace, splint, orthotic insoles and orthotic shoes.




What does an orthotist do?


According to the Ministry of Health, an orthotist is a specialist who is a part of a multi-disciplinary healthcare team caring for those who require mechanical devices to support or supplement abnormal joints. He/she is the primary medical clinician responsible for the prescription, design, manufacture and management of orthoses to relieve pain and discomfort in a patient's body.

An orthotist at TLM is further required to have combined knowledge of anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, biomechanics & engineering, and should be able to analyse X-ray images & MRI scans.




What are the conditions that can be treated by an orthotist?


  1. Relieving various pains in the musculoskeletal system: foot pain, knee pain, back pain, shoulder pain, arm pain, hand pain, etc.
  2. Support and/or correct musculoskeletal deformities: flat foot, high arch, bunion, bow legs, knock knees, scoliosis, etc.
  3. Protection and support for injury or surgery.
  4. Rehabilitation and recovery for injury or surgery.




Are orthotists qualified medical practioners?


In the past, an orthotist works under an orthopedist; manufacturing orthoses according to the instructions from an orthopedist.

However, following the maturity of the field, an orthotist receive more comprehensive training in relevant fields of medicine and are thus qualified to set up their own independent practices.




Orthoses, Braces, Splints, Protheses, what are their differences?


A medical brace is an externally applied device used to restrict movement of the joint it is fitted to by holding it in place. This may be done to allow an injured joint to heal. They are unable to modify the structural and functional characteristics of the musculoskeletal system like an orthosis.

Braces and splints are non-corrective orthoses; they are prescribed to assist in rehabilitation. Corrective orthoses on the other hand are prescribed to modify the biomechanical alignment of the body and they serve as treatment.

If we take the example of a spinal condition, a brace is prescribed if the vertebrae are not misaligned, as shown in picture 1. The brace serves to lock the spine in place while the surrounding tissues heal.

However, an orthosis is prescribed if any of the vertebra has shifted out of alignment, as shown in picture 2. This is because an external force has to be applied in order to push the misaligned section back into its original position.

A prosthesis is an externally applied device used to replace wholly or partly an absent or deficient limb segment. It is also classified as a brace.




Is it normal for someone to feel pain or discomfort when wearing orthosis?


Orthoses, such as orthotic insoles and scoliosis or spine braces, are non-invasive devices, causing no harm to the human body. Therefore, an orthosis designed and manufactured by a good orthotist should be comfortable to wear, without causing any pain, discomfort or irritation.

It is akin to putting on a pair of spectacles; a pair of correctly prescribed spectacles will enhance your vision once you put it on. Good results will be shown between half an hour to two hours after wearing TLM's orthoses. This is TLM Foot-Knee-Back-Arm Orthotics Centre's guarantee to our patients.




How are orthoses manufactured and why do their prices vary so much?


The price of an orthosis will vary depending on its function, including intended length of use, as well as its manufacturing process, which determines cost.

Pre-fabricated braces are usually priced below a thousand dollars because they can be produced cheaply in bulk at factories.

Custom-made corrective orthoses made by an experienced orthotist on the other hand are priced between $1,000 to $10,000 because they require a very time consuming and messy process. A mould of the patient's feet has to be taken and made into a cast to serve as a model for biomechanical realignment. There is a significant amount of hands-on skill required of the orthotics technician who makes the devices. Therefore, a lower volume of orthotics can be manufactured by this method.




How is it possible to cure foot pain, knee pain or back pain using TLM orthoses?


Foot pain, knee pain and/or back pain arise because of misalignment of the musculoskeletal system. TLM orthoses corrects these misalignments by pushing the misaligned joints back into place in order to relief pain. As can be seen from the example above, the structure of the patient's foot improved significantly after wearing TLM orthotic insoles.




How does TLM Orthotic insoles feel like when you wear them?


Initially, you may feel like you are walking on clouds in the sky. After 10-20 minutes of wearing insoles, the bottom of your feet will feel more comfortable. Foot size will change after wearing insoles, thus it is the orthotist's responsibility to match a suitable pair of shoes for the customer.




How frequently do I need to change TLM Orthotic Insoles


For children who are strong and healthy, 1-2 pairs of insoles are needed as foot size changes when they grow taller. For children who are weaker, 2-3 pairs of insoles are needed.

For teenagers who are undergoing their growth spurts (approximately 12-15) more pairs of insoles may be needed as there will be rapid changes in their shoe size.

For adults, 1 pair of insoles can be worn for a long period of time. Wearing insoles is like wearing spectacles, if there is no further changes to the biomechanical alignment of the feet as a person ages, a pair of insoles can be worn for more than 10 years.