As you are adjusting to your orthotic device, you will likely have several milestones you want to achieve with the device. Some will be immediate concerns, while others focus on permanent, quality-of-life improvements.
When you use orthotics, it is helpful to have clarity about your goals – for yourself and for your medical team. Your orthotics specialist and other healthcare professionals can help create a customized plan with clear timelines as you adjust to your orthotic device.
Mapping Your Progress
It is helpful to determine your long-term goals first, so you can break them into several manageable short-term goals. Beneath each separate long-term goal, list the short-term milestones you need to accomplish to reach your goal. Once you begin adjusting to life with orthotics, completing these milestones can be tremendously satisfying and motivating.
You may want to consider making a spreadsheet or handwritten list of a goals you can check off to create a tangible way to track your progress. This will help you to assess your strengths and weaknesses and determine if you need to alter your plan (or seek outside help) to reach your goals.
When you are using an orthotic device to prevent a potential deformity or heal a severe break, you are likely to need medical testing to determine your progress towards reaching your long-term goals. Regardless, correcting the condition should be placed at the top of your long-term goal list.
Next, begin mapping out the specific functions you want restore, or gain for the first time. For example, your medical team will already know that “walking more steadily” is a goal for your child with cerebral palsy. But when you specify what your ideal outcome from orthotic devices is, and communicate your specific long-term goals, it may help you to achieve the goals that you set.
Your main long-term goal may be to simply feel less pain throughout the day by reducing pressure from arthritic joints with a back brace. There might be specific times where you would like to be pain-free, such as visiting with your grandchildren or when you go on walks around your neighborhood. Communicate your specific needs and lifestyle with your orthotic specialist.
Often, the immediate milestone patients want to achieve is improving their quality of life with orthotic devices. The short-term goals related to owning one or more devices involves actively learning how to properly use and care for them.
The next step is to break down your remaining long-term goals into manageable steps. For instance, if “improving hand function” is a long-term goal related to your orthotic device, break that concept into different skills you want to master. These many include small goals such as brushing your hair, holding a spoon, and using a computer. Each milestone represents a short-term goal as you work towards your main objective. For example, if you were using a knee–ankle–foot orthosis, you could set a short-term goal of being able to walk farther than you did the previous week while wearing your device.
Getting Help with Your Orthotic Device
It is important to follow your orthotist’s in-office demonstrations and instructions for wearing and caring for your device. The team at Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics in Arkansas will work with you to help you reach your short and long-term goals.
No matter what type of orthotics you may need, you can expect the dedicated team of professionals at Horton’s to be with you every step of the way. If you would like to learn more about your orthotic options, please contact Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics today at 501-683-8889 to schedule a consultation.