What is an orthosis? 

An orthosis is something you wear on the outside of your body. It is designed to support your body to do something; this could be sitting, walking or running. Orthotic devices are also given to help prevent soft tissue shortening (muscle, tendon, ligament or skin) or deformity. 

What are the different types of orthoses? 

Orthotic devices are named based on the parts of the body the cross or support: 

  • an AFO is an ankle foot orthosis
  • a TLSO is a thoraco-lumbar-sacral orthosis but may also be known as a spinal jacket 

Instructions for use – how often and how long?

The orthotist and physiotherapist will work with you to agree an individualised wearing regime best suited to your needs. You will need to gradually increase the length of time you wear your orthosis so that you get used to it. You will be given advice about this by your physiotherapist, if you are unsure at any time check with them. 

Skin integrity 

It is important to check the skin regularly for signs of redness or marking. If you notice any redness on the skin which persists for more than 30 minutes after removing the orthosis or the skin is starting to break down, stop using your orthosis and seek advice from your physiotherapist.  

For more details, please see the Sussex Community Foundation NHS Trust's children's pressure care leaflet. 

What to do if they are causing pain and discomfort? 

Our aim is that your orthosis is comfortable and helps you. It may feel a little different while you get used to using it. However, if you experience pain or rubbing, or you find it very difficult to use please contact your physiotherapist to discuss the problems you are having. 

When do I need my orthosis reviewed? 

If you have grown or if your splint becomes uncomfortable it will need to be reviewed. You may notice an increase in marking or that your orthosis has become too short eg: your toes are near/over the end of a splint or your TLSO is more difficult to put on. For a review contact your physiotherapist. 

What to do if the orthosis breaks, needs repair or replacing 

For repairs to your orthosis, please contact your physiotherapist and do not attempt to repair it yourself. Please keep your orthosis clean and dry wherever possible. You will be given additional care information from John Florence Ltd about your specific orthosis when you take it home. 


If you have been provided with a foot orthosis the orthotist and physiotherapist in clinic will advise on suitable footwear. This is likely to be a larger size than your current shoe size. Often the best shoes are wider or deeper to accommodate a splint or insole.  

This leaflet only provides general information, you must always discuss the individual treatment with your physiotherapist. 

Do not rely on this leaflet alone for information on your orthosis. 

To access more information about this resource and the service related to it, you an review the related resources below.

Related services

  • Physiotherapy for Children

    This service provides paediatric physiotherapy services to babies, children, and young people up to the age of 18 (up to 19 if in special education) across Brighton and Hove and West Sussex.

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