Orthotics and Prosthetics

What are orthotics and prosthetics?

Orthotics are devices that support or correct parts of the body that are weak, injured or not working properly. Prosthetics are devices that replace missing body parts.

Orthotics and Prosthetics at Seattle Children’s

In growing children and teens, fitting orthotics and prosthetics is especially important. At Seattle Children's, we specialize in caring for children of all ages, from birth through age 21. Our team of experts supports your family through every stage of the process. We meet with you to assess your child's needs and goals; take careful measurements to ensure proper fit; build and fit your child's device; and follow up with you to make sure the device functions well as your child grows.

We may also suggest that your child be seen at 1 of our specialty clinics, including the Lower Limb Differences Clinic, the Cranial Helmet Clinic and the comprehensive Spine Program, which offers the Schroth method for the treatment of scoliosis.

Why choose Seattle Children’s Orthotics and Prosthetics?

Whether your child's needs are temporary or lifelong, our Orthotics and Prosthetics team will work with your family to assess and treat your child's unique situation and meet your family's goals.

  • At Seattle Children’s, your family has a full team behind you, from diagnosis through treatment and follow-up. From our appointment schedulers to our pediatric nurses, our team is specially trained to work with children and their families. Our facilities and equipment also reflect this kid-friendly, family-centered approach. 

  • Our team specializes in pediatrics and is accredited by the American Board for Certification in Prosthetics and Orthotics. We have expertise in assessing your child’s needs and fitting your child with an orthotic or prosthetic device to meet their goals. We custom make many of our devices and ensure they fit properly and work well as your child grows.

Conditions We Treat

At our clinic, we see children with many conditions, including:

  • Arthrogryposis (arth-ro-grip-OH-sis) causes stiff joints and muscle weakness that can affect your child's movement. It most often affects shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, hips, knees and feet. Providers use splints and braces to try to improve range of motion. They may also recommend physical therapy. Read more.

    Braces that patients with arthrogryposis may use include:

  • Cerebral palsy (CP) is a condition that affects your child's muscle tone and ability to move on purpose in a coordinated way. CP can lead to other health issues, including learning disabilities, and vision, hearing and speech problems. CP is most often caused by damage to the brain. There is no cure for CP. Different types of treatment, special equipment and surgery, in some cases, can help your child live with the condition. Read more.

    Braces that patients with CP may use include:

  • Babies born with clubfoot have one foot or both feet pointing down and in. Their toes point toward the opposite leg and the bottom of their feet face inward. In some cases, it looks like the baby's foot is upside down. Clubfoot does not get better on its own. If it is not treated, it can cause discomfort and make your child's foot work poorly. With treatment, there is an excellent chance your baby's foot will look good and work well. Read more.

    Braces that patients with clubfoot may use include:

  • Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) refers to a variety of problems in how your child's hips form. Some of these problems are present at birth (congenital). Others develop as your child grows. DDH makes it more likely that your child's leg bones can come out of the hip joint (dislocation). The condition ranges from mild to serious. For the best results, it is important to diagnose DDH early and begin treatment quickly. Read more.

    Braces that patients with DDH may use include:

  • Children with limb deficiencies are missing part or all of their legs, feet, arms or hands. Some children are born with limb deficiencies. Others have limbs removed due to injury or accident, or to treat serious medical conditions. Read more.

    Braces that patients with limb deficiencies may use include:

  • Pectus carinatum (PECK-tuss care-uh-NAW-tum) is a breastbone (sternum) and rib cartilage deformity that causes the chest to push outward. It is caused by a defect in the tough connective tissue (cartilage) that holds the ribs to the breastbone. It is sometimes called “pigeon chest” because the chest can look like a bird’s breast. Pectus carinatum symptoms can include pain. Read more.

    Patients with pectus carinatum may use a custom pectus brace.

  • Positional or deformational plagiocephaly (PLAY-gee-oh-SEF-uh-lee) is a flat spot on the back or side of a baby’s head that causes a lopsided head shape. One area of a baby's head can be flattened somewhat by pressure on the bones of the skull. The pressure can come from the baby's position in the mother during pregnancy or from the baby resting in the same position during the first several months of life. Babies who have conditions that limit their movement are more likely to develop the condition. Read more.

    Patients with positional plagiocephaly may use a cranial remolding helmet.

  • Scoliosis is a sideways curve in the backbone (spine). On an X-ray, most children's spines (vertebrae) look straight. The spines of children with scoliosis curve to the side, like the shape of the letters S or C. Many children have slight side-to-side curves in their spines and usually do not need treatment. The bones and tough connective tissue (cartilage) in the spine of children with scoliosis have greater than 10 degrees of curve and may require treatment. Read more.

    Braces that patients with scoliosis may use include:

  • Spina bifida is a neural tube defect. The neural tube is what develops into the brain and spine of an unborn baby. Spina bifida occurs when the neural tube fails to close. There are many forms of neural tube defects that vary in severity. Some forms, such as spina bifida occulta (oh-cull-tuh), cause few problems, if any. The most severe form, meningomyelocele (muh-ninge-oh-my-uh-low-seal), often causes loss of muscle use (paralysis) in the leg, bowel and bladder, along with learning disabilities. Read more. (PDF)

    Braces that patients with spina bifida may use include:

  • Spondylolysis (spon-dee-low-LYE-sis) is a spine defect. Children with spondylolysis have a problem in the bones (vertebrae) of their lower back. Doctors think the problem may be due to tiny cracks in the bones (stress fractures). Too much use causes these cracks to develop over time. This problem is not usually present when the baby is born.

    Spondylolysis may lead to spondylolisthesis (spon-dee-low-lis-THEE-sis), which is spine slippage. In a normal backbone, the bones are stacked on top of each other with disks in between them that act as shock absorbers. When 1 of the bones slides forward off the disk and onto the bone underneath it, it is called spine slippage. Read more.

    Braces that patients with spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis may use include:

  • Trauma refers to injuries and accidents that may cause children to need orthotic or prosthetic devices.

    Braces that patients with trauma may use include:

Scheduling an Appointment with Orthotics and Prosthetics

Telemedicine at Seattle Children’s

You may be offered a telehealth (virtual) appointment. Learn more.

Participate in Research

Help us answer questions about childhood health and illness, and help other children in the future. Learn more.

Contact Us

For more information, contact Orthotics and Prosthetics at 206-987-8448. If you would like an appointment, ask your child’s primary care provider for a referral.

Providers, see how to refer a patient.

Paying for Care

Learn about paying for care at Seattle Children’s, such as insurance coverage, billing and financial assistance.