There are many specialties within the field of medicine. Most people can name a few, usually the more popular ones like pediatrics, surgery, or orthopedics. Orthotics is a less known branch of medicine that deals with devices like braces and splints. While the name of this specialty may not be familiar, many people have probably been treated with it at some point. There are many types of injuries that are treated with orthotic devices, mainly broken bones and sprains. Broken fingers are a fairly common injury because we use our hands so much and the finger bones are relatively small and thin.
The most common treatment for one or two broken fingers is a splint; especially with the pinkie or ring fingers, doctors will often simply fix it to another finger until it heals. Broken toes are treated in a similar manner. Even larger bones like some in the arms and legs might be treated with orthotics. Both the forearm and the lower leg have a large, supporting bone and a smaller bone next to it. When these smaller bones are broken, a cast is not always necessary. Sometimes a brace is enough to hold a broken arm in place while it heals. Braces are also common for sprains, when the soft tissues of a joint are damaged. Sprained ankles are one of the most common injuries; people often step wrong or on an uneven surface and hurt their ankle. For minor sprains, a brace is usually sufficient to let the ligaments heal, whether it is an ankle, knee, or wrist.
Many people will have an injury that falls in the category of orthopedics.
Prosthetics have been used in varying forms for thousands of years.