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What it takes to be a Board Certified Pedorthist


Pedorthists specialize in using therapeutic shoes, shoe modifications for therapeutic purposes, below the ankle partial foot prosthesis and foot orthoses to address lower-limb, knee and hip related problems and pathologies that start at the ankle or below. A pedorthist understands the properties of footwear and the interaction between the patient’s foot and the device or shoe, which makes them skilled at evaluating feet and fitting footwear.

When a foot requires medical attention, footwear becomes a factor in the patient’s treatment, recovery or rehabilitation. The doctor treats the patient’s foot and the pedorthist addresses the patient’s
footwear needs. After the physician has determined what kind of assistance the footwear should provide for the patient, a prescription is written which informs the pedorthist about what care is needed.

When a patient’s ability to walk is affected, everything that surrounds or touches the foot – whether it’s foot orthoses, shoes, boots, slippers, sandals, socks, hosiery, night splints, partial-foot prosthetics or other devices – interacts with the foot. A pedorthist selects and modifies footwear and/or other prosthetic or orthotic devices to help people maintain or regain as much mobility as
possible. They also possess the skills and knowledge to make adjustments both inside and outside of footwear including the creation of products to assist in a patient’s recovery.

Foot orthoses are an important component of footwear that can accommodate, support or relieve specific conditions, as well as improve the foot’s function. In addition to designing and fabricating an appropriate orthosis, a pedorthist provides personalized attention in selecting, fitting and modifying shoes so that the orthosis can be worn and function effectively.

Pedorthists follow up with the patient to make sure the footwear functions as the doctor prescribed. A footwear prescription takes into account the patient’s medical history, activities of daily living and treatment goals.

Increasingly, doctors and other qualified prescribers write footwear prescriptions to relieve pressure, redistribute weight, accommodate or support medical conditions, prevent injuries, compensate for imbalances or overuse and preclude the worsening of damage to the foot.

In addition to addressing lower limb problems, footwear prescriptions can address foot-related problems, such as lower back pain, pelvic imbalances or other limits to the patient’s physical ability to perform. Footwear prescriptions can even help athletes return to their sports faster from some minor injuries.

Many Pedorthists are in private practice, either in a doctor's office type of setting or in a retail environment, seeing patients by appointment. Others work in hospitals and clinics as part of an in-house treatment team. The future prospect of the field is unlimited based on the growing number of people with health conditions related to the pedorthic practice area, such as diabetes.

 

 

Education and Training in Pedorthics


The study of pedorthics requires knowledge of anatomy, pathology, biomechanics which involves human locomotion, gait analysis, kinesiology, physiotherapy and other related fields.

Students attend specialized pedorthic courses to learn about footwear fitting, lower extremity orthotic design, fabrication and materials, shoe construction and modification, and patient and practice management.

A list of approved pedorthic education courses is available on the Pedorthic Footwear Association’s web site, www.pedorthics.org. All listed courses are approved by the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE), the recognized authority for the development and approval of pedorthic education. Course listings can also be found on NCOPE’s web site at www.ncope.org. Many courses combine on line learning with in person training, providing the flexibility to learn at your own pace and minimize expenses for classes outside of your geographic region.

Once a future pedorthist has completed the pedorthic course, they obtain training in order to gain experience utilizing pedorthic approaches and techniques in a real world setting. After completion of
1,000 hours of practical experience, one is eligible to sit for the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC) Certified Pedorthist (C.Ped.) examination.

The examination to become an ABC Certified Pedorthist (C.Ped.) is a three hour, multiple-choice computer based exam which consists of 165 items designed to measure the candidate’s knowledge of pedorthics. The exam tests the candidate on pedorthic assessment, formulation of a treatment plan, implementation, practice management, ethics and professionalism. Exams are given three times a year at locations nationwide.

C.Ped.’s maintain their ABC credential by participation in the Mandatory Continuing Education (MCE) program and renewing their credential each year. Credentials are renewed at the end of each five year MCE cycle after the C.Ped. has earned 55 continuing education credits in the five year cycle.

There are a few states that require a license or C.Ped. certification to practice pedorthics. Individuals should check their states requirements. The ABC provides licensure examinations in those states that require one.