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What is an Orthoplast™?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Feb 06, 2024
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Orthoplast™ is a material which is designed for use in splinting. This material can be used in a number of different ways in medical settings for things like temporary splints and braces, corrective bracing devices, and supportive braces. Doctors use Orthoplast™ to make custom-fitted braces which will provide comfort and support without injuring the body by forcing it into an uncomfortable or impractical position.

This product is a type of thermoplastic. When Orthoplast™ is shipped to doctors, it comes in flat sheets of material. The doctor can cut a piece of the sheet and then heat it. When heated, the Orthoplast™ becomes malleable, with an almost rubbery texture, and it can be molded around the area being braced or splinted. As it cools, it hardens, and a brace which fits perfectly has been created.

Orthoplast™ comes in perforated versions to allow air circulation as well as plain sheets, and it is usually white. It is often recommended that padding be used under the brace to distribute pressure, prevent sores, and increase patient comfort. Orthoplast™ also has to be filed once it is fitted so that sharp edges do not gouge the patient. It can be attached to tapes, rods, rivets, and other devices which can be used to fix it in place.

One advantage to Orthoplast™ is that it can be used to make a custom brace of any size. A doctor may use it to make a brace for treating someone with scoliosis, for example, in which a large sheet would be needed to cover the back. It can also be used for things like creating custom lightweight splints for injured fingers.

An orthopedic surgeon may utilize Orthoplast™ as part of a cast, or for bracing when a patient is out of a cast and additional support is still required. It can also be used in the management of stress and strain, and for corrective bracing which is designed to address issues such as poor posture or abnormal growth patterns. It is important that fitting of Orthoplast™ be supervised by a doctor who can confirm that the fit is correct and who can minimize the risk of injury to the patient. Because it is necessary to warm the plastic up in order to fit it, doctors who work with Orthoplast™ also need a device which can be used for heating the plastic up to a safe but functional temperature.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By OhDeDoh — On Jul 06, 2011

I am an avid skier in the winter seasons. Even though I have a pretty good amount of experience, I still am not immune to the occasional tumble. This last ski season, I went end over end before coming to a stop in the powder.

Luckily, I mostly had minor mumps and bruises, but I did sprain my wrist rather badly. It was not an injury where an ace bandage was going to suffice.

My doctor used Orthoplast to create a wrist splint and brace that fit perfectly and was light weight. I have had casts before, and much prefer the use of Orthoplast. I found it to be more comfortable while I was healing.

By Andras — On Jul 05, 2011

My little brother is very into sports and being active, but has a habit of coming home with injuries so often that we are pretty much on a first name basis at the emergency room in town.

The latest injury was two broken fingers from a tree climbing mishap. We were lucky those were the only broken bones. The doctor used Orthoplast to splint my brother’s fingers and they healed as well as can be expected.

The Orthoplast material is great because it is so versatile. I hope I am wrong, but this probably will not be my brother’s last encounter with Orthoplast.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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