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You have been referred you to the Complex Neuro Orthotics clinic at The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery (NHNN). This leaflet provides some information about the clinic and what to expect when you visit.

What does ‘orthosis’ mean?

An orthosis is an externally applied device. It may also be called a ‘brace’, splint or orthotic. It is designed to support or align the joints of the body to help improve function, reduce pain or prevent deformity. It can also be a protective device such as a helmet.

How can an orthosis help?

An orthosis supports or aligns your relevant joints. Dependent on the device used, it can improve your walking or function, assist with balance, reduce pain and prevent deformity. The orthosis design and purpose is specific to your needs.

What are the risks of orthoses?

Wearing any orthosis or splint can pose a risk, and we will talk to you about the risks and benefits of the most appropriate orthoses.

Your new orthosis or splint may feel a little uncomfortable at first. In order to minimise any discomfort or soreness they should be introduced gradually over the first few weeks, until they can be worn comfortably for the appropriate timeframe. Your skin should be checked after removing the orthosis each time for any red marks or blisters.

Most people report no problems with using an orthosis. Occasionally skin irritation or pressure can occur, but this is minimised with ensuring the device fits appropriately and wearing it in gradually.

What will happen if I choose not to have an orthosis?

In the orthotics clinic we will discuss with you any orthoses we think are most appropriate for you to improve your function. If an orthosis is not appropriate for you, or you decide that you do not want a device, we may be able to make recommendations for further specialist care. After the episode of care, we summarise our decisions in a letter to your referrer.

What alternatives are available?

In the orthotics clinic we will discuss with you the advantages and disadvantages of a variety of orthoses, other therapy treatment options or having no intervention.

How should I prepare for the Orthotic clinic?

Consider your main problem (or problems) with movement and what you would like to improve. You may find it helpful to write these down as well as any questions you may like to ask.

If you are being assessed for walking problems, we will assess the joints of your legs. Therefore, it is advisable to wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes such as trainers and clothing that can be easily rolled or pulled up above the knee. Alternatively, you can bring shorts or other suitable clothing to change into. Please bring any old or current orthoses and insoles, and your walking aid to the first appointment as you will be asked to walk a short distance.

Please bring the names and contact details of any health care professionals currently involved in your care as we may need to contact them after your appointment. The length of the appointment might be up to 35 minutes.

What happens during an orthotics appointment?

During your first visit to the clinic, you will be assessed as by an orthotist and a physiotherapist. An orthotist is a registered healthcare professional who specialises in assessment of ‘biomechanical’ (body movement) problems. If appropriate, they can prescribe, measure, and fit an orthosis.

We can offer advice regarding a comprehensive management plan as well as determine whether an orthosis may be useful for you.

What should I expect after my orthotics appointment?

Following your assessment, you may require a further appointment face to face or by video/telephone to fit or review the device. When you are given your orthoses, you will be given advice on an appropriate graded wearing regime. You may also be given advice about alternative footwear to use with your orthotic. You will be given our contact details in case of any queries you might have. If the orthosis is uncomfortable or is causing skin breakdown, you should stop wearing the device and contact us on: as soon as possible.

Where can I get more information?

Hospital Transport is available for patients who qualify, contact Transport Department for an assessment on 0203 456 7010.

PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service)

Contact the PALS team on:

Tel: 020 3448 3237


UCLH cannot accept responsibility for information provided by external organisation

Contact details

Complex Neuro Orthotics Clinic Box 64

The National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery Queen Square

London WC1N 3BG

Direct Line: 0203 448 3194

Fax: 0203 448 4737


How to find us

Please come to the main entrance of the National Hospital of Neurology and Neurosurgery. We are based on the first floor of Albany Wing in Therapy Services.

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Page last updated: 07 May 2024

Review due: 30 June 2025