Frequently Asked Questions

What is a prosthesis?

A Prosthesis, or prosthetic, is an artificial limb. It is used when a person’s natural limb is missing or absent.

What is an orthosis?

An Orthosis, or orthotic, is a brace that corrects a part of the body. It can also stabilize and protect part of the body.

What is a Physiatrist?

A Physiatrist is a physician that specializes in rehabilitation and physical medicine.

What is a Certified Prosthetist or Orthotist?

A Certified Prosthetist CP(C) or Orthotist CO(C) is a professional who has completed extensive training in assessing, designing, creating, fitting and evaluating the use of prosthetic and orthotic treatments.

How do you become a Certified Prosthetist or Orthotist?

To become a Certified Prosthetist or Certified Orthotist, one must complete a post-graduate Prosthetics and Orthotics Program offered at either the British Columbia Institute of Technology in Burnaby, British Columbia or George Brown College in Toronto, Ontario. Following graduation, the individual must complete a minimum of a 3450-hour residency and pass a series of comprehensive examinations before being designated as Certified.

How do I choose a Certified Clinician or clinic to work with?

We recommend that you meet a few clinicians and choose the person you feel most comfortable working with. The relationship you develop with your Prosthetist or Orthotist is a long-term one. It is also recommended you choose someone who is Canadian Certified, to ensure the best care. To find a list of clinicians near you, you can visit

Do I need a prescription?

Most funding agencies require a prescription from your doctor to be submitted before they will approve to cover your treatment, for small adjustments and repairs however, it isn’t always needed. As your clinician or family doctor to clarify the prescription criteria.

What should I bring to my appointment?

Bring your prescription and any details about your insurance company. If you are visiting about your lower extremities (foot, knee, hip), please bring a pair of shorts and comfortable walking shoes. If you are visiting about upper extremities (elbow, shoulders, back) please bring a tank top to wear.

Who pays for this treatment?

For information on available funding, please visit the Funding page.

How often should I see my Prosthetist or Orthotist?

You should see your Prosthetist or Orthotist if you notice any of the following:

  • Pain or discomfort in your limb
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • A change in your activity level
  • Damage or wear on any parts of your prosthesis or orthosis

What is the warranty on prosthetic and orthotic devices from Pentland’s?

A. All custom made and most pre-fabricated orthoses are covered for reasonable repairs and adjustments for 60 days from the dispense date. (Example: If a pair of foot orthotics is dispensed on January 1, 2014, then most adjustments are covered up to March 1, 2014). Certain components and braces will have a manufacturer-set warranty period and Pentland’s will handle any warranty replacement that you require. Patients are always welcome back for adjustments beyond the “warranty period”, when they may be charged a fee.


What will my prosthesis allow me to do?

Your prosthetic will allow you to return to a similar level of activity you enjoyed. It depends on the level of limb loss, the condition of your limb, and the time you can put in rehabilitation. For people who have lost part of their upper limb, the prosthetic can greatly enhance grasping during single and bimanual activities. Talk to your Prosthetist to get information on your specific situation.

How long will my prosthesis last?

During the first 6 – 12 months after the loss of your limb, the remaining tissue will likely experience shrinking and swelling. Your prosthetic will require a preplacement to maintain a perfect fit with your limb. After your limb has stabilized, your prosthesis should last approximately 3 years, depending your age, activity level, weight gain or loss, and many other factors. For children a prosthesis may only last 6 – 12 months.

Can I drive with a prosthesis?

Yes. Your Physiatrist, with the help of the rest of rehabilitation team, will determine whether modification is necessary for your vehicle or if you need to take another driving test. You will be required to renew your license disclosing your missing limb.

Can I swim or shower with a prosthesis?

Prostheses are not intended to be put in water, however, we make specialized water prostheses. Talk to your Prosthetist for more information on getting a water prosthetic for your needs.

Can I run or do high impact sports with my prosthesis?

There is no limit to sports people with limb loss or absence can excel in. We have many clients who ski, run, swim, bike, and play hockey. However, your physical condition, as well as the specific components in your prosthesis, will greatly impact the ease of which you can do these activities. Some feet, knees and other components are specially designed for running and high levels of impact. For those with upper extremity limb loss, there are a variety of terminal devices suited for each individual sport ( examples can be found here ). Typically, if someone is interested in a high impact sport, they will get a second prosthesis that is dedicated to that specific activity. For more information, please talk to your Prosthetist.

Foot Wear

Does Pentland’s make custom footwear?

Yes, Pentland’s can provide custom footwear. Custom footwear is sometimes required for individuals who cannot wear conventional shoes due to foot shape deformity, sever edema, or traumatic injury. We also can adjust or modify existing footwear. See our Orthotics page for more information.

Knee Bracing

Do I need a referral to get a knee brace from Pentland’s?

You do not need a referral to see a trained specialist. Having a prescription can expedite the application process for funding assistance, or getting reimbursement from your extended health care place.

How much does a knee brace cost?

Cost depends on your lifestyle, limb shape, and severity of the knee injury. Because of the vast selection of braces, prices can range from $50 to $2000 (subject to change). The total amount quoted will include your assessment, consultation, casting/measuring appointment, fitting appointment, any necessary follow-up appointments (within 60 days), and taxes.

What is the difference between Custom Made Knee Braces and Off-the-Shelf (pre-fabricated) knee braces?

A custom-made knee brace is specifically for you, we will take casts and measurements to insure the best fit. Off-the-shelf knee braces are pre-manufactered and will fit most of the population, they come in standard sizes, small, medium, large.

Does my extended health over the cost of a knee brace?

Most insurance companies will cover either a portion or the full amount of the cost for a knee brace. It depends on your plan and coverage with the insurance company. We can provide a quote to take to your insurer to see if they will cover it. See the Funding page for more information.

Do I wear my knee brace on or over my clothing?

A knee brace is designed to be worn directly on the skin. Medical grade padding and straps are safe to be in direct contact with bare skin. If skin irritation occurs, wearing a knee sleeve or legging can reduce discomfort.

How often do I need to wear my knee brace?

Wear time is different for each person. Your health care team, your Physiatrist, Orthotist, and Physiotherapist, determines how long you should wear your knee brace. We recommend a short break-in period with 1-2-hour wear times for the first week, so you can adjust the brace and its corrective forces.