Do You Know the Difference Between Orthotics and Prosthetics?

Did you know that Knit-Rite makes medical textiles for everyone? Well, pretty much! 🙂 Are you an amputee? We’ve got you covered with our comfortable soft socks! Are you pregnant? We’ve got you with our fashionable maternity leggings! Are you dealing with swelling? We’ve got you with our compression socks! Do you wear AFOs? We are here with our SmartKnit AFO socks! Are you diabetic or dealing with sensory sensitivities? We’ve still got you with our completely seamless SmartKnit diabetic socks and SmartKnitKIDS sensitivity socks.

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Knit-Rite’s major focus is on orthotics and prosthetics textiles. We see these every day, but do you know the difference between these two? The major difference between orthotics and prosthetics is that while an orthotic device is used to enhance a person’s limb, a prosthetic device is used to replace a limb entirely.

Orthotics, from the Greek word “ortho” means “to straighten.” That is exactly what it means – to correct or support the movement, shape or function of a body part, such as torso, limbs and other extremities. Some of the many types are back braces, knee and foot braces.


Prosthetics are designed to replace a lost or missing body part.   Advanced prosthetic legs designed with carbon fiber and allow some athletes to run at nearly Olympic levels. Equipped with a prosthetic arm, a patient may return to the work, perform everyday tasks, or enjoy hobbies that would be extremely difficult or impossible without the prosthetics.


While orthotics and prosthetics differ mainly in function, they are often constructed using some of the same materials such as advanced plastics and nylon. Strong lightweight metals like aluminum and titanium are becoming more common in these devices, taking the place of steel, which is much heavier.

As I mentioned earlier, Knit-Rite makes socks for everyone. These include KAFO and AFO socks for protecting the skin from the orthotic device. We also make Soft-Socks and other prosthetic socks for the same purpose with prosthetics.

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This blog is a short, but sweet beginning to explaining the difference between two very important products that we make. To find out more information on specific Knit-Rite products, check out our website at




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