Upper Extremities Orthotics, A Review
Robert L. Bennett, M.D. *
UPPER EXTREMITIES ORTHOTICS, written and illustrated by Miles H. Anderson, Director, Prosthetics-Orthotics Program, University of California, Los Angeles, Calif.; published by Charles C Thomas, Springfield, Ill., 1965. 460 pages. Price: $15.50 Fig. 1
Upper Extremities Orthotics covers one particular system of orthotics as applied to the requirements of impaired upper extremities- and it is a very excellent system indeed. Such a book is badly needed, and I know of no other that compares with it. In fact, the only part of the book that I dislike is the title. Upper Extremities Orthotics is a possessive tongue twister-and, of course, I personally prefer the term "orthetics" to "orthotics"! In the light of the great value of the contribution made by this book, this is really no criticism at all.
Upper Extremities Orthotics is a greatly expanded version of Functional Bracing of the Upper Extremities published in 1958 and a much better all-round text. It is superbly-perhaps even a little extravagantly-illustrated. Its greatest value is that it serves both the student and the expert orthotist. It is primarily an instructional manual for the orthotist, rather than a textbook. The physician and the therapist will have to dig a bit to get the most out of it; however, they will find it to be well organized once the format is understood. Chapter 3, "Functional Arm Braces," is new and particularly well presented.
At first reading I felt that the discussions of functional anatomy were elementary and unnecessary, but they do serve as quick reference and certainly do not detract from the value of the book. I heartily agree with the comments on "gadget tolerance," in which the author emphasizes that patients will not tolerate more than a certain amount of apparatus fastened to their bodies. He points out that, in general, the less the patient's handicap the less tolerant he will be of appliances to offset it.
The standards set in this method of orthotics are high, and not all orthotists have the skill to fabricate and fit these devices-and, I might add, not all orthotics shops can afford to; but this book should be in their libraries and in the libraries of all physicians who accept the responsibility of caring for the physically impaired.