According to a study published by the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, a number of health trends are contributing to the rising demand for orthotics and prosthetics practitioners.

These trends, per the report, in a release by the Academy, include an increase in diabetes (15.3 million new cases in the US since 1980); heart disease (projected more than a 26% increase in cases by 2030); and obesity (on the rise, up more than 22% since 1960).

An additional trend is the aging population, with 72 million Americans predicted to be 65 years old or older by 2030.

Even more promising for those wishing to enter the orthotics and prosthetics field is that almost 25% of current O&P professionals are 55 years of age or older and may be likely to retire in the next 10 years, the report states.

Per the release, creative technologies, in particular, are thought to be fueling this increase in job opportunities. According to Academy President Rick Miller, CO, FAAOP, “As technology has advanced, for example in the areas of STEM and 3D printing, we see O&P professionals leveraging more effective solutions than ever before, yielding more opportunities for their patients.”

Examples of such technologies include proprietary reports on microprocessor-controlled prosthetic knees, the biomechanics of ambulation after partial foot amputation, and a variety of tools for O&P professionals working with upper and lower limb prosthetics.

[Source(s): American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, PR Newswire]