Prosthetics and Orthotics is a unique paramedical health profession which provides biomechanical devices to physically disabled persons.
The science of orthotics involves the design, fabrication, and fitting of braces (orthoses) intended to prevent or correct deformities, protect a painful part of the body, or improve the function of a weakened extremity.
The science of prosthetics involves the design, fabrication, and fitting of artificial limbs (prostheses) intended to replace an extremity which has been lost through amputation or absent at birth.
The featured technologies explained below are a sample of some of the great orthopaedic products that are routinely used at Nipissing Orthopaedic Laboratory Inc. Please read about these amazing products in greater detail below.
- F-Scan: digital pressure mapping of the feet
- WalkAide: neuroprosthetic device for drop foot management
- SpineCor: scoliosis treatment for the adult and pediatric population
- C-Leg: microprocessor prosthetic knee control
- Finn Comfort Orthopaedic Footwear: fine German Orthopaedic footwear
- Aircast Walkers: part of diabetic ulcer management tool, as well as lower leg injury management
This segment gives you information from one of the most sophisticated manufacturers of pressure mapping technology available today. We acquired this technology to further enhance our clinical evaluations skills as we go forward. It will especially helpful in treating difficult foot ulcers in the diabetic population and for more complex foot alignment pathologies that we see on an routine basis.
It is unique because the sensors are placed directly in the patient’s shoes which allows us to quantify empirically the effectiveness of your orthotic device.
Marc Tessier CPO (c)
(Illustration) F-scan capturing peak pressure points of the feet with and without orthotics.
From Tekscan, the manufacturers of this technology:
Do you have foot or ankle pain ?
Chances are, you are not alone. The average person takes thousands of steps each day, which results in the placement of extremely high pressures on the feet. This can lead to biomechanical problems with lasting effects. On top of that, everybody is unique and has a different walking pattern, and as a result, leads us to the need for individual treatment. There is no “one size fits all” with foot problems. Now it’s easier than ever to evaluate your condition with foot pressure measurement technology. With this state of the art system, we can now essentially “see” inside your footwear and under your foot to evaluate your condition. Many conditions are treatable with modern medicine. However, assessing motion, and more specifically how you walk, has always been limited. Gait is dynamic, and everything happens quickly. To make an assessment, we need to capture each movement from the second your heel hits the ground.
Pressure mapping technology allows us to do that by capturing pressure data in each phase of motion from heel contact to toe off. The information it provides on how your feet are functioning and how you are walking helps us prescribe effective treatment for you. These tests are used to evaluate almost any type of problem possible, whether it is to assess how effective your orthotics are, detect a limb length discrepancy, assess low back pain, identify areas of potential ulceration for a diabetic, and even to evaluate surgical procedures.
Individuals with rheumatoid or osteoarthritis with alterations in joint integrity or function that alter the weight-bearing surface of the foot and runners and joggers who experience shin splints, stress fractures, ligament pain and other foot, ankle and knee concerns will also benefit from this exam. Foot pressures are obtained by wearing sensing insoles or by walking over a sensing floor mat. The sensors are connected to electronics which captures the data as you walk in real-time. Vivid, easy-to-understand graphics will let you and your doctor see what is happening while you walk.
These sensors have extremely high resolution, which, similar to a digital camera, allows for the most accurate “picture” of your foot and reporting of the pressure values. High risk areas, foot function and gait can be instantly identified. Your treatment can then be planned and executed accordingly. If necessary, a follow up test can be done to substantiate the effectiveness of treatment.
The software displays the pressures with a color scale. Areas of red indicates highest pressures while blue indicates lowest pressure. Illustrated representations of the foot precisely locate and demonstrate pressure distribution in real-time, frame by frame. The user-friendly software will display your foot strikes dynamically as a “movie”, frame by frame. You can view side-by side comparisons of before and after treatment to evaluate effectiveness. Data taken after treatment shows high pressure areas were reduced as evidenced by lack of red. Treatment attempts to reduce high pressure problems and walking disorders are difficult to assess without this test. With this data, we can objectively see the improvement.
Diabetics are prone to developing pressure ulcers on their bottom of their feet because of their inability to feel the ground as they walk. This becomes extremely serious because this loss of sensation predisposes them to breakdown of skin and infection which can lead to if not treated to amputation. Pressure measurement technology senses what you cannot feel and allows your clinician to offload potential sites of ulceration.
You can have different types of foot problems but once we find the problem, we can alleviate your symptoms and treat it.
A computerized gait exam assesses your condition in the actual environment that causes that particular problem. We can actually see what is happening while you walk and give you the best treatment for your condition based on this data. Ask us about a computerized gait analysis exam. Your treatment will be evaluated to ensure it is right for you. Your can get visual printouts to understand what is happening. And most importantly, you get better faster.
WalkAide is an exciting new technology which allows certain people with upper motor neuron lesions the ability to walk without the use of an AFO (ankle foot orthotic). Up until now AFOs were the only option available for these clients with a “drop foot”. This is very exciting for these clients because it means that they can wear any footwear that they choose in their proper size, without worrying whether it will suit their brace. The WalkAide constists of a cuff and a small unit that needs to be worn around the leg just below the knee. It is very light and compact. All it takes is a simple test to determine whether someone is an appropriate candidate. WalkAide is especialy suited for patients with multiple sclerosis or for patients with spinal cord injuries.
I took the two day WalkAide course in Ottawa in May of 2008. If you or someone you know may be interested in this technology please contact our office for more information. Nipissing Orthopaedic Laboratory Inc. has all the testing equipment required to evaluate the suitability of WalkAide for you.
Karen Boehm CO (c)
Dropfoot (also known as drop foot, foot drop and footdrop) is a condition characterized by weakness or paralysis of the muscles involved in lifting the front part of the foot. It causes a person to either drag the foot and toes or engage in a high-stepping walk called steppage gait. A significant number of individuals – men and women, young and old – experience difficulty with the most simple day-to-day activities because of mobility dysfunctions such as peroneal nerve palsy that lead to dropfoot. WalkAide was designed to restore mobility to those individuals seeking a return to independence.
WalkAide is a neuroprosthetics device that channels electrical stimulation to the leg and foot in order to restore typical nerve-to-muscle signals, effectively lifting the foot at the appropriate time. WalkAide is among the most celebrated and highly regarded neuro prosthetic innovations available today because many people experience immediate and substantial AQ improvement in their walking ability.
Unlike a traditional Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO), WalkAide employs advanced sensor technology to actually analyze the movement of the leg and foot. WalkAide then sends electrical signals to the peroneal nerve, which runs along the outside of the lower leg and controls movement in the ankle and foot. These gentle electrical impulses activate the muscles to raise the foot at the appropriate time during the step cycle, creating a natural and efficient walking pattern. Although WalkAide is a highly advanced medical device, it is surprisingly small and discreet, and quite easy to use. It consists of a battery-operated, single-channel electrical stimulator, two electrodes, and electrode leads.
WalkAide is applied directly to the leg – not implanted under the skin – and can be worn discreetly under most clothing. A cuff holds the system in place. No surgery is required.
Aircast cast walkers used for immobilization are considered by many to be the finest cast walkers on the market today. They are used extensively at Nipissing Orthopaedic Laboratory for treatment of foot ulcers and Charcot joint immobilization routinely. Aircast has a wide variety of orthopaedic products, but the Aircast walker is their flagship product and is used around the world.
I have been fitting these top quality German made Finn Comfort orthopaedic footwear since 1985. This brand of shoes features some of the finest built-in foot orthotics available in footwear today. Their foot orthotic supports all three arches of the feet comfortably. An impressive feat that very few manufacturers are able to do. They also have the finest diabetic suitable footwear called Preventative for all diabetics who present with or without loss of protective sensation. Finally, Finn Comfort’s finest footwear is called Finnamic that feature steel shanks and rockered outsoles at the heel and toe. Multiple features makes them the finest shoes on earth for people who have to walk and stand for a living such as nurses, teachers and retail workers.