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College Football and Knee Bracing – The Why Behind the Wear

Published by Jeff on Tue, 10/01/2013 - 15:24 in

For many sports fans, every Fall is a much-anticipated season.   Watching college football for some folks is as much a part of the American pastime as going to the movies.  The reality of these young athletes competing at high levels presents an attraction that many of us watch with intense interest and enjoyment.  For a manufacturer, the excitement goes a step further with our eyes fixed on the braces that some of the players wear on their knees.

There is a variety of reasons why some of the players wear braces while they play but the primary purpose is protection either following an injury or to prevent an injury from occurring. For example, you may notice a player in a skilled position (e.g. running back) wearing a knee brace on one knee – this is usually an indication that they are recovering from an injury or surgery and seek the protection that a brace can provide.  On the other hand, you’ll often find the offensive linemen on many of the teams wearing knee braces on both knees – in this case, the primary purpose being to protect the players’ knees from being rolled up on (by an opposing player) and causing serious injury.

Making it to the Top – There's a Balance

Published by Jeff on Wed, 06/05/2013 - 08:53 in
Basketball Players

With the NBA playoffs in full swing, we’re witnessing who many believe to be some of the world’s finest athletes perform on what is arguably one of the highest paid stages of competition – the professional basketball court.  These players bring speed, skill, experience, and physical discipline to a game that demands lightening quick reflexes as well as a physical and mental toughness.  While they have worked and trained for many years to reach this pinnacle of American sport, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that these players are a chosen few, an elite group that many children choose to emulate.

Given the love affair that our society has with sports, it’s no surprise that parents encourage this aspiration for top performance from their children.  The notoriety and money that many  professional athletes command and enjoy is intoxicating for a family with a child.  For those who possess any or all of the key physical attributes that they believe are the building blocks of athletic fame, this is particularly compelling.

What's in the Price

Published by Jeff on Mon, 04/15/2013 - 10:02 in

When I hear discussions about the renewed interest in lower pricing from hospital administrators, purchasing managers, and the like – much of it to do with reimbursement pressures associated with health care reform - I’m reminded of the quote by Leon M. Cautillo, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after low pricing is forgotten!”

Though low price is a logical pursuit in the current environment of reimbursement control and reduction, those who make these requests must be mindful of the trade-offs that are a necessary part of this process. 

As opposed to the simplistic angle of cost cutting, a far better approach is to look at the entire value stream built around a number of factors, not the least of which are the efficiencies created by a strong working relationship between the customer and the supplier.   From customer service and sales rep responsiveness to consistent order fulfillment to fair and reasonable return policies you must evaluate the entire package offered by the supplier when assessing the “net” cost of doing business with them.

As long as there are customers to be served, you will have suppliers who will compete to differentiate themselves and, in so doing, will more than likely deliver more than just the product or service that you are buying.  Indeed, you’re buying a product and service package and it’s important to recognize this when negotiating the price.

T Scope® Premier Post-Op Knee Brace

Published by Jeff on Thu, 03/28/2013 - 12:37 in
T Scope Premier Post-op Knee Brace

When it comes to post-op bracing, it’s the little things that matter!  From ease of use features that allow convenience of application to design “angles” that serve to optimize patient comfort, I suggest that the finer details of a post-op brace won’t be lost on your patients and your practice.

Protected range-of-motion (of the knee) is a pretty common goal during the first few weeks following knee surgery – particularly after surgeries like meniscal repairs – and most post-op braces are made with that primary objective in mind.  But Breg has raised the bar with the new T Scope® Premier.  For example, the use of bright colors to highlight and distinguish the extension stop button and extension and flexion angles for easy reference and readability is a marked improvement over its predecessor, the original T Scope.

Another example of the importance of paying attention to detail is around tenderness over the incision site – post ACL reconstruction.   The T Scope Premier makes a technical leap with the optional BridgeTech™ padding.  You simply remove the small pad(s) – which would ordinarily rest over the site of tenderness – and allow the rest of the pad to bridge over the incision site without compromising suspension of the brace. 

Seven Reasons to be Optimistic

Published by Jeff on Tue, 02/05/2013 - 13:50 in
Orthopedic Doctor

With so much of the news we hear every day involving tragedy and heart break of one sort or another, I thought it a good idea to reflect on some of the reasons that we should be optimistic. Even in the midst of change and anxiety about the future of healthcare, we have a lot of positives that we should be mindful of as we reflect on the state of our industry:

There's Nothing Strange About a Sprained Ankle

Published by Jeff on Tue, 01/08/2013 - 09:32

I think it's a safe bet that most everyone reading this blog has sprained an ankle at some point in their lives. About 25,000 people in the U.S. suffer an ankle sprain every day. I don't think many would disagree with the suggestion that it's one of the most common orthopedic injuries. Whether sedentary or an athlete, we most likely share the painful experience of our ankle rolling over on us unexpectedly.

While the anguish of a mild or moderate ankle sprain is effectively treated with the standard approach of rest, ice, compression, and elevation (R.I.C.E.), there are a variety of conservative approaches to stabilizing the more severe ankle sprain. In the acute phase, designs and devices like the ankle stirrup and walking boots provide you a lot of treatment choices as a clinician. These products are all quite similar with some interesting design angles aimed at patient comfort and compliance.

Breg Ankle Stirrup and Walker Boots

Top 10 reasons why Patients Wear Off-loading Knee Braces

The Freestyle OA Knee Brace for Osteoarthritis

Off-loading knee braces are a commonly prescribed treatment option for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. The success of which is determined by a few factors as you can see below:

  1. The prescribing physician has a positive attitude about the how the brace can help the patient.
  2. The patient has a positive outlook on what knee bracing can do for his/her condition.
  3. The patient has tried other conservative therapies and is not satisfied with the results.
  4. The patient has unicompartmental OA changes (in the knee) – not bi-compartmental.
  5. If the patient is a young athlete, he/she shows some degree of damage to the articular cartilage on one side of the knee and the physician wants to off-load that compartment.
  6. The patient leads a very active lifestyle, and he or she does not want partial or total knee replacement surgery at this time.
  7. The patient is properly educated on how to apply and when to wear the product (to get the optimal results).
  8. The brace fits and stays in place on the leg.
  9. The brace is comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time.
  10. The color of the brace matches the tennis outfit!

Off-loading knee braces offer the health care professional a non-operative treatment option for osteoarthritis of the knee that can deliver benefits to the patient – as long as it starts with a positive attitude on the part of the patient and the physician.

Differentiating One Company from the Next

Published by Jeff on Tue, 11/13/2012 - 13:43 in
Breg Booth at AANA

While I was at the Fall AANA (Arthroscopy Association of North America) meeting and exhibition held last week in Phoenix, I was reminded of how difficult it might be for health care professionals to tell one device company from the next. At a glance, a lot of their products seem to look alike. Moreover, every exhibit booth has sales people waiting to "pounce" on you as you attempt to find yourself a mere cup of coffee!

"Don't forget that it (your product or service) is not differentiated until the customer understands the difference." Tom Peters

As Tom Peters suggests, the responsibility of each company is to educate you on these distinctions and a trade show is the perfect venue to do so. The challenge, particularly for a rehab company in the midst of surgical companies showing their devices, is to represent a significant value to the physician or health care professional to warrant them stopping and discovering the differences. There is no better place than an exhibit hall to do some comparative shopping.

Health Care Solutions Part III - What Can Manufacturers Do To Help?

Published by Jeff on Tue, 10/09/2012 - 13:11 in

Optimizing patient care is an objective that all manufacturers pursue with admittedly different approaches and, sometimes, varying results. Not unlike other industries, we each bring various philosophies and styles to this common pursuit along with strong beliefs that the finished product will deliver both patient and customer satisfaction. In our efforts to differentiate our products (for a competitive advantage) with the use of new materials and technologies, can we continue to deliver on this patient care promise in a cost effective manner?

Where's the balance between delivering a superior, reliable, and effective product that reimburses at a reasonable level and that patients can afford as well?

Fortunately (for the customer), there are market forces that continue to place downward pressure on pricing including competitors (looking for an easy sale and market share gain) and the reduction in Medicare reimbursement (and the private payers following suit).

Health Care Solutions – Part II – It Starts with You

Published by Jeff on Tue, 09/25/2012 - 10:03 in
Health Care Solution - Its Starts with You

One of the things I like to do for exercise is run. It's a great form of cardio fitness and it requires little or no training or preparation. You can simply step out your door and get started. A word of caution, though, for those who have osteoarthritis and who have been told to lose weight. You should take this on in stages by walking first and progressing to fast walking before contemplating running — being overweight can cause too much stress to your knees while running. Along with a good diet, though, you can graduate to running after you're successful in reducing your weight!

Even though running is a fairly simple form of exercise, you can still find yourself with overuse injuries. For example, if you're experiencing IT band, take a read of the following suggestions/recommendations from a local physical therapist here in San Diego:

Q: Why does the outside of my knee feel tight or hurt after running? Sometimes I have to stop and stretch my legs before I can go on.

A: These problems may be due to a tightness of the Iliotibial Band (ITB) that is a fibrous band of tissue that stretches from the outside of the knee to the Tensor Fascia Lata (TFL) muscle on the outside of your hip.