Discovering new options together

Fendel & Keuchen, Aachen/Germany

From Bauerfeind Life Magazin on 02.03.2023

As a company with an innovative mindset, Fendel & Keuchen is always ready to try new things. Since the launch of the CoxaTrain, the medical supply retailer has been exploring with prescribers and patients which treatment opportunities are offered by the light brace for osteoarthritis of the hip and general hip problems.

“Many osteoarthritis patients who come to us have several problems at the same time,” reports Andreas Bartsch, master and, alongside siblings Janine and Karsten Keuchen, member of the management team at Fendel & Keuchen medical supply retailer. “Our mission is finding out what the individual patient needs and providing the best products for their treatment.” 

In the catchment area of Aachen and the surrounding region, the medical retailer is known as an osteoarthritis specialist with a diverse service offering, treating all types of the condition. Naturally, the owners were very interested when the new CoxaTrain hip brace was introduced. “It’s a niche product that we were missing from our range,” remembers Andreas Bartsch – this was one of the first medical retail stores to add this innovation to their portfolio.

Initially, gathering and sharing practical experience required additional consultation and more in-depth communication – not only at the main branch in Aachen and the six branches in the Rhineland, but also in doctors’ offices, hospitals and during home visits. The focus was on reciprocal learning. What do patients feel when they are wearing the product? How do they cope with everyday activities? What combination is beneficial for comprehensive treatment approaches in cases of long-term indications typically associated with an array of accompanying symptoms?

One insight that Andreas Bartsch and orthotist Dominic Winkens have gained and pass on to physicians and patients is that the positive effects of the CoxaTrain are not necessarily fully noticeable on the first day. Pain reduction often becomes apparent after the first week, as do the effects on gait and walking distance. They observed, however, that patients suffering from severe osteoarthritis of the hip, and therefore significant discomfort, noticed relief even when putting on the product for the first time. Accompanying indications, such as back pain, are often more dominant in patients with early-stage hip problems. They tend to notice the effects a little later.

“A niche product that we were missing from our range.”

Andreas Bartsch

CoxaTrain for back patients suffering from hip pain

An essential basis is the trust that Fendel & Keuchen has developed with local doctors’ offices, physiotherapy practices, hospitals and rehabilitation clinics. This foundation allowed them to gather excellent case studies when testing the CoxaTrain on both sides and after surgery when healing took longer than anticipated.

Good care is all about good communication 

The consultation determines the success of osteoarthritis treatment. An experienced professional will address the individual patient’s needs, conduct functional analyses and ask targeted questions, for example relating to knee or back problems. They try to read between the lines, they look at movement sequences and examine clues – “detective work” as Andreas Bartsch likes to call it. Patients are often concerned when they get diagnosed with osteoarthritis. The consultation helps them understand why they are being prescribed a brace and what they can do with it. “Communication is paramount,” adds Dominic Winkens. During the first appointment, it’s also important to assess the customer’s goals: pain reduction during everyday activities or at work, relief during hobbies or exercise? The experts explain how movement sequences work and how they are influenced by the brace. This also includes hands-on demonstrations, touching the patient, says Andreas Bartsch and he adds: “When supplying medical aids, you need to have in-depth specialist knowledge and a keen interest in addressing people’s needs and concerns.”

Dominic Winkens and his colleagues know: the more comprehensive the consultation and induction, the fewer questions will be raised later on. This promotes compliance and treatment success.

Letting patients discover the brace

Once the CoxaTrain has been fitted and adjusted, experts recommend wearing it for just a few hours per day at first, allowing the patient to develop a feeling for it, sensing the support it provides, and simply to get accustomed to it. “We then leave it up to the patients to find out what works best for them,” Andreas Bartsch explains. During everyday activities, they will quickly find out in which situations they need support, and which donning strategy works best. At the check-up appointment that is scheduled by Fendel & Keuchen after six months, the experts ask questions and follow up. Feedback has been completely positive so far, and it coincides with the experiences healthcare professionals have made with regard to compliance: “The brace is beneficial, and patients enjoy wearing it. The fit is excellent, which is also confirmed by bigger patients,” Dominic Winkens reports. It is no surprise then that numerous Fendel & Keuchen patients are already wearing a follow-up product, and some surgical candidates were able to delay their procedure for longer than expected because they have their problems under control.

“The CoxaTrain is perfect for me” 

Ingo Palm, operator of a fuel station and osteoarthritis patient

He was the first osteoarthritis patient who was treated with the CoxaTrain on both sides: Ingo Palm, always subjected to physical strain as a self-employed operator of a fuel station with a drinks cash-and-carry retail store, could not get used to the thought of regular injections or a total hip replacement, so he went to the medical supply retailer in Aachen to find out more. He was quickly won over by the brace. Always open to new things, he tested a product for both sides, supported by orthotist Dominic Winkens. It was very successful, as Ingo Palm confirms: “The CoxaTrain is perfect for me. I wear it every day, from morning til evening, and I’m pain-free,” he says and adds: “I can basically do everything, I’m very mobile. I am happy!” You can find Ingo Palm’s story on Bauerfeind’s YouTube.

Images: Bauerfeind, Michael Bause

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