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Expertise on osteoarthritis of the knee at medical supply retailers Uninhibited mobility

Issue 01/2020

Demographic change can often be noticed on the knee – as can be seen at medical supply retailers. Active and less active customers alike hope for fewer problems. Relieving orthoses provide new mobility in cases of osteoarthritis of the knee.

The new GenuTrain OA orthosis, adapted here for lateral relief.
The new GenuTrain OA orthosis, adapted here for lateral relief.

Osteoarthritis of the knee is a widespread condition, and comprehensive change can be observed when it comes to how this condition is being dealt with. There is no other part of the body where the need to continue living an unchanged mobile and active life, even in old age, is so obvious. However, there is also often a wide gap between need and reality. Osteoarthritis of the knee is and will remain the most common joint condition in the world. Problems associated with loss of joint cartilage in the knee are more likely to increase than decrease because of growing best-ager generations. Under no circumstances do rising numbers of those affected want to give up their active lifestyles, despite pain and limitations. The Fendel & Keuchen medical supply retailer in Aachen, Germany, has recognized the signs of the times. Andreas Bartsch has been observing for a while how the new, discerning knee client base is growing. Alongside siblings Janine and Karsten Keuchen, he is one of the managing directors of the company in Aachen. “The type of patients has completely changed over just ten years,” he reports. “Previously, managing everyday activities was the top priority. Nowadays, customers with osteoarthritis want to go skiing and jogging. Plus, a significantly higher number of older people is visiting us than before.” However, it is not just the needs of knee patients that have changed in recent years. The range offered by medical supply retailers has followed suit and has become more extensive. One category of medical products stands out: knee orthoses for relief and correction.

Dominic Winkens (center) leads a specialist team for osteoarthritis of the knee at Fendel & Keuchen. During wearing tests, he checks, for example, the fit of the products, such as the SecuTec OA orthosis.
Dominic Winkens leads a specialist team for osteoarthritis of the knee at Fendel & Keuchen. During wearing tests, he checks, for example, the fit of the products, such as the SecuTec OA orthosis.

GenuTrain OA and SecuTec OA provide relief

These orthoses provide (more) mobility by reducing pain. The SecuTec OA hard frame orthosis, for example, reduces pressure that damages the cartilage in cases of pronounced axial misalignments by gently exerting the relieving force via the lower leg. Its special feature is that it is suitable for both sides. The orthosis can be adapted to the patient in a varus or valgus setting, and, depending on the pain experienced, relieve the lateral or medial knee compartment. SecuTec OA is usually used for moderate to advanced osteoarthritis of the knee. Movement with little pain and longer walking distances are possible again for those affected.
Another OA orthosis was added recently to Fendel & Keuchen’s range: the GenuTrain OA. It is designed to effectively relieve patients who are still very active during their daily life and want to keep it that way. 25 subjects, who Field Sales Manager Dominic Winkens was able to attract to carry out a wearing test , wanted to give it a try. The result: according to the orthotist , “about 90 per cent were won over by the positive effect of the GenuTrain OA.” This new knee orthosis is suitable for patients with mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knee. Much like SecuTec OA, GenuTrain OA also relieves the joint on the medial or lateral side – SecuTec OA is used for pronounced axial misalignment , while GenuTrain OA is the ideal choice for axial misalignments up to about 10 degrees. Thanks to its knitted 3D mesh fabric, this single-hinged orthosis lies close to the leg and offers a lot of freedom of movement. According to customers during the wearing test , a deciding factor for the high compliance is, most of all , the Boa® Fit System that is used to guide the relief straps around the thigh and calf in a double figure-of-eight. It allows the exertion of precise tension thanks to a dial. The relieving effect can therefore be adjusted by the patients
themselves whilst wearing it.

“We ask customers about their goals”

 He explains the use of supports, such as GenuTrain A3.
Dominic Winkens explains the use of supports, such as GenuTrain A3.

The ability to allow for individual customer requests makes all the difference during treatment. “We ask customers about their goals and their hobbies, too,” says Dominic Winkens. “GenuTrain OA, for example, is perfect for patients who have been suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee for many years but are very active and want to delay joint replacement for as long as possible.” The best medical product , however, doesn’t guarantee correct use. For this, Fendel & Keuchen has a trained team for osteoarthritis of the knee led by Dominic Winkens. After the orthosis has been put on and its use has been explained to the customer, they can try out the product and walk while wearing it. “The first impression counts. Do I feel secure? What about the pain? In positive cases, the decision is made quickly.”

Avoiding incorrect treatment

Not only customers, but also physicians and health insurance providers need targeted education when it comes to orthoses. DGOU (German Society for Orthopaedics and Trauma) guidelines do say that “osteoarthritis of the knee can be treated conservatively using foot orthoses, shoe fittings and orthoses” – but not everybody knows in detail that orthoses differ and can, for example, be adjusted by patients themselves whilst wearing them, like GenuTrain OA, or that they can gently exert relieving force via the lower leg in cases of pronounced axial misalignments, such as SecuTec OA. Incorrect treatment could be avoided. Fendel & Keuchen feel that it is their duty to educate, show a selection of products and be a contact partner (see interview page 20). The complete spectrum of treatment options for the purposes of these holistically oriented guidelines can be found in the company’s portfolio. Fendel & Keuchen carries out shoe fittings and offers orthopedic foot orthoses. The medical supply retailer recommends compression supports with proprioceptive effect , such as GenuTrain and GenuTrain A3, when the first stability deficits occur, and carries out orthotic adjustments to relieving hard frame or more flexible knitted orthoses. The providers are there for their patients and their goals. An active life with osteoarthritis of the knee is possible.


Images: shutterstock.com/Yok_onepiece (1), Michael Bause (3)


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