The SofTec Genu for complex knee instabilities “Evidence is good, but being able to feel it is better”
The age and requirements of the customers change. The Klinz medical supply retailer in Bernburg (Saale), Germany, rediscovers a tried-and-tested knee orthosis: the SofTec Genu is increasingly used to treat degenerative, rather than traumatic instabilities.
Gerd Klinz himself is his own best example. The CEO and owner of the Bernburg medical supply retailer recently received a knee replacement. “Many of our mainly older customers are also familiar with degenerative symptoms, which culminate in surgery sooner or later,” the expert orthotist says. “But the younger ones among them want to stay active, before and after the operation, just like me!” Gerd Klinz wears a SofTec Genu under his jeans. Initially, it helped him to move more securely, and he still values its stabilizing effect now. This orthosis is usually the preferred product for physically active patients with torn cruciate ligaments or meniscus or collateral ligament injuries. With securing joint splints, straps and tension-stable knitted fabric, it provides appropriate support in the sometimes lengthy recovery after knee injuries. The SofTec Genu stabilizes the joint according to the four-point principle like a hard frame orthosis and, additionally, via the proprioceptive effect of its knitted fabric that can only be stretched in a longitudinal direction. The comparative study by Strutzenberger et al. published in 2012 proved this high level of stabilization of the knee in test subjects with an ACL tear. The study demonstrated a significant reduction in tibial shift and an improvement in the strength and reaction time of the muscles (see also Bauerfeind life 3/2011)1. At the Klinz medical supply retailer, a different group of customers is now beginning to use the stabilizing orthosis.
Golden-agers at the medical supply retailer
With demographic change, the typical applications of aids can also shift. Products that work reliably and whose design can be adjusted individually for the wearer should be easily adapted to changing demographics. The Klinz medical supply retailer has been taking advantage of SofTec Genu’s flexibility for its older customers for some time now: “Generally speaking, we see the 55+ generation with its typical degenerative diseases of the knee,” Carsten Reinsch, Head of the Hospital Field Sales Department , describes the target group. “Nevertheless, this generation feels that these are its best years for unusual activities: I’ve also treated extreme mountaineers and deep-sea fishers.” Despite their individuality, however, life has also taken a toll on the joints of these golden-agers. What they have in common are wear-related conditions such as osteoarthritis of the knee with subsequent complex instabilities. “Furthermore, circulatory disorders occur almost inevitably at this age, accompanied by a corresponding tendency to swell ,” the orthopedic technician describes the conditions requiring treatment.
Understanding the possibilities
of the product
“We examine our knee patients very closely to see whether the SofTec Genu would be suitable for them,” Carsten Reinsch emphasizes. “That’s the only way to avoid treatment with the wrong product.” In general , eligible customers include those with complex instabilities without large axial deviations caused by arthrotic changes. However, the correct orthosis alone is not enough. “From an economic or, of course, from a therapeutic point of view, it makes no sense at all to choose the wrong person,” Gerd Klinz affirms: “The customer should understand the product with all its possibilities. The same applies to the physicians and the health insurance providers. We have to fight for long-term treatment with the SofTec Genu often enough. After all , that’s its domain. So we are very pleased when customers support us by, for example, calling the insurance company to explain.” The level of suffering is quite helpful here. “If the patient finally experiences relief with this outstanding orthosis, they are immediately convinced – on a purely subjective level ,” Carsten Reinsch, the pragmatist , grins. “Evidence is good, but being able to feel it is even better.”
A close look at the customer takes time. “A colleague and I have scheduled an appointment of one or two hours tomorrow,” the orthopedic technician says. “An elderly knee patient is travelling specially from Berlin with her grandchildren to have a consultation with us.” From what they know of her, the SofTec Genu might be suitable for her. Might be. It is a lot of effort for both parties. “If we wish to provide optimal treatment for our customers, there’s no alternative.” That’s why they have all the sizes of the ‘full-contact’ orthosis in stock. It can be put on and taken off in service-friendly patient cubicles. With the SofTec Genu, customers then complete a secured walking route equipped with cameras to get objectifiable effects. Even if the applications of the SofTec Genu have shifted from young to old in Bernburg, one thing has stayed the same: agile users with an agile attitude.
1 Strutzenberger et al.: Effect of Brace Design on Patients with ACL Ruptures, Orthopedics & Biomechanics Int J Sports Med 2012; 33: 934–939.
Images: Freddy Czaja Fotografie
Klinz, a medical supply retailer in Bernburg, uses the SofTec Genu mainly to treat older patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and complex instabilities.
- The active 55-plus generation wants to remain active, even after procedures on the knee due to degenerative changes.
- The wrong treatment can be avoided if the patient, physician and the health insurance fund understand the product and its features.
- The excellent stabilizing effect of the SofTec Genu, according to the four-point principle, combined with proprioceptive stimuli, is a clear advantage for long-term treatment.
About the product
SofTec® Genu: Functional orthosis for stabilization of the knee.