KAFO Three-day workshop with Fior & Gentz
Earlier this year, John Young, the specialist orthotist in supplying KAFO’s, went on a the three-day workshop with Fior & Gentz, global leaders in the development and distribution of orthopaedic systems, based in Lüneburg, Germany.
What is a knee ankle foot orthosis?
KAFOs are used to help those with a range of muscle-weakening conditions such as muscular dystrophy, post-polio syndrome, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. They provide stability to the knee and lower limb and realign and redistribute the pressure on the leg.
Traditionally KAFOs have been heavy, cumbersome, often made from metal. For those that rely on orthotics for support, they can be hindered by discomfort and exhausted from wearing them. Historically, KAFOs have meant a locked knee joint, locking the leg into a stiff, fully-extended position. What has been needed is a free-swinging orthotic joint which allows the knee to bend and flex under the wearer’s control.\\
Better technology, better manufacture, better function
The new KAFOs are built using sensors containing gyroscopes which measure the knee, ankle and foot position relative to one another and take a precise digital reading which acts as a reference moving forward.
Making the most of neuro-tronic technology.
The joint sensors and microprocessor understand when a person is standing on the leg and it needs to be locked, and then when the leg is lifted off the ground and swinging through the air, it is therefore required to be unlocked. This means that the knee joint is mechanically stable when standing – stance phase – and releases when the leg is in the air – swing phase. They are generally lighter too, with all joints being made from direct-milled titanium, replacing the conventional two joints with one. The results mean the gait cycle is smoother, it’s easier to walk and requires less energy.