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Ossur is an Icelandic company, founded in 1971 in order to research, manufacture and market non-invasive orthopedics to the general public. These orthopedics now include a variety of products from supports and braces to revolutionary prosthetic limbs, all of which have the aim of helping people to ‘live a life without limitations’.
The company is a key player in American, Asian and European markets, and is continually expanding its influence to new countries. The expanse of Ossur means it can commit vast resources to research and development in order to produce innovative products for these markets.
What Makes Ossur Braces Unique?
Ossur is a company focused on the research and development of new materials, technologies and manufacturing techniques which can be incorporated into new product releases. This research and development is focused into six core areas:
- Mechatronics – combining electronic and mechanical engineering in prosthetics, in order to more accurately imitate natural human movements.
- Carbon Composites – finding new carbon-based materials which have properties useful for prosthetics and braces (e.g. light, strong and flexible).
- Silicone – this material has long been used in prosthetics as a comfortable way to join the prosthetic to the joint, but new compositions may further increase its uses.
- Textiles – a range of materials which can be used to provide greater comfort and improve the functionality of damaged limbs or joints (e.g. increasing blood flow).
- Injection Moulding – a manufacturing process which may improve the reliability of products as well as adding functionality.
- Mechanics – advancing mechanical knowledge can help to improve all products, giving them more functionality and progressing upon the uses they already have.
This large range of active research areas helps to make Ossur products state-of-the-art while maintaining their commitment to create products at a low enough cost to sell to the general public.
Ossur ligament and osteoarthritis knee braces include design features from this research to provide rigidity, flexibility, optimum protection and maximum stability to the knee joint, all while being lightweight and comfortable to wear. Different products within these ranges provide varying features for different lifestyles and even suitability for different sports (e.g. baseball, basketball, running, golf, etc.).
Which Medical Conditions are Treated by Ossur Braces?
The human knee is a complex structure which can be affected by ligament damage or osteoarthritis in a number of ways. Braces help these conditions by lowering the load the joint has to withstand, so therefore reducing painful symptoms in order to return to a normal life, which may include sporting activities.
The five most commonly damaged structures in the knee are:
- Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
- Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL)
- Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL)
- Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL)
Damage to each of these affects the knee differently and so therefore requires a unique style of knee brace. Knowing which structure has been damaged is vital and should be diagnosed by a qualified medical professional, so that the appropriate brace can be chosen.
Osteoarthritis is damage to the knee of a different variety - it is less often caused by a mechanical injury. As the condition worsens the cartilage protecting the knee degenerates and so simple movements can become painful as the bone is unprotected. Ossur knee braces help to reduce the load the knee joint has to withstand, which helps to reduce painful symptoms as the bones grind together.
For all Ossur products there is online support for each which offers primarily physicians, but also the public, a more in depth view of how each brace works and which will be most effective for specific conditions. This support can be found at the Ossur website ‘ossur.com’ under the subheading ‘Ossur Academy’.
- Ossur reported end of year sales totalling $401 million in 2011, a rise of 11.6% from the previous year.
- During 2011, 25 new and innovative products were released, including the first products in partnership with ‘Nike’.
- North and South America formed 51% of the company’s total sales in the fourth quarter of 2011.
- Ossur has 8 main operation centres around the world which offer customer support assistance, including one in California.
- Ossur employs roughly 100 research and development professionals at 4 centres around the world in order to design new products and improve existing ones.
- ’Fast Company Magazine’ voted Ossur as the 7th most innovative healthcare company globally.
- Ossur’s carbon fibre prostheses ‘Flex-Foot Cheetah’ is used by double-amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius (known as ‘The Blade Runner’).