With more than 40 percent of knee replacements occurring in patients over the age of 65 and the average onset of knee osteoarthritis (OA) occurring at the age of 53, DonJoy came to us knowing there was an inherent need for non-invasive, non-addictive methods to control pain and to support maintaining an active lifestyle. With the onset of knee pain, people tend to reduce their activity levels, but the most important thing they can do to slow the progression of the disease is to remain active.
Enventys Partners needed to develop a lightweight, customizable brace that addressed OA knee pain while maintaining a low profile so as not to interfere with the user’s lifestyle. To accomplish this, the product development team used webbing material made from silicone and a frame of aluminum and nylon components to keep the brace’s shape without adding bulk
The team also decided to use a dial system to allow for fine-tuning of the webbing. For the dial system to work, the team needed to tension the webbing towards the inside of the leg, but needed to keep the tension reels on the outside of the leg and easily accessible. A unique lacing path that runs through the moldable cuffs, along with guides that have been molded into the web, direct the lace and apply tension to the web.
Each material and component was tested throughout the process of developing the brace, based on the needs of the given component. In most cases, this involved testing to destruction in order to confirm load capacities and break points. This testing was done inside a controlled test lab, but also included extensive wear-testing with key physician partners and their patients, followed by in-office DFM (design for manufacturability) sessions.
Comments and feedback from patients and clinicians has shaped much of the final brace and its features. Based on findings from these tests, the team found a need to change several of the components prior to launch. The top priority from the start was to make the right brace with the right features that was comfortable, could be worn for extended periods of time and work with patients of all activity levels. Thorough testing helped achieve that goal.
Within 18 months, this product was taken from concept to production and now has full distribution.
The TriFit Web Knee Brace is the first brace to address OA and anterior knee pain.The 3D brace was engineered to be adjustable for optimum flexibility, movement and comfort. The brace offers an intimate and custom fit, designed to help reduce joint stiffness and pain by heightening shock absorption and dampening painful force and pressure. Users apply air-activated heat packs while wearing the brace, and the cuffs are softened to form to the exact shape of the leg. The molded silicone webbing works as a shock absorber that assists with full knee extension, patellofemoral tracking and applies force to side joints. The molded silicone webbing provides a comfortable, lightweight, low-profile solution that can even be worn under clothing before, during and after activity. The dial system allows for the fine tuning of the web tension. When the webbing is under tension, it works to dampen any forces running through the knee joint and helps to extend the leg to assist the user. All touch points and moving components, reels, lace, web and straps are highlighted with electric blue to allow for easy indication of how the brace is to be worn and how the forces are being applied to the leg to relieve and prevent pain. A custom circular knit suspension sleeve made out of carbonized bamboo, a natural alternative to antimicrobial fabrics, provides a comfortable interface between the brace and user.
Additionally, the OA Reaction TriFit Web Knee Brace features three unique technologies providing a custom fit for each individual.