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The C-Brace is an intelligent electronically controlled knee ankle foot orthosis (KAFO). Its primary clinical use is for those who have partial or incomplete paralysis of one or both legs. In certain circumstances the C-Brace can be used for those who have a neurological condition with little spasticity.
Unlike other knee ankle foot orthosis (KAFOs) the C-Brace has an intelligent on-board microprocessor which gathers real time data and adjusts the required support provided appropriately as you walk, sit and stand.
The C-Brace knee joint automatically locks and unlocks at specific times during walking to replicate a ‘normal’ walking style. This enables a smooth, efficient and safe walking style. The C-Brace knee joint has yielding properties so is the only brace that can allow users to walk step over step down stairs and slopes.
Orthotics UK is proud to work in partnership with Ottobock as a registered clinical provider of the C-Brace.
There are many indications for using a C-Brace. These include:
If you are unsure if you would be suitable for a C-Brace please contact us to discuss.
The C-Brace is suitable for use with the following conditions:
This list of conditions is not exhaustive. If you are unsure if you would be suitable for a C-Brace please contact us to discuss.
There are many benefits that come from using a C- Brace. These include:
Increased control over walking due to microprocessor computer collect data 50 times per second.
More details to benefits are:
Stance phase control - The C-brace prevents the knee collapsing when the user's body weight is placed on their weaker leg. The intelligent microprocessor allows a small controlled amount of knee flexion (bend) at just the right time (mid stance) to provide a natural walking style.
Smoother walking pattern - The amount of mechanical support can be fine tuned by our orthotist via a tablet device. This provides individualised control in both weight bearing (stance phase) and when the leg is swinging through swinging through (swing phase).
Safety - The microprocessor is able to prevent the knee from giving way even if the user's leg is not fully straight in weight bearing. This provides a great deal of reassurance and safety.
Stairs - The hydronic components in the joint housing allow for the user to walk down stairs step over step. The device does not provide powered assistance to walk upstairs but does provide stability to enable step-to walking up stairs.
Slopes - The C-brace provides yielding support to enable the user to have confidence to walk naturally down slopes. The knee joint of the C-Brace unlocks during swing through (swing phase). This allows for users to walk uphill without having to compensate with their walking style.
Walking backwards - The C-Brace’s advanced onboard technology is able to detect when the user is stepping backwards. When this motion is detected the C-Brace will lock at the knee. This is particularly useful for simple everyday situations such as stepping backwards when opening a door or letting someone pass in a corridor.
Cycling - The C-Brace has a setting which can allow free range of movement for cycling.
User App - There is a user app which provides real time feedback and the ability to change settings.
Sitting - for individuals with knee weakness sitting down is difficult as the leg gives way so they are heavily reliant on the non affected leg. The C-Braces yielding hydraulic knee system assists the user to sit down smoothly at their own pace.
Long battery life - The C-Brace comes with two batteries. Each batter allows for two days of use.
The process to receive a C-Brace would be:
To establish whether the C-Brace is the correct orthosis for your needs our orthotist will complete an initial assessment. This will involve using a series of tests to assess your lower limb functionality. This includes muscle strength tests, spasticity tests and range of motion tests. If the C-Brace is deemed appropriate your orthotist will then order a trial device.
The trial device is bulker than the finished C-Brace but it is a good opportunity for the user to get a sense of how the C-Brace can assist them.
After a successful C-Brace trial a series of specific measurements plus a plaster cast of the affected limb / limbs will be taken.
At this point it is really important to prepare the user for life using the C-Brace. Our trained physiotherapists will put together an individualised program. This involves specific physiotherapy exercises to:
At this stage a clear plastic C-Brace is made rather than a carbon fibre device. This trial is predominantly so the orthotist can check the fit of the brace against the user's leg and ensure there are no tight or loose areas. This stage will also serve as a good opportunity for the user to have a more definitive trial of the C-Brace. The brace cannot be taken away from the clinic at this point.
The results from the demo trial orthosis are noted and a trial carbon fibre orthosis is made. The C-Brace is then programmed so the user can take the C-Brace home for a four week trial. Physiotherapy sessions are integrated into the trial period so the user is able to make the most of their time with the C-Brace.
After the four week trial the orthotist will observe the user’s walking style, sitting and stair descents. Once the user has settled into the C-Brace there are often small changes required to the overall structure of the C-Brace. The final C-Brace can then be made.
Our orthotist will ensure a perfect fit and program C-Brace and provide long term wear and care advice.
Users will have regular physiotherapy to continue to improve their strength and to enable them to adjust to life wearing the brace as soon as possible.
The orthotist will provide a review appointment within the first 6 weeks. There will then be an orthotic review each 24 months unless there is a requirement to have a review beforehand.