While there have been significant advancements in materials and manufacturing in the last few decades, the pioneering spirit of experimentation and improvement that gave rise to the invention of orthopedic bracing and DMEs has largely stagnated. It’s safe to say that in hospitals and clinics all over the country, orthopedic teams are using braces that haven’t been reconsidered in decades.
It’s analogous to what has happened with video telephony. The technology had a breakthrough moment back in the early 1970s. But since then, it remained relatively unchanged until the advent of the web, webcams and internet services such as Skype and iChat. Only since the start of the pandemic in 2020 has the full potential of videoconferencing been realized—completely transforming how, where and when businesses, customers and people connect.
The modern practice of using bracing and related DME (Durable Medical Equipment) to accelerate recovery from orthopedic injuries can be traced back to the work of two pioneering physicians in 16th century Europe. French surgeon, Ambroise Paré, and Spanish physician, Francisco Arceo de Fregenal, were each experimenting independently with brace-like devices to help heal infants born with clubfoot.
Fast forward two centuries to WWI, and the ideas and inventions of another accomplished healer, Hugh Owen Thomas, helped the wounded recover at an astonishing rate. Soon after his death, his nephew, Sir Robert Jones, popularized the use of his Thomas splint, reducing the mortality of compound fractures of the femur from 87% to less than 8% between 1916 and 1918.
Today, orthopedic braces and wraps are having a transformative moment of their own. It started with Graymont X articulating a mission and a vision for better recovery for patients, doctors, and caregivers.
For the vision to be realized, we knew we would need to take a new approach to creating braces and wraps. Instead of treating them as singular DME devices, we developed a complete system of recovery. A system made possible through close partnership with the leading orthopedic specialists in the industry.
By leveraging our experience and expertise, we’ve been able to do something that simply hadn’t been done yet. We designed a full line of braces and wraps with integrated cold therapy that maximize comfort, functionality, and application ease to increase patient usage—substantially improving recovery time. Thus, improving the overall recovery experience, as well as patient outcomes.
Returning to the analogy of videoconferencing, the integration of cold therapy (SnoPak technology) in knee braces, hip braces, shoulder wraps, ankle wraps, splints and slings is doing for DME what Zoom has done for today’s workforce. It’s changing the game. The industry, and the process of ortho recovery will never be the same.
By designing a DME system around the ability to conveniently and consistently apply cold therapy to injury sites, we’re also on the forefront of a movement towards a healthier relationship with opioid use during recovery.
These are certainly important, even industry-changing, achievements. But because DME, and the industry as a whole has wrested on its laurels for so long, we have no plans of slowing down our momentum. There are still gains to be made and improvements to implement. The processes we’ve used to get this far are ever-evolving. The care providers and support staff who have a vested interest in the advancement of orthopedic practices will continue to see Graymont X produce better braces, better wraps, and a better way to help patients get better.