What’s C-Brace? Del, an Active Dad Can Tell You

Del bar
This week we are posting from the AOPA World Congress being held in Orlando from September 18 – 22, 2013

Not familiar with the organization called AOPA? For over 90 years the American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) has been serving the O&P community. Today AOPA includes over 2000 O&P patient care facilities and suppliers that manufacture, distribute, design, fabricate, fit, and supervise the use of orthoses (orthopedic braces) and prostheses (artificial limbs). Membership in AOPA represents a professional milestone; it is recognition of leadership and achievement in the O&P community. Ottobock is a proud member of AOPA.

This Week’s Guest Blogger is 39 Year Old Dad Del Who Couldn’t Keep Up With His Daughter

For this post we are focusing on someone who has spent the last 20 years suffering from muscle weakness. Del is attending AOPA with Ottobock this week as a patient model.  He is a 39 year old dad who had a hard time keeping up with his very active 11 year old daughter due to over 20 years of debilitating lower back pain.  A former diesel mechanic and house framer, he was no longer able to do any heavy lifting and over time even had difficulty walking. But when Del’s orthotist fit him with the new Ottobock C-Brace his life changed. If you’re not familiar with the C-Brace, it is the world’s only orthotronic mobility system and an entirely new approach to walking when injuries or muscle weakness limits you. Instead of a locked knee brace or a wheelchair, imagine a system that locks and unlocks just when you need it.

Del, can you share your story?

For years I experienced lower back pain and was not able to find any relief. After many consultations and tests I finally found a doctor who identified a disc problem. At that point I had been walking uneven for so many years the slipped discs had damaged he nerves beyond surgical repair.  I was left with drop foot and had to wear AFO braces on both feet.  Overtime I started feeling weaker toward the end of the day. When I went to my prosthetist I had both a morning session and an afternoon session so he could see exactly what my end of day weakness looked like.

What made this visit successful?

First of all, I brought all my medical paperwork and a copy of my MRI report burned to a DVD. But most importantly, I went on a second visit at the end of the day so they could see exactly what I was experiencing. If your symptoms are worse during a certain part of the day be sure to schedule your appointment during that time. Explain to the front desk when you make your appointment why you are requesting that time of day.

What’s the biggest difference for you between wearing the C-Brace vs. other brace, crutches or canes?

I feel like the C-Brace works for me, instead of me having to work the crutches or the cane. I am 100% comfortable.  I was wearing forearm crutches for years and even had to wear them with AFO braces. I’ve gone from that situation to only wearing the C-Brace.

Do you have any advice for someone in a similar situation and considering the C-Brace?

Don’t be afraid of how the C-Brace looks. My first instinct was fear that the bulk would actually get in the way of my lifestyle. It sticks out about 3 or 4 inches on the side. But honestly, I have never once bumped into anything. They don’t get in the way and they are comfortable to wear. I’ve never had any issues with them at all.

So what does your daughter think about your C-Brace?

In her words, “I think they’re cool.” 

Spoken like a true 11 year old. To find out if the cool C-Brace is right for you, read more about C-Brace  and complete a C-Brace Try-Out Form.

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Del with his daughter
Del with his daughter, Rachel, at the petting zoo.

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