Author: Robert Rees

World Parkinson’s Day

Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic, life long, neurological disorder. Known as Parkinson’s or PD, it progressively worsens over time. Parkinson’s develops with mild tremors and changes to fine motor skills, to eventually affecting gross motor skills across the entire body.

As we observe Parkinson’s Awareness Day, it’s nice to raise awareness about the condition, how it impacts those with it, either directly as suffers, or indirectly as friends, family, or carers. Helping educate and bettering the understanding for those living with PD will help encourage better research, improving treatments, and ultimately increasing support networks.

Understanding Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s primarily affects the dopamine production in a specific region of the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter (the bodies chemical messenger), which is used to provide nerve signals throughout the body. It is crucial for smooth, coordinated movement.
When these neurons deteriorate or die, it leads to a depletion of dopamine, resulting in unsteady movements, which are characteristic to that of Parkinson’s.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s can vary amongst sufferers and there isn’t one Parkinson’s journey which is the same. There are around 150,000 suffers in the UK and it is now the fastest growing neurological condition in the world.

How Parkinson’s Disease occurs

The exact causes remain unclear, however, it is believed that a combination of genetics and environmental factors play a role. Some potential risk factors include ageing (commonly diagnosed in individuals over the age of 60), genetic predisposition and family history, brain injuries, and exposure to certain toxins and chemicals which can result in genetic mutations.

Common Symptoms:

• Involuntary tremors and shaking, often in the hands or fingers.
• Slow laboured movement (Bradykinesia).
• Muscle rigidity with stiffness and inflexibility in muscles.
• Difficulty with balance and coordination.
Slow, stiff and unsteady movements with restricted range of movement can cause changes in postural alignment, which can further increase loss of balance and increases the risk of falls.
Symptoms are not only limited to motor skills. Parkinsons’s has also been reported to cause non-motor symptoms such as:
• Cognitive impairment.
• Lack of facial expression (Hypomimia).
• Sleep disturbances.
• Autonomic dysfunction (our automatic nerve system which regulates organs such as our heart, lungs and digestive system).

Treatment and Management:

Whilst there is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, several treatment options are available to manage symptoms and improve quality of life. These may usually include medications, speech therapy, and physical therapy. Lifestyle modifications with regular exercise and a balanced diet are advised, and getting adequate rest will also play a crucial role in managing symptoms and slowing the disease progression.
There is some evidence that orthosis can help with Parkinson’s symptoms and gait deviations. Patients can present with rheumatoid like deformities to their fingers and toes, so hand and wrist supports, and appropriate lightweight, roomy footwear can really enhance a sufferers standard of living.
Although Parkinsons is a motor disease, there are links to peripheral nerve disturbances (how the nerves perceive sensation) which can further affect balance and walking ability. It has been reported that sufferers often experience proprioceptive (spatial awareness and sensory feedback) deficits such as loss of limb positioning, altered touch, and loss of ankle reflexes.
Ankle Foot Orthosis and ankle splinting, when in combination with lightweight, cushioned footwear can result in improvements to the loss of position and balance issues reported, and will improve mechanical alignment, posture, and help reduce risk for falling.

Supporting the cause

Parkinson’s Awareness Day serves as a reminder of the importance of support and advocacy for those affected by the disease. Organisations like the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Parkinson’s Foundation, Parkinson’ UK and local support groups play a vital role in providing resources, education, and a sense of community for individuals living with PD and their caregivers.
By raising awareness, advocating for research funding, and promoting understanding and empathy, we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected by Parkinson’s Disease.
Orthotix offers a variety of medically approved supports, suitable for Parkinson’s which can be found on the Orthotix Website. Information and advice is also available via Blogs and Videos, and via the messaging service where you can chat to a member of our team.
If you would like to speak to one of our specialists please get in touch by calling us on 0290 370696, or emailing us at [email protected]
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Protecting Your Knees This Ski Season

Protecting your knees this ski season - blog about how to avoid injury when skiing and what knee braces are best
What knee braces are best for skiing

With the Ski season at its peak throughout January and February, the slopes are full of exhilarating fun, but these angelic white snow-covered mountains also carry the risk of injury, particularly concerning the knee joint. Among the various injuries skiers face, knee injuries stand out as one of the most prevalent and concerning. Below you can read about these injuries, how to protect your knees this skiing season, and how orthopaedic bracing and supports can limit the risks that Skiing brings to the slope.

Prevalence of Knee Injuries in Skiing

According to peer-reviewed studies, knee injuries account for approximately 40% of all ski-related injuries. Among these, the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ranks amongst the most common, making up a significant portion of total knee injuries suffered by skiers.
Skiing Knee Injuries

Factors Contributing to Knee Injuries

Mechanical stress is a key factor in injury prevalence. The high-speed movements and the dynamic nature of skiing puts considerable mechanical stress through the knee, which is only worsened by sudden twists, turns and of course, impact and falls.
Poor skiing techniques will contribute towards this as incorrect weight distribution and alignment will overload soft tissues, putting their structures and integrity at risk of failure.
Changing terrains, icy patches, or unexpected obstacles increase the risk of sudden joint instability and loss of control, furthering the risk of sustaining injury.

Types of Knee Injuries

Knee injuries in skiing include ACL tears as mentioned, plus medial collateral ligament (MCL) and meniscus tears. There is also a risk of dislocations, excessive contusions (bruising) and of course fractures. Look back at the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 when Nina O’Brien fell resulting in catastrophic injury.

Preventive Measures

Due to Skiing’s unpredictability, it’s difficult to eliminate the risk of injury, however ensuring the use of proper equipment and well-fitted ski boots, bindings and supports on the knee can minimise excessive movement and mechanical stress going through the joints.
Soft wraps can provide compression and proprioception, giving feedback via the central nervous system, making the body and brain more subconsciously aware of the joint. The compression will also aid stability, blood flow and provide warmth to the joint which is particularly beneficial in the snow with arthritis sufferers.
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    Sport Elastic Knee Support (Long)

    £40.95
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  • TheraGo® Elastic Knee Stabiliser
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    TheraGo® Elastic Knee Stabiliser

    £39.95
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  • Express - Woven Knee Sleeve
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    Woven Knee Sleeve

    £16.95
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Rigid bracing is used for pre-existing injuries or for people with joint instability and laxity. The rigid aluminium shells provide an exo-skeletal support which gives protection, lateral strength and stability to the knee, and limits forward and backwards translation. Rigid knee braces are commonly used in Skiing and can be used alongside compression sleeves and wraps for additional support.
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    Functional 4 – Point Knee Brace

    £224.95
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  • Express Orthopaedic® Rigid Functional Knee Brace
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    Rigid Functional Knee Brace

    £199.95
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  • TheraGo Elastic Hinged Knee Brace By Orliman
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    TheraGo® Elastic Hinged Brace

    £62.95
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Knee injuries in skiing are common and can have a significant impact on an individual’s experience and overall well-being. Understanding the risks, practising preventive measures, and using the right equipment for support and protection are key.
Orthotix offers a variety of medically approved braces which are suitable for Skiing and can help prevent injury to the knee, supporting your wellbeing whilst on the piste.

Click the button below to shop our full range now!

Remember, skiing is an enjoyable event on and off the snow. Stay safe on the slopes, and enjoy the thrill of the sport!
If you would like to speak to one of our specialists please get in touch by calling us on 02920 370696, or emailing us at [email protected]
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Introducing The Unique New Range Of Dyna-Ort® Stock DAFOS

Clinical Director, Chris Law, presenting the innovative new Dyna-Ort® range.

“We’re incredibly excited to announce the launch of the new and improved range of Dyna-Ort® stock DAFOS in the UK. It has been a number of years in the making, working alongside our manufacturing partners Orliman® to research, develop, re-design and test the new dynamic ankle foot orthoses to deliver improved quality, durability and enhanced comfort and patient compliance. The redesigned medical devices cover a wider range of conditions, utilising more functional materials, and importantly remain an affordable off-the-shelf splinting solution which I believe will be well received by clinicians and users alike.”

Chris Law, Clinical Director at Orthotix
18 months ago we started working in association with our long-time manufacturing partners Orliman® on a new and improved range of dynamic ankle foot orthoses. Under our exclusive UK distribution partnership, we have been supplying premium orthoses to the NHS, orthotic businesses and private clinics for several years and this has included our previous range of paediatric dynamic ankle foot orthoses launched in 2015. This range has always been well-received by our customer-base, helping numerous patients and improving thousands of children gain mobility and independence.
Now, with advancements in our manufacturing technologies and revolutionary material science, we have been able to revisit this product range to optimise our offering. Having listened to feedback from our Healthcare Professional network of clinicians we’ve worked tirelessly with Orliman® to redesign and reconstruct the existing range, and also introduce new design variations for treatment of further paediatric conditions.
We are proud to have developed this revised market leading range in the UK, and our joint collaboration with Orliman® has now resulted in the rebranded Dyna-Ort® Stock DAFOS range.

What is a Dynamic Ankle Foot Orthosis?

A Dynamic Ankle Foot Orthosis is a specialised orthotic device designed to provide support, stability, and improved mobility to individuals with foot and ankle conditions, particularly those who’s conditions affect gait and mobility. Unlike traditional static orthoses, a dynamic AFO incorporates dynamic components, such as flexible materials, anatomical shaping and/or joint systems, that allow for controlled supported mobility and improved alignment, whilst not restricting natural movements.
Dyna-ort® Stock DAFOS range

What is the Dyna-Ort® Stock Dynamic Ankle Foot Orthoses Range?

The innovative new range of DAFOS includes six patented designs which have been carefully designed to provide an off-the-shelf solution to improve foot and ankle control for children with presentations such as: increased joint flexibility, excessive pronation, ankle instability, tone, toe walking and mild hyperextension of the knee.
The Dyna-Ort® range offers an alternative option to the traditional rigid ankle foot orthoses, promoting a user friendly, more flexible management for foot and ankle instabilities and malalignment, whilst enabling a comfortable more natural biomechanical gait, without being restrictive!

New & Improved Design

Dyna-ort® Stock DAFOS Range Exploded Drawing
The Dyna-Ort® range now features a brand-new construction to improve patient comfort and compliance, whilst also helping to improve durability, quality and fit.
A semi rigid polypropylene thermoplastic outer shell and a unique silicone-based polyethylene inner lining are utilised across the range which combine to provide optimal comfort against the foot and ankle, improved patient compliance whilst also providing the desired structural integrity for coronal and sagittal control.
Two Shell Design
The two-shell design is similar to the previous range of DAFOs, however, they now feature a unique inner lining fabricated from a more flexible and softer silicone-based compound. This is then combined with an improved harder external shell which provides the additional support needed without compromising on quality, or comfort. The more rigid outer shell encompasses the rear foot and extends down to the metatarsals, whilst the trimmable softer inner linings extend to protect and cushion the whole plantar foot.
Velcro® Strapping
Previously the soft layover velour straps attached to the DAFOS via micro hook and loop Velcro®. This feature has been replaced with unbacked Velcro® straps which are now riveted in place with a return d-loops fastening. This allows for a secure fitting which improves control and support levels, whilst still being low profile, strong and durable.
Comfort Padding
Comfort padding has carried across from the existing range and will still include an instep pad and a toe pad. In addition to these, some of the models which have top straps, now include a foam sliding pad which helps to distribute pressure and improves comfort across the front of the tibia/ shin bone.
These improvements can be seen across the whole Dyna-Ort® range, which includes the existing styles;
Penguin – A traditional short-back AFO design available in standard or extended length variants
Puffin – A shorter Supramalleolar dynamic ankle foot orthosis
And now also includes two new styles:
Parrot – An open-back dynamic ankle foot orthosis
Piper – A UCBL, deep-heel cupped functional foot orthosis
There is also design improvements to the Pelican – a hinged, articulating dynamic AFO,  which has a narrow mediolateral width around the ankle, resulting in an orthosis that is easier to accommodate into footwear, and now has extended wings at the posterior bump stop, which prevent malalignment of the device which can sometimes occur through rotation.
Each style comes in left or right variants with 8 paediatric size options which are based on foot length or a shoe size. The entire range is exclusively distributed by Orthotix and stocked here in the UK, available for next working day delivery.

Products In The Dyna-Ort® Range

Dyna-Ort® Penguin Plantarflexion Ankle Foot Orthosis (Extended)

Penguin Plantarflexion AFO (Extended)

The Penguin Plantarflexion AFO (Extended) is a two shell dynamic orthosis available in an extended design (increased lever arm for better plantarflexion control). Made from dual density materials. The soft internal lining extends from mid calf, encompassing the entire plantar surface of the foot whilst the rigid external shell serves to reinforce the alignment applied by the orthosis.
Learn more here
Dyna-Ort® Penguin Plantarflexion Ankle Foot Orthosis (Standard)

Penguin Plantarflexion AFO (Standard)

The Penguin Plantarflexion AFO (Standard) is a two shell dynamic orthosis available in a standard design. Made from dual density materials. The soft internal lining extends from the lower calf, encompassing the entire plantar surface of the foot whilst the rigid external shell serves to reinforce the alignment applied by the orthosis.
Learn more here
Dyna-Ort® Pelican Hinged Plantarflexion Ankle Foot Orthosis

Pelican Hinged Plantarflexion AFO

The Pelican Hinged Plantarflexion AFO is a two shell free range of movement articulated dynamic orthosis. Made from dual density materials. The free hinge articulated joint allows for dorsiflexion of the foot whilst preventing plantarflexion thanks to a posterior bump-stop.
Learn more here
Dyna-Ort® Parrot Open-Back Ankle Foot Orthosis

Parrot Open-Back AFO

The Parrot Open-Back AFO is a two shell dynamic open backed orthosis. Made from dual density materials. The posterior cut out and adjustable ankle strap allows for increased shank inclination for a more biomechanical correct gait whilst still controlling unwanted movement.
Learn more here
Dyna-Ort® Puffin Supramalleolar Ankle Foot Orthosis

Puffin Supramalleolar AFO

The Puffin Supramalleolar AFO is a two shell dynamic supramalleolar ankle & foot orthosis. Made from dual density materials. The supramalleolar orthosis offers containment of the hindfoot and dorsal midfoot, improving mediolateral stability. Whilst facilitating a more natural gait.
Learn more here
Dyna-Ort® Piper Inframalleolar Foot Orthosis

Piper Inframalleolar Foot Orthosis

The Piper Inframalleolar Foot Orthosis is a two shell dynamic Inframalleolar foot orthosis. Made from dual density materials. The orthosis has a deep heel cup design for optimised calcaneal control. While also re-aligning the hindfoot and midfoot, improving mediolateral stability.
Learn more here

Read The Dyna-Ort® Catalogue

You can learn more about the new Dyna-Ort® range by downloading the product brochure here.  If you would like to enquire about pricing or to place an order please get in touch by calling us on 02920 370696 or email us at [email protected].

Download a digital copy

If you are new to Orthotix, we offer a huge range of off-the-shelf orthopaedic supports, bracing and splints, supplying directly to the public, private trade accounts and to NHS hospitals across the UK. If you would like to view our full range of products click here to download a digital copy of our 6th Edition Catalogue.
Circle_Chris_Law_MeetTheTeam[572172]
Chris Law
Orthotix Clinical Director
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Understanding Foot Drop: National Foot Drop Awareness Day 2023

Taking A Step Towards Understanding Foot Drop: National Foot Drop Awareness Day 2023
Understanding Foot Drop: National Foot Drop Awareness Day 2023
Every year on the 22nd of September, we observe National Foot Drop Awareness Day to shed light on a condition that affects countless individuals worldwide. Foot Drop, also known as Drop Foot, can have a significant impact on a person’s mobility and quality of life. In this blog, we’ll explore what Foot Drop is, its early signs, what happens after diagnosis, its symptoms, and some positive statistics that offer hope and inspiration.

What is Foot Drop?

Foot Drop is a medical condition characterised by the inability to pick the foot up, leading to dragging the toes whilst walking. It occurs due to the impairment of the muscles and nerves that control foot movement. The most common causes of Foot Drop include nerve damage, muscular disorders, spinal cord injuries as well as neurological conditions such as strokes and motor neurone disease.

Early signs of Foot Drop:

Recognising the early signs of Foot Drop is crucial for timely intervention. Some common indicators include:

  • Tripping or stumbling whilst walking.
  • Difficulty in lifting the front of the foot, causing it to drag on the ground.
  • A sensation of weakness or numbness in the leg or foot.
  • Pain or discomfort in the leg, ankle, or foot.

What happens once diagnosed with Foot Drop?

Once diagnosed with Foot Drop, a medical professional will determine the underlying cause and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. Treatment options may include:

  • Physical therapy to strengthen the affected muscles.
  • Orthotic devices such as braces or splints to support the foot and ankle.
  • Assistive devices like canes or walkers to improve stability and balance.
  • Nerve stimulation or surgery in severe cases.

Symptoms of Foot Drop:

Foot Drop can manifest with various symptoms, which may vary in severity from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  • Inability to dorsiflex the foot (Ability to lift the foot upwards towards the shin).
  • Altered gait pattern, such as a high-stepping gait to compensate for foot drop.
  • Muscle weakness or atrophy in the affected leg.
  • Reduced sensation or tingling in the foot or leg.
  • Difficulty performing daily activities like climbing stairs or walking long distances.

Positive Foot Drop Statistics:

Whilst Foot Drop can be challenging, there are positive statistics that offer hope:

  • Treatment Success: Many individuals with Foot Drop respond well to treatment, particularly physical therapy, and orthotic devices, regaining significant mobility and independence.
  • Medical Innovation: Ongoing advancements in medical technology and surgical procedures offer new hope for those with severe cases of Foot Drop.
  • Awareness and Support: National Foot Drop Awareness Day serves as a platform to raise awareness, promote research, and foster support networks for individuals and their families affected by this condition.

What can we offer?

At Orthotix, we understand the struggles people who suffer with Foot Drop go through daily. That is why we offer a wide selection of products specifically designed to assist with Foot Drop.

Products include:

  • Boxia®: A UK leading orthosis for discreet treatment of Foot Drop. Its innovative, lightweight, and comfortable design provides vital foot clearance during the swing phase, thus reducing the risk of tripping.
  • StepUp®: Developed by our very own team of healthcare professionals, the StepUp® is an ultra-discreet dynamic device that is simplistic in design and easily accommodated in footwear. Utilising soft fabric and touch-and-close fastenings. It maintains a low-profile that is easy to don/doff.
  • AFX: A low-profile prefabricated leaf spring design that provides plantarflexion resistance. This AFO that provides dorsiflexion assistance. Constructed from injection moulded polypropylene with a carbon fibre composite for reinforced strength which maintains a neutral foot position to limit the risk of trips and falls. Available in a light version and an extra version.
  • CAFO: A reinforced carbon fibre device that is preset in dorsiflexion to ensure the foot is positioned in an optimal position to limit foot drop. Lightweight and slim line, the device has a medial strut with built in arch support for improved fit and comfort whilst also providing mild mediolateral support.
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    StepUp® Drop Foot Support

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  • Carbon Ankle Foot Orthosis
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    Carbon Ankle Foot Orthosis

    £314.95
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  • Boxia® Drop Foot AFO
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    Boxia® Drop Foot AFO

    £56.95
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  • Picture of Ankle foot orthosis for drop foot
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    Ankle Foot Orthosis Light

    £40.95
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  • Photo of Strong Ankle Foot Orthosis for Drop Foot
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    Ankle Foot Orthosis Extra

    £47.95
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National Foot Drop Awareness Day reminds us of the importance of early detection, proper management, and support for those living with Foot Drop. By understanding the condition and its symptoms, we can take steps toward improving the quality of life for individuals affected by Foot Drop and work towards a future where mobility limitations are minimised. Together, we can make a positive impact and provide hope to those facing this challenging condition.
Our Orthotix clinic offer multi-disciplinary consultations for the whole body and have a wealth of knowledge in the orthopaedic and sporting field, with partners such as Cardiff City Football Club, Wales Netball, Disability Sport Wales, and include exclusive affiliations with medal winning Para-athletes Aled Davies (OBE) and Harrison Walsh.
You can browse our whole range of Foot Drop products over on our website. Simply search product name or ‘Foot Drop’ in the navigation bar and then watch all the product pop up for you to browse.
To enquire about appointments or to discuss any orthotic requirements contact [email protected]
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The PTH Enterprises Group Celebrates in Style!

A big thank you to everyone who attended the inaugural PTH Enterprises Gala making the evening a resounding success. The truly memorable occasion brought together over 125 colleagues & special guests from across the newly formed PTH business group, which includes Dacey Orthotic Solutions, Orthotix, Ace Feet In Motion and The Healthcare Hub.
Co-Owners Paul, Tom and Hayley presenting at the inaugural PTH Gala evening.
The lavish black-tie event catered for by Spiros Fine Dining and held at St Peter’s Hall in Cardiff, served several purposes. Firstly, it provided a wonderful platform to celebrate the remarkable 50-year work anniversary for the last remaining Welsh orthotic manufacturer, Dacey Ltd. The event also presented the ideal backdrop for the new leadership team to recognise and award employees for outstanding performance and service to their respective businesses. Lastly, it was the perfect setting for a special tribute to former Owner- Bob Cooper, who picked up a lifetime achievement accolade for a career that spanned three decades.
To view all the photographs taken by Mustard Fox Photography from the big night, simply follow the link: https://qrco.de/bdXMsb

50 YEARS OF DACEY

During the Gala event, former MD – Bob Cooper and colleagues reflected on the incredible journey the business has had from its inception to its milestone 50th anniversary. In 1972 the original Dacey & Co was formed by a man called Brian Dacey, hence the unusual business name DACEY, which has now been carried for 50 years.
The original business was formed because the manufacturing workshop based in the Prince of Wales Hospital Cardiff was closing, so Brian decided to take on the staff and set up his own small manufacturing firm to continue making bespoke orthoses – or surgical appliances as they were called then. Brian was a lovely caring person but lacked business acumen and he also needed a clinical partner. So, John Prosser, the late Grancha of the new owners, who was an Orthotist agreed to go into business with Brian, thus forming Dacey & Co, which went on from there.
Co-Founder John Prosser and his original team of Orthotic Technicians
Into the late 80’s and Brian had enough of the stresses that came with running a business so he sold his shares to a German businessman called Michael Mais, who then incorporated Dacey Ltd. It was Michael’s plan to expand the business into the world of prosthetics, however, for several reasons it never happened and both he and John became more and more disillusioned with the industry.
At the same time the Quality Standard 5750 became mandatory for NHS contracts. John was not one for ‘red tape’ and decided that enough was enough and considered packing it all in. At this point in 1992, Bob Cooper stepped in and agreed to get the onerous Quality Standard, which he did, before buying Michael out of the company. Effectively Bob became the Managing Director in 1995 when John retired from the business. From that point on, the business expanded from 20 employees to over 100, successfully gaining contracts across Wales and the South West of England, having to relocate to two larger factories in the process.
Stuart Rees, Managing Director of Dacey Orthotic Solutions enjoying the event.
By the time Stuart Rees took over the reins in 2019, Dacey Orthotic Solutions as it is now known, had increased revenue by more than tenfold from its early days. More importantly it’s believed that the business has now helped to improve the lives of over 1.75 million patients, which is something all staff (past and present) are very proud of and keen to build on in the future.
In a memorable moment, at the end of the 50th anniversary speeches, everyone in attendance stood together and raised the roof with a toast to Dacey for an astounding innings, 50 and not out!
Dacey Orthotic Technicians charge their glasses ready to toast the 50th anniversary!

EMPLOYEE AWARDS

The new executive leadership team are big advocates of acknowledging outstanding employee contribution and performance across the business group. As part of the new culture, that is being instilled across the business group, employee awards are now given on an annual basis and all recipients are voted for by their respective Managing Directors and Senior Leadership Teams.
On the night, the ‘Employee of The Year’ awards went to, Sarah Heaven – Dacey Orthotic Solutions, Hannah Perrett – Orthotix, Darren Herman – ACE Feet In Motion and Aaron Burgess – PTH Enterprises.
Additionally, there was also recognition for a select group of employees who’ve given 25 years of continuous service across the business group. Awards for this remarkable feat went to Nick Newman (Dacey Orthotic Solutions), Gareth Innes (Dacey Orthotic Solutions), Paul Webber (Dacey Orthotic Solutions), and Julie Tait (Orthotix).
Employee Award Winners from respective businesses in the PTH Group 2022.
During the awards ceremony Group CEO – Paul Cooper said,

“… In today’s climate, it’s proving difficult to retain staff for 25 minutes let alone 25 years, so it’s heart-warming to see the loyalty and commitment that we still have sprinkled throughout our businesses … Well done to everyone who picked up an award, your dedication and effort is greatly appreciated.”

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT ACCOLADE

The Gala was a fitting time to present a special tribute to someone who has always shunned the spotlight despite taking center stage for the best part of his career. Having been bought out just before the Covid crisis escalated, former Owner / Managing Director – Bob Cooper, stepped down under the radar, with little fuss from his devoted workforce. Unbeknown to him, the final presentation of the evening was to address this by acknowledging his sterling career with the presenting of a lifetime achievement accolade. No doubt he was horrified by the attention, but deep down under his grizzly exterior, he was accepting of the sentiment behind the words spoken and the accolade itself.
Former Owner / Managing Director, Bob Cooper collecting his lifetime achievement accolade from his children and new owners Paul, Tom & Hayley.
Bob successfully ran multiple businesses for over 30 years, which is testament to his incredible work ethic and resilience. In fact, these are the two strengths which he attributes to his longevity in business, and he is not done yet, Bob continues to work for the PTH Group in an advisory capacity.
On the night Bob Cooper signed off in style, referencing an old quote he’d used many times in his early career, stating he has “always been big enough to cope and small enough to care”, before taking to the dancefloor, microphone in hand, inviting all of his former colleagues to join him in a rendition of his favourite Frank Sinatra hit – My Way.
It was a fitting way to sign off the first ever PTH Enterprises event in style!
The family behind the PTH group of businesses.
The healthcare group PTH Enterprises includes Dacey Orthotic Solutions, Orthotix, Ace Feet In Motion and The Healthcare Hub. Follow the links to learn more about the businesses.

General Manager Julie Tait Celebrates 25 Years at Orthotix

Julie Tait is the latest member of our work family to reach the amazing milestone of 25 years’ service.
Originally from Rochdale, the warm hearted and mild mannered ‘Northern lass’ has now spanned three family generations of business ownership. Starting in 1997, she worked under original founder, John Prosser (whom she described as a scary headmaster), before son-in-law (and less scary) Bob Cooper took over, and in more recent times, the new sibling owners, Paul, Tom & Hayley (who she says are the best!)
Julie joined Dacey Ltd at the tender age of 22 whilst she was waiting for her degree results from Cardiff University, where she studied History and Theory in Art Design and Architecture. Since joining the business group, Julie has had an interesting career pathway. Her journey started off in Dacey Ltd as a Data Inputter, before becoming a Stock Product Controller. Going forward she became a Customer Services Manager and latterly a Head of Department before she made the jump (or was she pushed?!) across to Orthotix to take up a new role in the rapidly expanding sister business, where she stepped up to become the Operations Manager.
Fast forward several years and Orthotix has grown to become a market leader in the off-the-shelf orthotic sector and Julie has played an integral role in helping build the business from its humble beginning. Her effort and unwavering positivity over the years has recently seen her gain promotion to General Manager, forming part of a new Senior Leadership team tasked with taking the business to the next level.
Thank you for your 25-year service Jules! You truly are one of a kind and everyone at Orthotix is proud of you. Here’s to the next 25 years ‘Botters’ 😊.
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Official Partnership Announcement: Orthotix & Disability Sport Wales Partnership

Nathan Stephens (Performance Pathway Senior Officer) & Hayley Huntley (Managing Director at Orthotix)

The new partnership will allow Disability Sport Wales ‘performance pathway funded athletes’ to benefit from expert clinical services and specialist sports medicine bracing over a two-year period.

Orthotix are thrilled to announce that they have established an exclusive partnership deal with Disability Sport Wales. This will see the Cardiff based business become the official supplier of sports injury bracing, orthopaedic supports and rehabilitation devices until 2024.
Disability Sport Wales (DSW) is the lead organisation for disability physical activity (including sport) in Wales. DSW creates and supports opportunities for disabled people to engage in a more physical lifestyle at community level, as well as talent competing in disability and parasport on national and international stages.
Disability Sport Wales support over 1 million chances annually for disabled people to take part in sport and physical activity. With over 750 clubs and sessions across Wales, from archery to weightlifting, they have created inclusive opportunities for all.
The new partnership will allow DSW ‘performance pathway funded athletes’ to benefit from expert clinical services and specialist sports medicine bracing over a two-year period.
The medical team at DSW will now be able to refer any pathway athletes requiring specialist orthotic bracing to the new Orthotix clinical facility, run by Consultant Orthotist & Clinical Director – Chris Law.
The recently launched clinic which is now open to the public has been setup to enable improved access to much needed class 1 medical devices. It will enable patients to be measured, fitted and supplied with medically approved product for various orthopaedic conditions and injuries. The clinic offers the public daily walk-in slots (Mon-Friday) and diarised appointments for more technical product requirements.
The agreement sees Disability Sport Wales complete an impressive roster of elite sporting brands which have partnered with Orthotix in recent times. All of which will now benefit from accessibility to market leading products and professional clinical services for their athletes.
Orthotix Managing Director Hayley Huntley said:
“Disability Sport Wales and Orthotix are aligned in strategic outlook. We share philosophies promoting an active nation where everyone can have a lifelong enjoyment of sport. Our partnership will help support the wellbeing of disabled people, ensuring they are as likely to have a lifelong enjoyment of physical activity (including sport) as non-disabled people.”
Harrison Walsh (DSW Athlete), Nathan Stephens (Performance Pathway Senior Officer), Chris Law (Clinical Director at Orthotix) & Hayley Huntley (Managing Director at Orthotix)
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Arthritis Awareness

What is arthritis and why does it need support?

Arthritis has been reported to be one of the most prevalent health conditions across the US and Europe, leading to multiple joint disabilities. Arthritis is a condition which is associated with pain and inflammation of the joints. The condition affects the whole joint including the surfaces of the bones in those joints and the surrounding connective tissues.
Arthritis is now the biggest contributor to physical disability across the world, with an estimate of nine million people being affect with a form of arthritis here in the UK and over 60 million in the US. 1 in 5 people will be affected in their lifetime and 1 in 3 people are now not physically active because of it. The condition is invisible and as such, people suffering with it don’t get the help or support needed despite 33% of sufferers reporting severe joint pain.
It is usually the elderly that are the most thought of when it comes to arthritis, however, roughly 30,000 people under the age of 25 in the UK suffer from arthritis, of which half of these are children. When linked with the fact that our expected living age is on the rise, people will be expected to live with the condition for much longer. Currently arthritic wear has no direct cure and experts predict numbers will increase by a further 49% by 2040.
With this, charities and organisations are trying to further the public’s awareness of arthritis and educate people about its general presentation and its more specific types. Twice a year as monthly awareness campaigns, the condition is supported and discussed globally. Here in the UK and Europe, arthritis awareness is usually supported through the month of October, however, this month we still support the US campaign, with events and support being shown throughout the UK too.
The focus of such awareness months is to educate and inform people about arthritis, how it presents through difference forms, how it affects people’s lives from how it limits mobility, to how it affects mental health and help build support networks across multiple platforms.

Some facts and related statistics about arthritis.

  • The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis (OA), followed by rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), psoriatic arthritis (PsA), and gout.
  • Osteoarthritis is the most common worldwide presentation affecting 10% of all men and 18% of all women.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory arthritis disease which is less common and affects roughly 1% of the UK population .
  • 18% of all arthritic joint symptoms arise from the knee, followed by 8% in the hip, and 6% in the hand and wrist.
  • Arthritis is the most frequent cause of chronic physical disability.
  • 1 in 2 of us will have some form of arthritis by the time we are 70 years old.
  • It costs the NHS more than £3 billion annually, and when included with other healthcare providers and services costs in excess of £10 billion.
  • There are strong associated links to increased rates in mental health cases and depression when arthritic conditions present with chronic pain.
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Osteoarthritis (OA)

OA is generally stigmatised as ‘Old Age’ arthritis and is where the joint and associated tissues breakdown due to prolonged wear and tear, or onsets early due to trauma or surgery. It affects the cartilage and smooth linings of the joint which makes movement more difficult causing stiffness and pain. Osteoarthritis can also occur secondary to other prolonged joint related arthritis’s such as rheumatoid and gout. Once the lining and cartilages thin out, the bones which come together within the joint start to make contact and rub together. Sometimes bony spurs (osteophytes) can be formed within the joint causing further disruption and pain. Over time the bony ends start to miss shape and deform, and the cartilage and joint space is reduced.
Wear and tear arthritis has no direct cure, and the parts cannot be easily repaired or restored, ultimately leading to sufferers to self-manage with pain management (pain killers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and joint related supplements), physical therapy, exercise and bracing. When self-management cannot control the symptoms any longer, surgery and joint replacements maybe offered.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)

RA is an autoimmune disease and breaks down the joint and associated tissues when the body’s natural immune system is defective. The way that RA damages the joint is different to OA and rather than the boney ends and cartilage wearing away from continual use or trauma, the immune system falsely attacks the cells that line the joint capsule (synovium) by mistake. The diseases cannot differentiate between its own healthy tissue and foreign infections, viruses, or bacteria. The result being that the joint fills with unwanted fluid, swells and destroys the linings by means of corrosion. These changes cause the joint to then misshape and then can cause unwanted mechanical wear which leads to further OA onset.
Since RA is a disease, this is something which is usually always treated by a consultant called a rheumatologist and will need to be diagnosed by means of radiography and blood tests. Once diagnosed your consultant will usually prescribe immunosuppressant drugs / disease modifying drugs (DMARDS) which help to maintain a healthier / normalised immune system, lowering the risk of joint destruction. These can be used alongside specific pain killers and either steroidal or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDS) to keep swelling to a minimum.

Psoriatic arthritis (PsA)

PsA is another autoimmune arthritis. This type generally affects people that suffer with psoriasis, however, skin psoriasis is not always present and it can manifest with no physical skin related symptoms. PsA is a less common type of arthritis but can be severe. The condition will always most likely progress and worsen with time, and joint damage and deformation can cause permanent damage just as OA and RA can. Similar to other autoimmune diseases, if the right diagnosis occurs early then medicines and consultant care can limit the effect of the disease and lessen the risk of life changing irreversible damage.

Gout

Gout is an acute reactive arthritis which comes with sudden onset and causes severe joint pain and stiffness. Many people are unaware that gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis and there is common misbelief that it is caused by a ‘rich lifestyle’. This lifestyle usually involves the intake of high calorific fatty foods and drink (such as alcohol) which are rich in a substance called purines. These purines are broken down by our body’s and leaves a byproduct called urate which our body’s cannot then remove efficiently, which causes gout.
The bodies inability to break down urate occurs in the kidney and is known as hyperuricemia. Gouty arthritis is caused by the increased uric acid levels in the blood and when left in the blood in excessive levels forms crystals which settle in the joint’s soft tissues and synovium. These crystals cause joint stiffness, swelling, and damage to the boney surfaces in the joint. Management for gout includes getting diagnosis via blood tests and it is advised to increase water intake, make dietary changes to cut down foods and drink which are high in purines, and a Dr can prescribe medicines to help the bodies ability to break down the uric acid in the body.

Ways to self-manage arthritis.

The key point (Lose weight and keep fit)

Increased body weight and load cause great strain on our joints. Exercise improves the joints integrity and helps to reduce body weight. The key is to lose weight via life-style changes and choosing exercise which is less impact heavy, so the weight loss is healthy, sustainable and doesn’t initially upset the joint.
Our weight has a huge effect on loads going through weight bearing joints. Roughly for each KG of body weight, the weight bearing joint will experience 3 times the force. For example, a 100kg man will experience 300kg of force through their knees. This can be almost doubled through impact and exercise, therefore, it is important to progressively reduce weight in a safe manner before including high impact exercise such a running or jumping.
A simple way for an average person suffering with arthritic pain to lose weight healthily is via a calorie deficit. To do this, find out your BMR (the number of calories needed to keep your body functioning at rest) and aim to maintain this as your daily intake. This essentially will put you into a calorie deficit once we factor in our general daily living tasks, and will result in steady maintainable weight loss. There are calculators online which can assist you to find out your BMR fairly easily.
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Once body weight is reduced, and we have slowly introduced exercise in a non-impact heavy way, a slow introduction of more impact type exercises can commence. Research has recently shown that once your body weight and BMI becomes normalised, that exercise such as running and weight training can be beneficial to our joints. Cartilage adapts to repeated exposure to weight load and force and regular exercise and resistance training has shown in multiple systematic reviews and meta-analysis’s to improve symptoms of arthritis.
Studies which have taken place over periods of 10 years have looked at knee wear and prevalence of arthritis. They have shown that there is no increase in the occurrence of arthritis in the knee when comparing runners and non-runners, and that there is no association with accelerated onset in runners compared to non-runners. In fact, one study showed that over a 18 year period, that the prevalence of arthritis in runners was 20% compared to that of 32% in non-runners, and both showed less joint deterioration when compared to the non-active control group.
Research and reviews on weight training have showed similar. They explain that quality of life, pain, function and BMI were all improved in arthritic groups, with no increase or acceleration in the wear and tear of the joint when compared to non-weight training control groups. Systematic reviews indicated that low intensity and high-intensity strength training actually improved muscle function, joint stability and reduced pain. Both did not exacerbate the disease progression or inflammation relative to / compared to control groups.
Combining steady dietary weight loss via calorie-controlled diet and resistance exercise can boost overall weight loss, and will then lessen loads through the joints and will help improve not only your mobility and pain levels, but will create stronger bone density, stronger muscles, and will also trigger the feel good hormones (dopamine and serotonin) into your body. These will help with lowering stress levels, improve sleep patterns, and ultimately improve your general wellbeing and mental health.

Talk to a professional.

If self-management via weight loss, exercise and inclusion of assistive devices and supplementation have not helped, it’s advisable to then approach your health care professionals. Lots of people negate talking to their healthcare professionals or doctors and choose to live with the pains and discomforts, waiting for them to disappear. This can be the right thing to do in some cases and is likely the correct approach after a light sprain or strain, however, if your pains and discomforts are chronic and are ongoing, then highlighting this to your GP or Doctor is advisable.
Sudden injury and acute pain which includes bruising and swelling still needs attention regardless. However, if ongoing joint pains persist without incident, it is important to get this investigated and get an accurate diagnosis so that conditions such as autoimmunity or rheumatic diseases can be ruled out. By doing this treatments can start early, meaning symptoms are reduced and the risk of any long-term damage can be minimised.
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Protect the joint

Protecting the joint with assistive devices such as orthotics and supplements are now well documented as an efficient way to helping with arthritis management.
To assist in increasing your physical activity levels, and to help to give extra support to the joints for mechanical purposes orthosis can be purchased or prescribed to help. These can offer cognitive and mechanical reassurance and provide piece of mind.
Orthosis can come in wide array of designs, offering multiple different functions to the user. Choices can be vast and confusing but when selected appropriately can have a great impact on users’ ability to mobilise better, without pain or restriction. Further down in this blog I have briefly gone into a little more detail regarding bracing and what they can offer.
Supplements can be included into your diet to help preserve the joints and give extra nutrients to the area to lessen the risks of further deterioration. Dietary supplementations with products such as Glucosamine, Turmeric, Chondrotin, and Omega oils have all been well reported in assisting with arthritis care. The reports have mixed results from research papers but have shown many consumers finding great anecdotal results from them.
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Learn and educate.

The NHS and Charitable organisations such as arthritis action, National RA Society, and Versus Arthritis all offer a depth of knowledge and contents to help and assist suffers of arthritis. They offer support, advice, and workshops to help you learn about the conditions and how to best make decisions about your treatments. By self-educating you can better formulate management skills to further your health and help you live more active lifestyles without disability. Educating and learning about the condition can help improve mobilisation, pain management, lower stress levels and limit the risks of associated mental health concerns. These groups also offer a great way to communicate with other sufferers and help build networks for better wellbeing and care.

Bracing structure and design

Design and function affects how an orthosis helps with arthritic changes and pains. Some braces have specific offloading ability to help to mechanical change the limb alignment and offer direct relief to the arthritic joint. This occurs mainly through weight bearing joints such as the knee and the hip and the device will generally either be a hard-shell orthosis made from plastics or alloys, softer textile devices with rigid straps or via a combination of both.
Hard shell devices offer a more rigid support and will encumber the limb with usually an aluminium alloy frame, and can sometimes offer an adjustable aspect which will offer direct pressure relief to a specific area of the joint. These braces tend to be heavier and bulkier in their nature but offer the best levels of support as one would expect from a more rigid device.
Soft shell or textile devices are generally a much easier option to live with on a day-to-day basis. These offer a more comfortable fit and a much lower profile, but don’t often offer the same amounts of support. They can come with rigid fabric straps and stays to either offer a more specific offload or to wrap the joint securely to isolate and limit unwanted movement.
Combination bracing offer the best compromise for support and comfort by using hard-shell plastics, aluminium framework, soft textiles, and rigid strapping. These utilise the harder shell as an anchoring point against the limb and allows any strapping to work effectively offload the joint. These types of braces work by means of a 3 points of pressure system.
The hard shell applies a force to the limb at both the top and bottom of the brace whilst a counter force applies a third opposing force. This third force acts as a leverage point, and creates a turning moment on both the bones which form the joint. This works by then shifting the joint away from the area which is damaged and mechanically offloads the arthritic area.
Unloading type orthosis have shown to significantly improve patients quality of life and have shown to delay the need for surgical intervention. As a cost effective non-invasive option, surgeons are much more keen to prescribe such devices inline with a multi-disciplinary approach including rehab and exercise and is now classed as one of the best conservative managements for arthritis.

Materials

Neoprene is a thermo-therapeutic material which is not only breathable which helps to give mild compression, but also provides and maintains warmth to the area.
Heat therapy is a very easy way to help ease arthritic pains and is also a cost-effective management. Heat helps in a multitude of ways. It can help to aid healing via improving circulation to the tissues which increases essential nutrients and oxygen to the muscles and soft tissues, and they decrease joint stiffness as warm muscles and soft tissues are generally more flexible ones. Therefore, the connective tissues when warm can move more freely as the liquid within the joint becomes more viscous. Warmth also has an effect on settling sensory stimuli as receptors in the skin decrease transition of pain signals back to the brain when they are warmer.
Elastic offers similar results but achieves these from a different method. They don’t carry the same thermo properties as neoprene but rely more on adding compression to the joint by adding mild mechanical assistance and proprioception. Like neoprene, compression garments lessen pain by improving sensory stimulus and circulation, and do this primarily by reducing swelling.
When considering an inflammatory process, the compression that elastic devices offer, helps restrict unwanted fluid in the joint and its soft tissues. This swelling (effusion) has a negative effect on the joint as it creates stiffness which causes muscle pains, lessens venous return, and subsequently reduces circulation. The elastic helps to reduce this swelling by means of compression which allows the joint to move through greater ranges of movement. This subsequently improves coordination and control of the joint. As the movement improves, the swelling is further reduced and this increases bloodflow back into the joint.
Elastic also provides compression over the dermal layers of the skin which activates the sensory receptors in the dermis to feedback more freely to the brain, which further increases coordination and provides proprioceptive feedback to the user. In turn creating a subconscious awareness of the joint which provides support.

Closing Statement

There are numerous types of arthritis and ways to diagnose, treat and manage their symptoms. The ways these are managed are specific to the type of arthritis and will require different types of treatments including self-management, rehab, bracing, medicines, and medical approaches.
It’s important for us to widen our knowledge and understanding on arthritis especially when considering the damage it causes, which can lead to life changing disability and irreversible damage. We need to support awareness of the condition, be aware of how each type presents, and how we can help the suffer to get the quickest diagnosis, treatment and support available.
Continual research and education is needed to support arthritis suffers, develop ongoing treatment pathways, and to build up medical and social support networks to assist in future care and management.
There are numerous online resources and charitable organisations which can be called upon to assist with arthritis and many local events and specialists which help with mobility, pain management and rehabilitation. Taking all this into mind it’s worth considering your body weight and general health, and try to exercise and keep fit and healthy. This is well documented as the best way to manage arthritis, most certainly in load bearing joints.
Understand your body and learn about the presentations. If weight loss goals are difficult to achieve due to joint pains and discomforts, consider managing your mobility via assistive devices such as orthotics, which will help to give you confidence and might assist you in taking the further steps needed to support your wellbeing.
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What can Orthotix do to help

The amount of supports and braces which help our joints throughout the body are extensive. There can be a lot of confusion around bracing and deciding which type might best suit your lifestyle and symptoms. Everything from your presentation to what design of brace is needed, to the materials used and at what appropriate expense can be a difficult task.
Orthotix have a diverse, wide range of products encompassing the whole body from head to toe. We offer orthosis which can give mild support and warmth, to specific offloading arthritis bracing which will optimise support levels. Not only do we offer a vast range of cost-effective choices which are all stocked in our 25,000 square foot UK warehouse, but we also have official partnerships with Orliman and Pavis as well as Ossur, who are the global leader of arthritic orthosis devices.
All the orthosis we offer are NHS approved, CE1 medical devices and are UKCA, and MDR certified and compliant. Rest assured that not only are you getting cost effective yet premium devices, but we also have an multi award winning customer service team which can assist you through your choices if you are still unsure.
Not only do we have our online web shop open to the public, but our dedicated customer service teams are available to assist via phone, online chat, and are reachable via social platforms such as facebook, Instagram, and twitter.
We also have a team of allied health care professionals trained by our consultant orthotist and clinical director, who have technical knowledge of conditions and bracing, and can offer not only advice and assistance as mentioned above but are also available for drop in fittings in our modern clinical facility in Cardiff. Alongside this, Orthotix are also offering a more bespoke service running private Orthotic clinics with our clinical director for that extra personal touch. Appointments can be requested via the website or by any of the contact methods mentioned above.

Easter Hol’s with Chocolate Recalls

Last week a well-known chocolate provider had to close its doors and recall millions of their chocolate products right before easter after health and safety concerns were raised following a salmonella outbreak. Ferrero, the Belgium chocolatiers have been reported to have had an outbreak of the bacteria in their Belgian factory which is responsible for the Easter egg which keeps on giving, the Kinder Surprise.
After reports across Germany, UK, France and Belgium, food standards agencies have requested recall on the kinder range including the infamous toy eggs, mini eggs, and maxi buenos. After careful consideration and investigation in to the outbreak, it was decided that the Belgian chocolatiers had to shut down and were requested to withdraw their products from sale and recall the goods across Europe, America and Asia.
Despite the reported outbreaks being linked to the Kinder products, the company has claimed the products which have been recalled have tested negative for salmonella, but they are taking the reports seriously and are putting the consumers first in any action they take.
So, what is Salmonella? how does it affect us? and more importantly how can it affect us in an Orthopaedic way?
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What is Salmonella…

Salmonella (Salmonellosis) is a bacterium that affects our intestinal tract. It typically is a live bacteria in the digestive system which is transmitted through faecal matter and is most commonly transmissible through contaminated food or water. The bacteria are usually found in raw meat, undercooked poultry, eggs, and unpasteurised milks, but can also be found on veggies and fruits from farming produce such as manure, which helps fertilise crops but is then not washed or cleaned sufficiently before eating.
Hygiene, poor hand washing, and food cleanliness are all factors. There is also a risk of increased exposure from international travel to places with poor water sanitation or places which have exotic bird or reptiles, as these are more prone to carry the bacteria.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection…

Salmonella typically will manifest with diarrhoea, vomiting and the usual gastrointestinal tract discomforts. Symptoms can last between 48 hours and a week. Hydration is key and maintaining a healthy water intake under these circumstances is advised. It is worth to mention that headaches, fevers, nausea, and fever like chills, can occur which are linked to the dehydration. Most healthy people will fully recover within the week without needing specific treatment.

Higher Risk Patient Groups…

Salmonella can affect those who are immunocompromised or have other medical problems which increase their risk of getting the bacteria and how the body fights it. The young and elderly are both at higher risk due to insufficient immune systems, either due to being underdeveloped (in the young) or being insufficient due to excessive age and wear. Those who are on medications to alter their immune systems (immunosuppressants) are also at higher risk as the drugs reduce the body’s natural ability to fight off the foreign bacteria’s. Salmonella infection also has transient links for those who are on anti-rejection drugs from organ transplants or on corticosteroids.
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What is autoimmune…

Autoimmunity is where the body’s immune system and its natural ability to fight infection is overactive. The result is the body mistakenly attacks and fights itself in the process of trying to fight a foreign infection. The easiest way to think about it is that your body has its own army ready to defend its own land and castle, however, for no particular reason that army chooses to attack its own people and castle, destroying itself in the process.
One common misunderstanding with autoimmune disease is the confusion between some forms of arthritis. We regularly hear people saying they have rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or rheumatism. In fact, the confusion here is usually between RA and Osteoarthritis. RA is autoimmune and is where the body fights its own cells and structures causing irreversible joint damage. Osteoarthritis is also joint damage, but this is caused by general wear and tear, over use and can be triggered by faulty biomechanics and trauma. For the most, people suffering with arthritis generally suffer from Osteoarthritis.
Other autoimmune conditions which work similarly but effect areas such as organs, the digestive system, our hormone regulation and nervous systems include Lupus, Crohn’s, Graves, Addison’s, and Multiple sclerosis.

Autoimmunity and infection…

These high-risk groups will get complications as the bacteria enters the blood stream. It travels into tissues and organs around the body and the dysfunctional immune systems then attacks the bacteria and itself in the process.
With the bacteria entering the joints and the associated soft tissues, it causes effusion (swelling) which causes joint stiffness, corrosion to the articular surfaces, and causes pains and muscle cramps. The common areas of concern are usually the spine and the lower limbs. Pains and symptoms occur around the hip, knee joint and legs in general. The pains and symptoms could be linked with feelings commonly found in Willis-Ekborn disease (restless leg syndrome). Quick diagnosis can assist with the most appropriate antibiotic choice, where needed, and subsequently results in quicker treatment and relief of the symptoms.
A systematic review from 2021 found that on average, 88% of patients infected with salmonella suffered from localised inflammatory response including erythema (reddening of the skin), moderate to severe swelling, and pain in the affected joints, with 75% of patients achieving a satisfactory recovery after treatment with antibiotics.

More serious / uncommon side effects…

Once in the blood the salmonella bacteria can cause blood infection (Sepsis) and can also cause infection in the bones (Osteomyelitis). These infections can then spread to other parts of the body resulting in other serious life changing conditions. Uncommon but reported, the infection can cause conditions such as meningitis (spinal cord and brain stem infection), endocarditis (heart infection) and can subsequently affect the linings of the arteries and blood vessels which can result in cardiovascular issues and result in higher risk of cerebrovascular accidents (CVA / stroke).
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Conclusion…

In the whole, salmonella poisoning is a fairly low-risk bacterial infection, and in a healthy population is one that our bodies will naturally deal with. Common infection symptoms such as a fever, elevated temperature, headaches and associated gastrointestinal discomforts will all resolve in time. However, in higher risk autoimmune patient groups the infection can be much more serious and can limit mobility, can start an unwanted immune reaction which could result in irreversible damage or other serious health concerns. Considering this, autoimmune and immunocompromised age groups should have their lab findings reviewed stringently to allow for early diagnosis and prompt treatment.
Despite all this, with over 67 cases currently reported this last week in the UK, and reports of children being hopsitalised, it is this which ultimately made worldwide food standard agencies take such a firm approach when considering the company closure. Knowing the affect salmonella can have on some higher risk groups and considering chocolate sales are so high at Easter, is why Ferrero and Kinder have complied with company closures. Be aware however, this shouldn’t stop anyone gorging on chocolate this Easter. Other chocolate brands are available!
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Hernia Treatment in 2022

More than a million hernia operations are undertaken in the UK every year and millions more choose to manage their hernias non-operatively and continue with daily life experiencing unease and discomfort. In addition to the Covid lockdowns of 2020 and the restrictions placed on elective surgeries throughout the UK, hernia operations have seen a reduction of 40%, with over six million patients still pending on waiting lists. With extended estimated lead times for non-urgent hernia repairs, it looks like waiting times could be anywhere up to 5 years. With this is mind, there is now an even higher demand for Orthosis to manage hernias in a non-operative capacity.
Hernias occur when part of your internal soft tissues protrude through a weakness in surrounding tissues and muscle walls. These weaknesses can naturally occur from a multitude of different causes. These could include muscle wastage associated with age, general wear and tear, prolonged stress or strain which forms increased intra-cavity pressure and can also occur secondary to a surgical incision.

Inguinal and Femoral Hernias

Inguinal hernias are the most prevalent hernia contributing to over 90% of hernias. They occur in men and appear when the intestine finds a weakness in the upper part of the groin and thigh. The hernia originates after passing through a natural aperture in the groin area called the inguinal canal. This canal is the pathway for the spermatic cord and associated blood vessels and nerves for the testes and lower limb. Due to its natural opening, it acts like a gateway and allows easier passage for the intestine to herniate through it. The prevalence in men is also increased due to straining or excertive exercise which can further exacerbate the issue. Lifting heavier items, heavy weightlifting or excessive toilet straining furthers the risk of developing an inguinal hernia.
Femoral hernias result in a comparable way to that of inguinal hernias. These mostly occur in women rather than men and are less prevalent than inguinal types, usually only contributing to 6-8% of hernias in the groin area. The femoral canal, like the inguinal canal, allows for easy passage for the intestine to pass through the muscle walls and herniate. The femoral canal is slightly lower in nature to the inguinal canal and is located more at hip level. Women have a naturally wider hip, and this results in the femoral canal being stretched. This therefore makes the gateway for the hernia to be larger allowing the intestine to pass much easier in this area in-comparison to than of a man.
Traditionally, groin related hernias were treated with belts and leather padding via an orthosis called a truss. These would work by means of promoting a reducible hernia by hand and then applying the belt and pad over the area to plug and filling the void.

Abdominal Hernias

Abdominal Hernia’s are much less prevalent than inguinal / femoral hernias. These can occur through the umbilicus at birth, via weakness in the abdomen wall, or can result due to pendulous stomachs, pregnancy, surgical incision, or from stoma care. Primary midline hernias are the most common type of abdomen hernia and will include umbilical hernia, para-umbilical, supra-umbilical, and epigastric types.
Birth related hernias usually occur around the umbilicus and result from the separation of the umbilical cord from the baby. The cord runs through the abdominal wall to provide nutrients to the baby during pregnancy. This opening will usually close naturally after birth, however, sometimes can remain open. With a newborn crying and the increased physical exertion in their abdomen, the belly button herniates. These can be massaged and supported with umbilical belts that help support and correct the protrusion, and will usually naturally disappear within the first few years of the babies life. Umbilical hernias are low in prevalence, however, 1 in 5 babies suffering from them. As mentioned earlier these can still occur in adults and are supported with similar belt like navel orthosis that support the waist and the navel area to alleviate pain and reduce any prominence.
Other abdominal hernias commonly arise in the midline where a fibrous tissue called the Linea Alba separates. Its weaker structure compared to than of its surround muscles (rectus abdominus aka the six pack muscles) means its more prone to herniation. The Linea Alba is also known to stretch and thin with larger abdomen types, so it’s also more prevalent to separating if you are overweight or pregnant.
Incisional hernias occur around the abdomen as a result of abdominal surgery. The Linea Alba plays a role in this when there is midline incision. The reason for this is that it has limited blood supply meaning it is a good insertion site for surgeons due to its lack of blood loss in theatre. However, with the incision this creates a further weakness in the abdomen muscles and can force the intestine to re-herniated around the surgical site. Even with gauzing placed subcutaneously to limit post operative displacement, the weakness through the incision can still appear elsewhere and therefore binders can be used to promoting compression and act as a second abdomen, helping to improve healing and aiding in swelling reduction and mobility post operatively.

Products to assist with Common Hernias.

Orthotix are a UK based NHS supplier of class 1 medical devices and the off the shelf range of modern and discrete hernia supports are now available to the NHS and the public and cover a wide array of hernia conditions as mentioned above. Manufactured by both of our partners, Pavis and Orliman, the range encompasses a selection of machine washable hernia supports with innovative materials and cotton-based products to cover a wide array of hernia presentations.
A new innovative way to treat groin related hernias such as inguinal and femoral types is via Hernia Underwear. Used as an alternative to the traditional leather truss type belts, these highly compressive briefs, boxer shorts, and Y front type slips provide uniformed compression around the pelvis and groin and can also provide mild abdominal compression when chosen in the deeper variants. Designed by Healthcare Professionals to effectively reduce pain and discomfort, the low profile, discrete hernia underwear improves cosmetic appearance, offers unparalleled comfort, and are unrestrictive to allow for uninhibited mobility, making them ideal for prolonged daily use.
In addition to this innovative hernia underwear range, Orthotix also offer a selection of other hernia supports including traditional truss’s, elasticated abdominal binders, Stoma care supports, and a selection of genito-hernia supports such as jock straps, bag truss’s and prolapse truss’s.
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