Arthritis knee pain flaring up with the change in weather?

An unloader knee brace is specifically designed for treating arthritis knee pain.

Do your bones ache when the weather changes?  Does your osteoarthritis knee pain prevent you from enjoying your daily activities? Studies show that cold, wet weather negatively affects people with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. 

For osteoarthritis knee pain relief, you need a prescription from your doctor for an unloader-style knee brace. A custom-fitted unloader knee orthosis (brace) has a range of settings to dial in to make the brace as comfortable as possible. Your practitioner should be able to show you how to use the different settings.

Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Solutions

An OA brace can relieve bone-on-bone joint pain and slow down the degenerative process. Dynamic OA braces open the joint only when the leg is extended and the most pain relief is needed. No pressure is applied when the leg is bent. With dynamic unloading, these braces are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

Treatment with the correct knee brace can relieve most osteoarthritis symptoms:

  • Pain, after overuse or after long periods of inactivity
  • Aching and soreness of the joints
  • Stiffness after periods of rest, swelling of the joints.

Cold weather brings on aches and pains – it is not your imagination. Most common in weight-bearing joints, the pain can settle into your knees, hips and ankles. It is important to remember that stiffness is one of your body’s early warning signs. If the symptoms persist, be sure to check in with your doctor. If stiffness and joint pain persist it might be a sign that you have arthritis, and you want to address the issue as soon as possible with your doctor to prevent further progression.

The Collier-Laurence Orthotic Team works with your doctor and other care providers to find the correct knee orthosis (brace) for your diagnosis. We have these tips for those who might be shopping for an osteoarthritis knee brace:

1)     How many patients does the facility see monthly? The busiest clinics tend to have the more experienced practitioners.

2)     Look for an orthosis (brace) recommended by your doctor for your specific condition. How many different OA braces do they offer to patients?

a.     Pittet style

b.     Large styles

c.     Valgus / varus

d.     Custom / off the shelf

e.     Hand Dexterity problems

f.      Sports related

3)     Do they have a return policy on braces that don’t provide pain relief? Will they provide other options?

4)     Your brace can’t help you if you don’t wear it regularly. If your brace is uncomfortable or pinching, contact the provider and they should be able to make adjustments for a better fit.

 

Additional Reading:

Unfortunately, there is no cure for arthritis, but there are ways to manage the pain and slow down the progression of arthritis. Although it maybe difficult, staying active is important. Make sure to check with your doctor or physical therapist for appropriate exercises for your condition.

What causes so much pain in my knees?

The stages of Osteoarthritis

Practitioner Paul Easterwood – Certified Orthotic Assistant & Certified Pedorthist

From creative baker to creating orthoses

Paul’s journey from orthotic tech to his dream job of helping patients at Laurence and Collier O and P.

Paul was a full time assistant baker and head cake decorator in 2002. The hours were early — he remembers the alarm clock going off at 3am and thinking, is this what I want to do with my life?

In the summer of 2002, I met Bob Jensen and he hired me as an orthotic technician. The work was part time at first – after I finished my day at the bakery I would drive to Laurence Orthopedic and begin my shift modifying and fabricating custom arch supports. My background in art made this a pretty natural transition for me, and I found the job challenging but fun. After a few months, I was hired full time as an orthotic and prosthetic technician and left my job at the bakery.

I would study foot anatomy books and ask questions about everything. I really wanted to understand why I was doing what I was doing, what function did this modification serve? How does this affect how the foot orthotic feels on the patient’s foot?

Over the next few years I worked with the technicians at Laurence, learning how to fabricate AFO’s, knee braces, spine braces and prosthetics of all kinds.

I was constantly learning something new and developing my own techniques for fabricating devices. Our fabrication was pretty efficient in those days but I still thought we could to better, I created a workflow board and job tracking to get the lab more organized. With fabricating knowledge, I started shadowing the clinicians at Laurence helping with patient care. I found this was what I truly loved to do. I took a certified fitter course, took my board certification exam and became a certified orthotic fitter.

I continued to fabricate as well as see patients. Most of my time was spent seeing patients and overseeing fabrication as the lab supervisor. I still wanted more so I went back to college. Nights and weekends were spent going to class and falling asleep with books. I then went on to take my boards in 2008 to become a Certified Orthotic Assistant to further my patient care scope of practice.

At this point my focus was almost all on patient care, casting, fitting and follow up of my patients, going to clinics and assisting in the formulation of design for the devices I was providing. I was seeing a lot of people with ankle and foot dis-function — it is something that is complex and challenging. It is satisfying to me if I can help someone regain a function or reduce some pain with their daily activities.

With a lot of my focus on the foot and ankle I attended the Francis Tuttle Pedorthic Program.

In 2017 I took my board certification and became a Certified Pedorthist. I still like to fabricate but my heart is for helping people by making a small difference in someone’s life and seeing how it affects them is what drives me. I have patients that were once active; hikers, runners and even some marathon runners they have come in, now dragging their foot as they walk, hoping that anything will help. I talk to them about their goals, “What do you want this brace to do for you?” most of the time the answer is walk without stumbling. Some of those people have returned to their active lifestyle, as much as they tell me I’ve helped them it’s gratifying for me to see how much it helps them.

I look forward to working tougher cases in ankle and foot orthotics. I love to teach people what I know, so ultimately having a bigger team to teach and learn from is what I look forward to over the next few years.

You can contact Paul Easterwood at our Oakland Office at 510-658-2062.
Collier Family of Companies
Sacramento, Pleasant Hill, Oakland

Now part of the Collier Family – Laurence Orthotics and Prosthetics

Laurence Orthopedic is Now a Member of the Collier Family of Companies

Laurence Orthopedic was established by Matt Laurence in 1946 and has been providing prosthetic and orthotic patient care services to the Oakland and the East Bay communities for over 70 years.
Laurence Orthopedic specializes in orthotic treatment for scoliosis and clubfoot and state-of-the-art prosthetic services for veterans with limb loss.

Director of Prosthetics George Villarruel talks about the Collier-Laurence transition.

My name is George Villarruel, Director of Prosthetics at Collier-Laurence Orthotics and Prosthetics. I want to speak about the additions-acquisition of Laurence Orthotics and Prosthetics into the Collier Family. This will allow us to service new accounts and to spread our philosophy of compassion and service to the orthotics and prosthetics communities. We feel we can provide excellent service to the pediatric and adult populations in need of an orthotic or prosthetic device.

Continue to our website for help with your orthosis or prosthesis.

Double Upright AFO helps diabetic patient get back on his feet

Practitioner Ray Diaz recently cared for Mr. Harrell, a 50-year-old diabetic. He presented with a very unstable gait and had been previously diagnosed with left foot drop secondary to a stroke and leaving him with left side paralysis. Mr. Harrell would his arms for balance while ambulating, and had experienced a number of falls.

certified orthotist, custom afo

Certified Orthotist Ray Diaz

Ray fabricated a left double upright Ankle Foot Orthosis with extra depth shoes and custom accommodative inserts for Mr. Harrell. The AFO is used to control the instability in his lower limb by maintaining proper alignment and controlling motion and drop foot. The double upright AFO will be attached to the diabetic shoe which allows for edema and protects the diabetic foot from any shear forces. His chronic diabetic neuropathic condition requires extra depth shoes and custom diabetic inserts to accommodate his deformed feet. The AFO will also protect his de-sensitized feet from repetitive stress and irritation – something his current shoes were not providing.

Mr. Harrell has been wearing the double upright AFO for a few weeks now and it has boosted his confidence. He has been very satisfied with the progress he has made toward resuming his normal walking routine.

Mr. Harrell had a few words to describe his patient experience at Collier:

“Ray Diaz treated me with professionalism and was very kind to me. I can walk a lot better! Everything was done in a timely manner and he made me feel at home. I love my new shoes and brace! I am very happy I was referred to Collier.”

Pediatric Case Study: Helping a young patient transition to wearing a prosthesis.

On a recent Monday afternoon, Harmony was meeting with practitioner George Villarruel for her final fitting for the new prosthesis she will wear.

Harmony was born as a congenital right trans radial amputee. Now that she was getting older, her parents wanted to give her an opportunity for bi manual function.

pediatric prosthesis

Laura Kendall (left), Harmony (right) without devices and wearing their prosthesis.

Over about 5 visits, George has been working with Harmony for fittings and preparing her for some of the challenges when adapting to a prosthesis. In fact, George thought it could be helpful to Harmony and her parents to speak with someone who has lived as an amputee since birth. Laura Kendall, a long-time congenital left trans radial patient, came to the office to meet the family. Harmony’s parents were thrilled to connect with someone who really understood their daughter’s challenges – and Laura had such a happy, positive attitude that reinforces with Harmony that life is not about what you don’t have, it is about what you can achieve.

Harmony is eager and excited to use her new prosthesis when it is finished in the next week. You can learn more about Laura’s story here.

 

pediatric practitionereGeorge Villarruel has trained our team in all aspects of care for young patients and their families. His psychology background helps him understand patient care and help our patients heal on the outside and the inside. If you have a question you can contact George here.

 

Pediatric Upper Extremity Prosthesis, A Mother’s Testimonial

When treating pediatric prosthetic patients, working with the family ensures patient success.

Pediatric Upper Extremity Prosthesis

Colin’s Mom expressed her thanks: “It always seemed that George presented a wealth of information regarding the options for my son’s care — with the goal of helping my husband and I decide what would be best for our son as well as practical for our lifestyle.” Maria Haugseth, Sacramento, CA; Colin’s Mom

Colin needed to be fit for his first prosthesis. His long-term treatment plan was developed with his team of caregivers and his mom. Colin was treated by George Villarruel, one of our pediatric and upper extremity prosthetic specialist practitioners. He customized the prosthesis and educated Colin and his mom over a period of about a year during treatment.

Colin’s Mom was with him every step of the way and she deserves a lot of credit for her positive outlook and supportive encouragement. Over the many visits and with a lot of hard work, Colin is now successfully doing more activities with his new arm prosthesis and is not letting anything hold him back.

Colin is ecstatic to be riding his bike!

With the support of his family, and a prosthetic device from Collier O and P, Colin is ready to tackle his next goal.

Our Pediatric Prosthetic Care Specialists

  • Extensive experience working with pediatric patients
  • Veterans are welcome to come for a consultation about problems or challenges with their current prosthesis
  • Our bilingual practitioners can converse with patients in their chosen language

Pediatric Upper Extremity Prosthesis

Our lead prosthetist spent many years with Shriners Hospitals for Children. The volume of patients seen in this inpatient setting established him as a specialist in upper and lower extremity prosthetic care for children and their growing needs. Our philosophy is that we want to treat the family first, and then the patient will have the understanding and guidance they need to be self-reliant.

Collier Orthotics and Prosthetics has offices in Sacramento and the Bay Area Region. Please call 916-979-9729 and we can answer your questions and set an appointment at the location most convenient for you.

Local Orthopedist Volunteers with Operation Rainbow, Healing Patients Around the World

Operation Rainbow provides life-changing medical care to more than 80,000 children and young adults, including more than 18,000 surgeries in 19 developing countries.

Millions around the world live everyday with the pain caused by congenital birth defects and accidents. In the poverty-stricken countries where many of these children live, public healthcare is lacking and families are too poor to address illness or injury as it arises, and they have given thousands of patients the opportunity for a better life.

Generous donors and volunteers are key in helping us change their lives for the better. Last year, Operation Rainbow performed more than 460 free surgeries and treated more than 6,500 other patients for orthopedic and other medical conditions not requiring surgery. The Operation Rainbow team completed 11 medical missions to communities in Honduras, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Haiti and the West Bank. Part of their mission is to educate local health professionals to encourage medical self-sufficiency.

All team members are volunteers who participate without compensation on their own time. Without the generous donation of supplies from vendors and assistance from friends and family they couldn’t do this work. And there is so much work to do.

You can help educate others about Operation Rainbow by sharing this message, donating or volunteering.

http://Operationrainbow.org

Jon Boone works at Roseville Kaiser orthopedic department as The Senior Orthopedic Technician. He has referred patients to Collier for many years and we have donated orthopedic bracing supplies to the Operation Rainbow since 2009.

“Other than my first mission that was ‘eye opening ‘, the most memorable was our mission to Haiti following the earthquake in 2010. Many children had lost everything… their homes and families and still they would sing songs and help each other as they recovered from injuries. Being able to take my skills and apply it helping those less fortunate makes all the time and expense worthwhile,” says Boone.

Jon’s first mission was to Ecuador in 2009. Since then, he has made 16 missions to Ecuador, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Mexico. His next mission is to Honduras.

A determined Sandra gets a reciprocating gait orthosis, and gets out of her wheelchair!

reciprocating gait orthosis

From her first meeting with Practitioner Brian Lee, Sandra Thomas was eager to be able to reach a new activity level.

gait orthosesAfter being in a wheelchair for almost 5 years, Sandra wants to walk without any assistive devices or orthoses. Sandra’s biggest challenge has been to overcome her unstable gait due to a spinal cord injury. She has been working with Brian Lee for the last 6 months to learn and adapt to her new device.

 

Collier Solution: By applying the reciprocating gait orthosis, Brian was able to give Sandra the stability to stand and transfer the strength and momentum of her upper body to her legs. She can now ambulate and feels the sensation of lower extremity muscle contraction. She is very hopeful to continue to progress toward independent ambulation.

As you can see by the video, Sandra Thomas is determined and knows it will not be easy – our reward is to see how excited and grateful she is to receive this device that will help her toward her goal.

Are you interested in learning more about RGO development? Ask a Collier Practitioner below, or call us for a consultation.

Pediatric Case Study – Cerebral Palsy, Spinal Instability

Patient Challenge:

Sophia’s mother was concerned that Sophia always slouched severely and seemed to be in pain. She also always looked down, and could not make eye contact with those around her.

spinal instability, cerebral palsyCollier Resolution:

Practitioner Brian Lee cast Sophia sitting upright to maintain lumbar and kyphotic curves in the ideal position, and with appropriate scapular adduction and shoulder retraction. Secondarily, the goal was to maintain her cervical spine in extension.

Over the last 6 months, Mom has reported that Sophia seems happier, and is able to look up and see the world around her and, most importantly, make eye contact.

Collier Practitioner Brian Lee, CPO is CCS Paneled and bilingual in Spanish. You can read his bio here.
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