August 2010

Market Mechanics

Mile High Orthotics Lab joins list of Colorado companies to watch

Commerce City, CO-based Mile High Orthotics Lab was honored this summer by Colorado Biz Magazine as one of the Top 50 companies in Colorado to watch in 2010.

The list, published in the June issue of the magazine, can be viewed online at www.cobizmag.com.  The Colorado Companies to Watch program is organized by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade in association with economic development councils throughout the state. The panel of independent judges selected the companies based on such factors as employee or sales growth, entrepreneurial leadership and sustainable competitive advantage. Companies selected must be privately held, employ six to 99 workers, generate $750,000 to $50 million in sales or a similar range of working capital, and be headquartered in Colorado.

In its description of MHOL, the magazine notes that a company strength is the Computer Aided Manufacturing scanner system it offers to doctors, which eliminates the need for messy plaster and gives doctors more time to spend with patients. The description also highlights the company’s market niche as the exclusive distributor of The Walkwell Custom AFO, its “family-first” philosophy, and the handball court, basketball hoop, and workout room that now occupy what was previously extra warehouse space.

Trial of Dynasplint product finds place in plantar fasciitis literature

The randomized controlled trial supporting Dynasplint dynamic splinting for relief of plantar fasciitis pain has been published in the May-June issue of the Journal of the American Podiatric Medical Association.

Patients with plantar fasciitis who wore the Ankle Dorsiflexion Dynasplint dynamic splinting device, from Severna Park, MD-based Dynasplint Systems, experienced significantly greater improvement in pain levels after 12 weeks than patients who received only nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, orthoses, and corticosteroid injections as needed.

The 60-subject study involved participation from clinics in Sacramento, CA; Fort Worth, TX; Orlando, FL, and Marietta, GA. Patients in the experimental group wore the device for six to eight hours continuously each night while sleeping.

Although the study’s overall conclusions in the published article are consistent with do not differ those presented at the 2009 meeting of the American Podiatric Medical Association (see “Market Mechanics: APMA Round-Up,” August, page 66), some of the specific figures differ slightly following more rigorous statistical analysis. In the published article, mean pain levels after 12 weeks decreased by 33 points on the 100-point Plantar Fasciopathy Pain/Disability Scale in the experimental group, compared to 2 points for the control group.

Studies document MBT shoe effects but note falloff with accommodation

Two published studies confirm that the trendy Masai Barefoot Technology shoes increase movement variability and extrinsic foot muscle activity, but also suggest that these effects become less pronounced as users become accommodated to the shoes.

The rocker-bottom shoes from Swiss company MBT are intended to decrease the wearer’s stability and challenge the muscles of the lower extremity to correct for that instability.

Researchers from the University of Salzburg in Austria analyzed 12 student volunteers while walking on a treadmill in MBT shoes and conventional shoes, and found that movement variability was 35% higher in the MBT shoes. However, the difference in variability gradually decreased over the course of a 12-week training period in which subjects wore the MBT shoes for at least four hours each day. By the end of the 12 weeks, movement variability was similar for the two shoe conditions. Those findings were e-published on June 25 by Clinical Biomechanics.

Investigators from the University of Calgary measured electromyographic activity and postural sway in 28 healthy subjects while wearing MBT shoes, stable shoes, and barefoot. They found that the MBT shoes were associated with greater postural sway and increased EMG activity of the flexor digitorum longus, peroneal, and anterior compartment muscles, but not the soleus muscle. However, postural sway in the MBT shoes decreased over the course of a six-week accommodation period. The results were published in the June issue of Gait & Posture.

CMT Awareness Week makes debut

The Charcot Marie Tooth Association has announced that the first national Charcot Marie Tooth Awareness Week will be Sept. 19-26.

Radio and television personality Shadoe Stevens, former host of American Top 40, will be recording a public service announcement about CMT that will be broadcast on 800 radio stations during the CMT Awareness Week. Stevens does not have CMT but supports the association.

By Labor Day, the CMTA plans to have posters, brochures, magnets, buttons, balloons, glow star necklaces available for distribution at awareness events nationwide. CMTA “Circle of Friends” t-shirts, which say “Working together for a cure” on the back, are being offered for just $5 as part of the awareness week promotions; each shirt comes with a free STAR (Strategy to Accelerate Research) wristband.  The STAR initiative was established in 2008 with the objective of developing therapies for the three most prevalent types of CMT within the next five years and the ability to reverse symptoms in some patients within 10 years.

For more information, visit www.cmtausa.org.

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