Story Behind In The Groove Brace

My name is Alice M. Brown, RPh., Pharm D., FMPA and I am the inventor and designer of this knee brace-here is my story. I was in a terrible head-on car accident on my way to work one day. The Jaws of Life were required to extricate me. Safety belts and driver air bags saved my life. I suffered multiple injuries to my hands, arms, knees, right foot, face and back. I had multiple surgeries on my hand and right foot including right foot reconstruction. I was in a wheelchair for over 16 months. I had multiple courses of physical therapy, and had to relearn to walk five times in the first two years after the accident.

I wanted to get my life back and to lose the weight I gained while in a wheelchair, so I started working on the treadmill, five minutes a day to 2 mph. Doing so, I injured my “good” knee on my “good leg”. Thinking that the pain was just something I had to work through, I continued the routine for three days. When I was barely able to walk, due to the knee pain, and was back in the wheelchair, I stopped the treadmill exercise program. I saw my orthopedic physician. He suggested that I rest the knee for four to six weeks. When this did not help, he ordered knee MRI. The MRI revealed that I had fluid on the knee and arthritis and a 0.5 cm opacificed density in the knee joint. Subsequent knee arthroscopy also revealed a damaged (“shredded”) medial meniscus, Chondromalacia and a Baker’s Cyst. Following arthroscopic surgery, I did very well for two weeks. Then knee joint became swollen again. I again ended up in the wheelchair. My orthopedic physician recommended that I try physical therapy again and if that was not successful, I would need a knee replacement surgery.

At physical therapy I was evaluated and given exercises. One exercise totally relieved my pain and allowed me to use my knee again. The exercise that gave me relief involved having the physical therapist, Mel Svorinic, putting one hand above my knee on the lateral thigh and one hand below my knee on the medial leg and then gently pressing with each hand toward the center of the leg while I flexed and extended the leg. This is known as the Mulligan mobilization with movement (MWM) glide. (If this hand position does not work, the hand positions are reversed.)

The next day of physical therapy when I walked into Physical Therapy with minimal pain, Mel asked what I had done . The first day I could barely walk into the physical therapy department and now I was able to walk without a lot of pain. I told him that since he would not come home with me, I did the next best thing — I made a brace to do what he did. I purchased several knee braces, took out the metal stays from a carpal tunnel brace I had, and made a knee brace. My skills as a home seamstress, farrier (with limited metal working skills), and a pilot (with 3 dimensional visualization skills) combined with my intimate knowledge of medicine and bracing as a pharmacist who was trained in a brace fitting and as a brace user (with a box full of various hand, wrist, shoulder, elbow, knee, ankle and full leg braces along with canes, crutches, walker’s, my wheelchair and electric scooter) all came together and made this possible.

Mel was very impressed with my brace. He told me that he had never seen anything like it and that I should have it patented.

I was just glad that it worked and I could walk again with minimal pain in the “good” leg. My husband and I did a patent search — we were unable to find anything else like this brace and subsequently consulted a lawyer about patenting it. The lawyer had an independent patent search done and also found nothing like this brace.

What makes this brace unique is it’s wrap around design, use of stays to help to restore normal alignment of the knee, and allowing the knee cap to move normally. The small opposing force is enough to help align the thigh and the lower leg. Once proper structure is restored, new damage to the knee is stopped or slowed, pain is relieved and the muscles of the leg are trained to work to maintain this better functional alignment JUST BY WEARING THE BRACE. — this is an “exercise” that most people, including me, will do.

Hopefully, someone else can benefit from my disability, my efforts to minimize my disability, to maximize my function, to relieve my pain and to ultimately improve my quality-of-life.

I will probably still need the knee replacement surgery, and am in physical therapy for reoccurrences, but for now I am mobile, have much less pain, have improved my quality of life and continue to make the best of my abilities.


About The Inventor

This brace was designed by a pharmacist who has training as an orthotic fitter, a provider of durable medical equipment, a caregiver and first hand knowledge. She is disabled resulting from injuries sustained in a head-on motor vehicle accident. The Jaws of life were required to extricate her from her car. She sustained severe injuries to her foot, ankle, knees, hands, arms, shoulder, face and low back .

Prior to her motor vehicle accident, she was also a home seamstress, a Farrier, with limited metal working skills, and a pilot, with three-dimensional thinking. She was in a wheel of chair for 16 months and had worked very hard regain her mobility, including having to relearn to walk five times the first two years after the accident. Unfortunately she still has to use an electric scooter or wheel chair for extended distances. She is committed to helping others to help themselves to regain mobility and improve their quality of life.

Alice Brown-Inventor and Designer, RPh, PharmD, FMPA


CONTACT US:

Write us:
In The Groove LLc
P.O. Box 6056
Saginaw, MI
48608-6056

Phone:1 (517) 781-6030
Fax: 1 (517) 781-6051
Email: abrown@inthegroovebrace.com

 

 

 

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