24 October 2021
The 24th of October marks World Polio Day, a worldwide day of campaigning and awareness-raising with a single focus: ending polio. Of course, thanks to polio vaccination, there has not been a case of polio in the UK since the 1980s. But, for many older people, contracting the virus during childhood has left them with lifelong symptoms and an increased risk of complications from post-polio syndrome – or PPS.
The effects of polio vary greatly. In some cases, the virus leaves people with muscle weakness, muscle atrophy, tight joints and deformities of the limbs (for example, twisted ankles or legs). That, in turn, affects mobility and independence and can also cause considerable discomfort.
Some patients also go on to experience recurring or worsening polio symptoms as much as several decades later. This is what is known as post-polio syndrome. Often, the onset of PPS means that orthotic treatment needs to be reviewed to overcome new challenges that the patient is facing.
The right orthotics – in particular lower limb orthotics like neuro-tronic KAFOS, can help enormously with managing pain and retaining the independence of movement. Often, patients approach LOC because they want to explore whether our tailor-made orthotics offer a better solution than standard splints or callipers. Thanks to our in-house manufacturing capabilities, CAD/CAM milling with Victor the Robot, and cutting-edge techniques including the use of carbon fibre and neurotronics, we are able to design orthotic solutions that provide superior comfort, a better fit and more support for the affected limb or limbs.
Here are just some of the patients who have benefited from orthotic intervention at LOC over the past few years.
“This is the leg I feel I should have been born with…”
Thirty-year-old Sarah contracted polio as a child, leading to years of orthopaedic surgery, physiotherapy and orthotic intervention. She has never let the condition stop her from leading an active and fulfilling life. But, when Sarah’s condition developed into post-polio syndrome, her symptoms became more severe and standard orthotics no longer gave her the support she needed.
LOC manufactured a bespoke neurotronic KAFO for Sarah. The moment when she first tried her orthotic on in clinic was emotional! The impact was immediate, leading to some tears of joy and even a little dance. It is these moments that make our work at LOC all worthwhile.
“I am most thankful to Sam and his colleagues for their dedication to my case…”
When you wear an orthotic, it’s important to be able to get any problems fixed quickly. John, a polio and post-polio patient who has worn a KAFO for many years, was unlucky enough to experience a malfunction in his splint right at the start of an extended vacation in the UK!
Luckily, he found our Kingston clinic and we were able to step in double-quick. Not only did we apply a temporary fix immediately, we also recommended that a custom-made carbon fibre KAFO would be far more comfortable and promote better mobility and a more natural gait. John’s holiday was saved, and he left with a far better long-term solution to maintain his mobility moving forwards.
John tests out his new KAFO at LOC's Kingston clinic.
Working with LOC and Elaine has been a great experience – they really take the time to look at your child and understand their individual challenges and needs. For parents who are in the same position that we were, I would say do your research – see what clinics are available near you and what the costs are, but my feeling is it’s worth every penny.
After 10 years of daily physiotherapy and swimming, not to mention SDR, hamstring and tendon lengthening, we have finally achieved independent walking – it was a mother’s day gift that would take some beating.
LOC’s video vector technology measures exactly where Austin’s weight is being distributed, how his hips are moving and how his legs are moving. It’s those insights that have made his new AFOs so effective. Even within a few days, LOC’s splints have had more impact on his independence of movement than anything else we have done.
Since his new orthoses, his change has been remarkable. He is more mobile and can walk independently. Jason is now walking indoors and outdoors and is unrestricted. He is now properly enjoying the summer sunshine for the first time in a few years with no complaints of pain.
It has been a breath of fresh air – LOC’s ability to accommodate Sophie’s circumstances and manufacture her orthotics so quickly has taken a huge amount of potential stress away. Alan talks to Sophie as well - she looks forward to seeing him. He has even been able to fulfil her request to have her SMOs decorated with unicorns! It makes her feel special and much happier about wearing them.
I can now go a mile without having to stop, so it is a lot better and I’m walking in a regular pattern now. The orthotic fits perfectly because LOC took proper mouldings and photographs; they were very thorough.
“I can walk a mile now without having to stop…”
John contracted polio in the 1950s, aged just 18 months old. As a result, he has sustained permanent muscle damage. For years, he wore traditional callipers to help him walk – but he was frustrated that they were uncomfortable, he also had to rely on crutches, and his pelvis was becoming weaker.
A new, lightweight carbon fibre KAFO from LOC has greatly improved Jon’s comfort and mobility. Plus, due to post-polio syndrome causing further muscle deterioration in his other leg, we added a second lower limb orthotic to help Jon adapt to a normal “leg over leg” gait pattern and build his strength. When Jon came to see us, he could only walk 150 feet without feeling exhausted. Now, he can walk for a mile confidently!
We have the following facilities and amenities at our Kingston Upon Thames location:
We also have the Gait Laboratory for orthotics patients and Onsite Manufacturing for speedy turnarounds and adjustments whilst you wait.
We have the following facilities and amenities at our Cambridge location:
We have the following facilities and amenities at our Bristol location:
For more information, visit Litfield House Medical Centre.
LOC’s clinic is based in the University of Salford’s Podiatry Department and provides treatments for orthotics, scoliosis, pectus deformities, positional plagiocephaly and club foot.
It is also the base for LOC’s northern OSKAR clinic which is run by Sam Walmsley, clinical director of LOC, in conjunction with Elaine Owen MBE MSc SRP MCSP.
Due to COVID-19, we have had to temporarily close the Salford clinic and are operating out of another clinic in Bolton.
508 Blackburn Rd,
For more information, please visit The Good Health Centre