Orthopedics in Orange

While clearly incontinence products are still the primary focus of this little blog, from time to time I make it a point to get out there and after last year’s visit to Medcare, now there was another opportunity to delve into other areas of medical care by attending OT World. Before we dig into the specific stuff, first let’s check some of the a little more off-beat things. At OFA Bamberg‘s stand they had this big sheep and the little guy in me of course immediately kicked in and wanted to take it home. Since that wasn’t possible, they gave away small versions in exchange for letting yourself be photographed and posting on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Since I don’t actively use those services, including the picture in this post is the least I can do.

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On another booth they had this pirate ship, which probably would have been something for little Niklas. Though lately he’s more into Ninjago, it would probably have taken a while to pull him away from this ship. The only thing really missing was a big cannon.

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As a show aimed at all things to do with rehabilitation, physical therapy and the like it was of course overflowing with all sorts of bandages, casts, splits, orthotics, prosthetics and whatever you can imagine. I could have taken a million photos of more or less always the same products, just from different manufacturers/ vendors, so the images are just a generic taster of what you could see there. Most vendors are also trying to apply their expertise and offering stuff as protection and utilities for sports activities, which apparently also happens to be financially lucrative. Ardent soccer afficionados would probably object to seeing Borussia Dortmund and Bayern München attire so close together, though.

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One thing that stood out – and hence my title for this article – is a strange obsession of this industry with the color orange. From mannequins to the carpet it was so predominant on some stands, it almost hurt the eyes. Not that I have anything against it, butI wonder if it wouldn’t be strange to be in a room where so much orange is present.

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For these workout machines it would also be difficult to keep them clean. On such bright colors you see every tiny scratch and stain. This also brought up some memories when I was still active at Kieser Training some years ago. It sometimes felt like being pinched in a vice, which goes to show that the line between medical training and torture devices is a fine one. ;-)

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No such show could be complete without a few wheely chairs, of course, and while on some days I feel so crushed that I’m too lazy to walk from my bed to the bathroom and would just love to be carted around, I’m not there yet and this little selection of children’s chairs is merely random based on visual factors. It just struck me as interesting that they still use wood (for an in-house chair, from the looks of it) and of course those show pieces with some equipment crafters gone wild are funny.

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On to other departments, limb prosthetics have a weird, somewhat morbid fascination. It’s strange to know what they are meant for and then be fascinated by their intricate shapes and technical details. This even goes back as far as my trip to London a few years ago when on the day of departure I saw what I assumed to be an Iraq veteran who had lost both his legs walking the halls at Heathrow with his two replacements clearly visible while wearing short pants. On the show you could see a lot of similar people serving as models for the various vendors. My only peeve with that they tend to glorify it by choosing people that are into sports and that and then boast about how technologically advanced their replacement legs and arms are. Sometimes you really get the impression one should saw off one’s own leg because you get a better prosthetic one and join the Paralympics when the reality of it is a quite different one. Still, it’s a good thing to see how things have advanced from those old carved wood blocks.

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One of the benefits of those advancements and the available materials is a wide variety of customization options with printed plastic materials, coating papers and cloth. I was particularly impressed by the ones from U-Exist, which obviously is a collective of experienced fashion designers. Almost inevitably when seeing the design with the animals my child-like side surfaced again and I got excited. I swear, I’d even wear this particular cover just as extra long stockings in autumn/ winter – openly with shorts. It’s just damned cute. I also dig some of the other designs like the space one or the spider web like variations.

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Another prominent theme were of course orthopedic/ therapeutic shoes of all sorts. I probably could have haggled out a good discounted price for a good pair of fine leather shoes, specifically adapted to my slightly crooked feet, but I was just so overwhelmed and didn’t think of it. ;-) I just snatched a few pics for corrective shoes for toddlers and some shoes named after cities in Germany.

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At the end, after only like three hours I was so exhausted, I was ready to take one of those and drive home.

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Overall it was an interesting experience, though as a first time visitor I didn’t really have much of a plan what to look for. I’m sure I missed a ton of things, but this surely will be better next time in two years…

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