After seven years of research and development using stance control technology, the Stance Control Orthotic Knee Joint (SCOKJ) was released by Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics in 2001. Along with an expert team of specialists he assembled, Gary Horton, LO, CO, FAAOP, developed this orthotic knee joint after knee joint technology licensed from NASA proved too complex and expensive for patient use.
The stance control orthotic knee joint, or Horton Stance Control, is weight-activated, allowing knee-ankle-foot orthoses (KAFOs) to block knee flexion, while allowing extension at heel strike,with becomes total free motion at heel off. The result in patients is a more normal gait that blocks flexion but always allows the needed extension. It is ideal for patients with weak or absent quads secondary to polio or spinal cord injuries.
There is no other stance control orthosis like the SCOKJ currently available: it works as both a strengthening and protection device, which may be able to cut rehabilitation time in half for people who have had multiple total knee replacements. Additionally, because the stance control orthotic knee joint has a mechanical switch, it be used three ways:
- Free knee
- Locked in 180 degree extension
- Stance control mode
Horton’s Orthotics & Prosthetics, a patient care facility owned by Gary Horton, has had patients wearing KAFOs with the stance control knee joint since January 2001. As of June 2002, only 6 months after its commercial release, over 50 pairs of stance control joints had already been sold to practitioners all over the world who had attended the SCOKJ training course.
Because this technology is still new to the industry, long-term studies have yet to be conducted to showcase the success of stance control orthoses like the SCOKJ. But general findings have shown that this knee joint allows for a much more normal range of motion during swing phase than a locked knee orthoses can. Most patients prefer walking in the stance control mode, reporting that it takes less effort and allows you to feel more confident.
Frequently Asked Questions About Stance Control Orthoses
Stance control orthoses (SCOs) are a type of knee-ankle-foot orthoses (KAFOs) that use advanced technology to lock a patient’s knee while they are standing and allow the knee to move freely during the swinging phase of normal walking.
A traditional locked knee orthosis limits painful knee flexion by requiring a patient to unnaturally modify their normal walking pattern to compensate for the locked knee. This may involve swinging the leg in a circular motion or hiking the hip up to clear their foot, which consumes more energy during your daily activities.
Each stance control device has individual characteristics that are better suited for certain patient’s physical needs and mobility concerns.
To allow a safer and more natural gait pattern for patients, stance control orthoses like the SCOKJ are usually best for those experiencing:
- weak quadriceps
- knee instability
- polio or post-polio syndrome
- multiple sclerosis (MS)
- spinal cord injuries
- spinal trauma
- unilateral paralysis