Thranhardt Lecture Series Winner Discusses New Shoulder Orthosis at the 2010 AOPA National Assembly

ORLANDO, Fla. — Andreas Kannenberg, MD, PhD, director of medical affairs at Otto Bock HealthCare in Duderstadt, Germany, discussed his Thranhardt Lecture Series winning study, “A New Shoulder Orthosis to Treat Painful Shoulder and Facilitate Gait Rehabilitation of Stroke Patients,” at the 2010 American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association’s National Assembly, here.

According to Kannenberg, approximately 750,000 people suffer from stroke every year in the United States and approximately 25% lose their ability to walk. The shoulder orthosis, called Omo Neurexa, addresses post-stroke shoulder pain in these patients.

“As we all know, stroke is a complex disease and it has a lot of cognitive and ambulatory consequences,” Kannenberg stated.

His clinical study of 40 stroke patients showed that the Omo Neurexa may reduce shoulder pain, subluxation and improve walking and performance in activities of daily living (ADLs). The upper extremity orthosis was found to reduce stress on the stroke victim’s shoulders. The subluxation gap was reduced from 1.6 cm to 0.6 cm and researchers also found that the patient’s regained strength in the shoulder and elbow muscles, according to Kannenberg.

“One of the patient statements to our researchers was ‘the orthosis is the first thing I put on in the morning and the last thing I take off at night,’” Kannenberg told the AOPA attendees. “The patients’ feedback was quite favorable.”

The patient’s physical therapists also reported favorable results including 70% improvement in participation, according to Kannenberg. Because of this improvement in participation, the physical therapists were also able to apply a more demanding workload. Eighty percent of the physical therapists reported a more intense therapy session. The therapists also reported that 75% of their patients had reduced their shoulder pain.

Kannenberg said he and his researchers, were surprised that the patients walked better and had a more dynamic gait while wearing the orthosis. In one instance, a patient’s gait immediately improved within 5 minutes of donning the orthosis.

“If you have a patient who is suffering from the effects of a stroke, you may want to consider this orthosis in the future,” Kannenberg concluded.


As someone who has written and read many abstracts, I can tell you this is an intense project. People put their life’s work into these submissions and presentations and not everyone has to do that. The most difficult part is selecting the ones that are outstanding. After reading the submissions, we never arrive at our selections. We usually have to read them again, think about them, call each other and chew them over. This year, we found two outstanding submissions that rose above the rest.

—Thomas Gavin, CO
Chair, clinical education for AOPA

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