Dr Vijay Kumar Naik's patented knee brace has brought relief to over one lakh people suffering from osteoarthritis.Teena Baruahreports from a camp he conducted in Delhi
"It feels like I am born again," says Shekhar Puri. At an arthritis camp in Sukhad Sandhya, a day-care centre for senior citizens on the outskirts of Delhi, the 73 year-old has just taken his first step in seven years. Osteoarthritis, a condition arising out of wear and tear in knee joints, had left Puri bow-legged and wheelchair-bound. He needed two escorts to carry him down the stairs of his duplex apartment. Then, he heard about a doctor who could help him walk again, without surgery. This led the resident of Ludhiana to the camp at Sukhad Sandhya to meet Dr Vijay Kumar Naik, a prosthetic expert who has developed a knee brace that can help in even the most severe cases of osteoarthritis.
"It allows you to sit cross-legged, drive a car, use an Indian toilet, take the stairs, run and even go on an excruciating Badrinath trail," says the 50 year-old doctor about the corrective brace. He developed it in 1999 at P R Vadhar Artificial Limb Centre, in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, where he lives. He claims it has helped more than one lakh people walk since then, and is even effective for those in need of knee-replacement surgery. A combi-nation of polyprene flaps, stainless steel hinges and four Velcro fasteners, the brace transfers the weight of the body from the knee to the leg below the knee. As a result, the knee joint suffers no friction.