A truly custom knee brace is made just for you by professionals. The measurement and assessment portion of the custom process is usually done by your physician, orthopedic specialist or other medical professional. In our case we had John Kendrick from Innovation Sports measure us up. Basically, this step is the beginning of a blueprint of your leg. The company uses from six inches above to six inches below the center of your knee to build from. This not only ensures the brace fits your muscles correctly, but that the brace works with the skeleton of your leg to beef up the knee joint and reduce the chance for injury.Step 2: Analyze the data
Once your leg has been measured, the chart containing all your leg’s dimensions is sent to the data input department. Once there, the numbers are punched into the computer and a chart prints out of a computer that acts as the plan for the brace builders as well as a schedule for when the brace is to be completed–typically 3-4 days of turnaround is required. All of this is analyzed right away to ensure it all makes sense. If something seems out of whack, the process stops until the numbers can be verified.Step 3: Build it!
The actual forming machines that each brace is built on are top secret so we can’t show you how they move and adjust to build the foundation of the brace. We can show you the brace skeletons already being laminated and molded. Innovation Sports has about 10 full-time molders on staff. Truly custom braces like these are completely molded with no support pieces bolted on or built on top of the mold. This keeps the strength of the brace consistent and concentrated.Step 4: Trim time
After the mold is formed and cured, the rough brace is taken to the cut out room to get the shape closer to its final form. Here, workers cut excess molding material off and inspect the brace for imperfections.Step 5: Smooth it out
To ensure the final product is smooth and shiny, Innovation sports puts their braces through a thorough painting process which starts with filling and sanding the body of the brace and hitting it with a primer coat.Step 6: Show me some color
Innovation Sports has only one custom painter on staff. His name is Tom Price and he’s painted so many sets of flamed-out knee braces that he can do them blindfolded. He still does a set almost every day. Custom painting is a service Innovation Sports offers all their clients. It adds a day or two to the return time, but you can get a set of braces truly unique to you or your sponsors.Step 7: Final Assembly
After the paint has dried the braces come back out onto the main floor of the plant for the final assembly. The hinges, straps, fasteners and pads all are installed. Most of these parts are manufactured in house as well. Except for a few of the soft goods, Innovations Sports builds everything–even the interchangeable extension stops included with the braces are CNC’d under the same roof as the paint booth.Step 8: Out the door!
Innovation Sports’ Marketing Manager Brett Guerin shows off a custom set of knee braces set to go out the door. It’s an intense and efficient process to build these braces, but Innovation Sports pulls it off in customizable perfection.