Össur proudly acknowledges the visionary people whose progressive ideas and designs are central to its heritage. People like Össur Kristinsson who invented the first ever silicone liner (the interface between prosthetic socket and limb) and the founder of the Company.
Today, Össur's experienced design engineers and medical professionals continue to carry the torch. Committing high levels of investment to R&D, Össur is raising the standard of innovation within the industry and ensuring greater accessibility to the products people need.
The search for the right material to produce the revolutionary Iceross liner took Icelander Össur Kristinsson around the world. “Ever since the concept of silicone as the best material for a socket-limb interface first entered my mind, I never doubted its future success,” he said.
Today, a variety of silicone blends are incorporated into Iceross liners, which are widely used for suspending lower limb and upper-extremity prostheses.
Watching his young daughter Lisa struggling with an adult-sized prosthesis, Finn Gramnas from Sweden set out in the late 1980s to develop a prosthetic knee that was suitable and safe for a child to run around on.
The result was Total Knee, now a range of highly effective knees for different ages and activities. Designed to closely imitate natural knee motion, Total Knee locks as the user steps forward for added stability.
“There should be a simpler way to brace patients with ligament injuries, instead of exposing them to the risks of surgery." These were Geordie Taylor’s words in Canada in the 1970s when he first took on the challenge of creating a knee brace that would better mimic and protect the complex motion of the knee.
His highly effective designs for use with ligament problems and later, osteoarthritis, formed the basis of much of Össur’s current range of scientifically proven knee braces.
A water-skiing accident in 1976 transformed the young American sportsman Van Phillips into a frustrated amputee, restrained by an unresponsive artificial foot. “Feet in those days were often made of balsa wood,” he explained, “Light, but with no flexibility and no method of storing energy." Switching his studies to prosthetics, Van Phillips worked with aerospace composite engineer Dale Abildskov to explore the potential of carbon fiber, going on to create the Flex-Foot, a breakthrough design that simulated the spring action of the human foot.
Today, the advantages of that original invention are incorporated in an extensive range of feet to suit individual needs.
A brilliant German scientist and engineer, Hans Mauch was fascinated by the field of rehabilitative medicine. From the late 1950s he devoted his energies to prosthetic development. Building on studies sponsored by America's Veterans Administration, he collaborated with fellow scientist Ulrich Henschke to design the Mauch hydraulic knee system.
Enhanced with the latest materials technologies over recent years, the Mauch knee has stood the test of time and remains a popular choice for active amputees worldwide.
Struck by a speeding car in 1980, Jim Castillo sustained a long list of injuries. Having lost his business, then his home as a result, Jim was advised by doctors that because of the instability of his left knee he would have to give up skiing and motorcycling too. Unwilling to compromise, Jim decided to create his very own knee brace. The development of a brace that protects the knee in much the same way that a ski boot protects the ankle, proved highly effective. And after Jim and his brother took their carbon fiber (C) and titanium (Ti) model to the US ski team’s orthopaedic surgeon in the early 80s, a hugely successful product was launched. Incorporating many advances over the years, the CTi remains one of the world’s top ligament brace.