Technology > Orthotics > C-Brace®


C-Brace® Is World's First Stance and Swing Phase Control Orthosis

Sampson's Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory now offers patients the C-Brace®, the first orthosis to provide a dramatically new approach to orthotic outcomes.

By combining mechatronics (engineering disciplines, including electrical, mechanical, and computer) with state-of-the-art custom orthotic design, the C-Brace helps the wearers to descend stairs, change speeds, walk with controlled knee flexion, and to move through life more smoothly and efficiently. The intelligently designed system also helps prevent wear and tear on the sound limb, while providing support throughout the gait cycle.

Until now, microprocessor systems - such as those used in prosthetics - have not been applied to orthotics. The standard function of current orthotic systems was limited to locking and releasing of the knee, depending on the choice of knee joint.

But the C-Brace allows the entire gait cycle to be controlled dynamically and in real time as the microprocessor measures 50 times per second to anticipate movement, analyzes the gait, and changes the hydraulic controls to prepare for the user's next movement, wherever they are. As a result, a patient can trust their knee to support them on all types of terrain.

Bill Sampson, CP, and Mike Pagano, CPO, recently completed training on fitting the C-Brace, including software programming and a new three-stage casting technique.

System details

The system consists of an upper leg part, lower leg part and foot part, each of which is individually fabricated. A sensor-integrated, dynamic fiber composite spring connects the foot plate to the lower leg. An ankle moment sensor transmits signals via a cable to the microprocessor-controlled hydraulic knee joint unit. This is embedded in a carbon fiber frame together with the electronics. In addition, a knee angle sensor permanently measures the knee angle and velocity of the knee joint. The system recognizes the current gait cycle phase of the user. The hydraulic resistances to flexion and extension are regulated accordingly.

Key features

  • Stumble Control: Resistance to uncontrolled knee flexion when sensors read a moment of instability gives the time necessary to recover.
  • Real-Time Gait Analysis: Every period of gait in the gait cycle is controlled dynamically and in real time, allowing the patient to walk with more ease and less concentration — with less compensation of the sound side and torso.
  • Standing and 2nd Mode: Additional modes allow for comfortable static standing and additional settings (for therapy or other activities).
  • Stance Extension Damping: Progressive resistance allows natural movement to occur without uncontrolled and early knee and hip extension at Terminal Stance, resulting in a more natural movement without abrupt changes to the center of gravity, lower back and lower limb joints.
  • Stance Flexion Damping: Controlled, partial knee flexion while weight bearing allows the patient to exhibit knee control when walking down hills and ramps, descending stairs step over step, and while sitting down into a chair

Candidates for the C-Brace

The C-Brace is suited to patients with incomplete spinal cord injury, weakness or paresis of the quadriceps, and post-polio syndrome. While users were severely limited in their mobility with previous devices, they can now benefit from the dynamically controlled gait cycle and significantly enhanced safety. Movement and mobility can now be experienced in a completely new way. Users can adopt a more natural posture, reducing excessive strain on just one side of the body.


As with any orthotic or prosthetic component, the C-Brace may not be suitable for every individual. The C-Brace is not suitable for those with moderate to severe lower limb spasticity and a body weight over 275 lbs.

For more information on the C-Brace and if it can help you, contact Sampson's.

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