Over and over, you guys have been asking for a knee support that would allow you to comfortably ice or heat your bones… Ummm, I mean sore knees. Well we’ve heard you, loud and clear. So without further ado, we’d like to take you behind the scenes for a sneak peek at the upcoming knee support and our design process here at Old Bones Therapy.
Before I jump into how and why we’re designing a new knee support, I’d like to take the time to thank all of our awesome customers. You guys are truly ruling at life!!! We like to tell our customers “we got your back”, when we are just completely humbled with the “support” you all have given us on a daily basis. So thank you.
As many of you know by now, I’m a 44 year old skateboarder with some seriously sore bones. Well to be more specific, bulging discs in my lower back and neck area. And also a pretty good case of osteoarthritis aka degenerative joint disease in my right knee. I started Old Bones Therapy as a way to ice and heat my back without being confined to the couch. I hated wrapping the packs in towels and having them slipping and sliding all over the place, never staying put where you want it most. I’m now happy to be moving forward on designs for my next problem area, my knees.
As with any great project, one must first write down the requirements.
- Made from premium grade 3mm perforated neoprene, which is not only insulating but a super comfortable material.
- Provide maximum support and compression, while allowing the knee to remain flexible
- Open patella which provides knee-cap stability and support
- Integration with a custom designed hot cold gel pack
- Like our back support, there has to be a built in pouch to hold the gel pack in place
- Be machine washable
- Most importantly, this neoprene knee support brace will help relieve your knee pain
Phew, that was pretty simple… now let’s get down to work. I started out by purchasing just about every knee brace and support I could find on Amazon and trying them all out, taking notes as I went. I then started taking these to the skatepark and asking my friends (or anyone else that would listen to me) what they used and/or liked about the different knee supports. Without a doubt people wanted compression and support for their knees. And overwhelmingly everyone I spoke to thought the idea of adding an ice or heat pack into the knee support was genius.
I started out by sketching out several different knee support sizes which would be large enough to hold a good sized gel pack.
After settling on a basic shape for the knee support, I knew we needed to have a custom gel pack designed which would take advantage of the open patella design. This required us to contact our supplier and have them make a new mold for this design. A couple weeks later we had our first gel packs prototype which you see below.
We fine tuned our knee support designs while waiting for the gel pack prototypes to arrive. Once they arrived we had to figure out a way to integrate them into our knee support. We played around with some different materials to use for the pouch which you’ll see below. But ultimately we’re going with the same material that we use on our lower back support. The materials we tried out were too thick and didn’t have the same cooling or heating effect as the existing pouch.
Each of these steps takes quite a bit of back and forth with our suppliers to come up with a working prototype that has all of the correct materials and meets our specifications. We recently received a fully finished neoprene knee support brace prototype which we’re pretty happy with.
We learned a few things from iterating over our initial designs:
- We went for a wider gel pack so it would wrap further around the sides of the knee, which is a common pain point for most people, myself included.
- Needed to iterate on the gel pack designs in order to obtain the perfect weight while still allowing the gel packs to wrap around the knee.
- Found that it’s tough to make a simple pouch that works with a non-rectangular shaped ice pack.
Why did we go with an “Open Patella” design?
- We've tested a lot of knee braces and supports. IMHO having the open patella is more comfortable
- Helps to hold the knee support in place when active
- Improved breathability
- An open patella design holds your kneecap in place, allowing for additional support and also helping to maintain proper alignment and tracking with your knee joint.
- A closed patella design could cause the kneecap to rub against the underlying joint and cause further inflammation
- We’re working on an improved gel pack shape which will require a new mold to be made
- Working on a simplified pouch to better hold the gel pack in place
- Looking into integrating a padded knee donut into the knee support around patella
- We need to schedule another photo-shoot with our supermodel and rockstar photographer
- Come up with product packaging designs
- Create product listing page on website and Amazon
As you can see we still have quite a few things to do before we launch. Not only am I super excited to finish this product and share it with you all, but I can’t wait to use it myself to relieve my knee pain. Stay tuned for the launch of the Old Bones Therapy Knee Support.
Here’s to staying active and ruling at life!