By Dr. Alan L. Bass, DPM
THIS is Why You Don’t Need to Use the Same Old Thing!
Either you are a seasoned practitioner who has been successfully treating patients and getting good results or you are new in practice and have been trained by some of the best physicians out there in surgery, medicine, orthopedics, and biomechanics. It doesn’t matter. You should always strive to improve the clinical outcomes in your practice or improve its financial health. The information I’m about to present will hopefully do both for you.
Durable Medical Equipment (DME), Insurance & OTC Products
Dispensing DME and billing insurance carriers, including Medicare, has become commonplace. Nowadays, issues with credentialing, declining reimbursements, and audits, have caused physicians to steer away from dispensing DME that require the providers to bill insurance carriers. Many of my colleagues are moving towards a completely cash-based practice and are happier about that. For those of you who don’t want to fully commit to that, carrying products or providing services in your practice for your patients to invest in is one way to start. Carrying OTC products or providing specialized procedures is one way. For those of you who treat ankle sprains, and I say that with a wink of an eye because we all do, dispensing a new type of dynamic brace to treat ankle sprains is going to become commonplace. I’m going to show you that this dynamic brace will become the “go-to” device for your patients and they will readily invest their dollars on their foot health.
A New Dynamic Ankle Brace
For the longest time, ankle bracing has been big, bulky devices that many people didn’t feel comfortable in, didn’t like the appearance, or had difficulty wearing it in sneakers or shoes. What if I told you that you can dispense a brace to your patients that is comfortable, easy to wear and will provide the support needed, but you do not have to have a specialized DME license to dispense because while it is a “brace”, it is also a sock?
The Powerstep® Dynamic Ankle Support Sock (DASS) is the most unique product that I have come across in years. This sock, through its unique design, offers targeted compression plus enhanced support, alignment, and stability. It has a flexible support cage and stability straps to maintain healthy movement while supporting weak or injured ankles. It can help prevent injury and improve stability during physical activity. The sock offers a gradual compression that supports the arch, aligns the ankle, and stabilizes the heel. The patient will have a natural range of motion and anatomically correct positioning with the ankle support cage. Soft ankle straps hug the foot and ankle for customized tension and a perfect fit.  The design of the sock and brace are low-profile which allows for easy fit into most shoes. It is also machine washable for everyday wear.
What makes this sock so different is the “cage”. The cage is made up of a material that has high ductility, meaning it has extreme strength when under high stress/strain. It also has excellent tensile strength, which means it can withstand being stretched and strained repeatedly. It is durable and can both flex and support. The cage will only stretch a certain amount before it begins to stiffen up and become less flexible to provide the stability needed. The cage also works to remain in its natural state, resisting changes to and from that state.  The sock/cage design is great for helping keep tension and continuously working to encourage the ankle into correct positioning and support.
The straps on the sock are also under tension, resisting movement, and really help lock the ankle in place. The unique placement of the straps provides the needed protection from forces from any direction, not just eversion or inversion. The straps are anchored around the calcaneus to prevent shifting and they wrap across both medially and laterally to protect the ligaments of the ankle. Standard elastic straps resist in only one direction and become compromised when forces from other directions are applied.
Why Have DASS in Your Practice
Let’s talk about why you should have this unique support sock in your practice. One important reason is that you want to have solutions in your office that will distinguish you from others. Why dispense the “same old brace” that everyone else does? More importantly, patients want to get back to activity right away. The DASS will allow patients who are ready to return to activity while also providing the best support possible with the least amount of discomfort. From a business standpoint, you want to have products in your practice that a patient can leave with right away. They are being dispensed a device and provided the explanation on its proper use. It’s up to you to explain to the patients the benefit of the DASS and what sets it apart from other ankle supports. Explain that to your patients and they will easily see that this is not something they can pick up at their local pharmacy.
Who Needs DASS?
Let’s also think about the patients that need the DASS the most. For one, I can think of the “weekend warrior” who decides to go out and play a pickup game and suffers an ankle sprain. What about the local high school sports teams? Unfortunately, at the high school level, teams don’t have the staff to provide strapping and taping for every player. Sometimes it is left up to the players themselves. Imagine what can happen if you can provide information to the athletic directors, coaches, and trainers on the DASS? It will open their eyes to solutions they never had before. Think about all the sports at the high school level; football, basketball, lacrosse, field hockey and soccer to name a few.
An All-In-One Solution
In today’s fast paced society, patients want the right solution for their problem, not just a solution. And they want it now. They don’t want to have to leave your office and go somewhere else for the device. They don’t want something that is big and bulky. They don’t want to have to worry about wearing a sock that provides coverage of the skin, so the brace is comfortable. Patients want an “all-in-one” solution, and they want it right away.  The DASS provides that to your patients. The Powerstep® Dynamic Ankle Support Sock “supports like a brace and wears like a sock”.