Whether it's a mobility issue, a traumatic accident injury, or diabetic foot - they've seen it all and found solutions for it.
The staff at Nipissing Orthopaedic Laboratory may feel they're just "doing their job", but the people they help by keeping them mobile and alleviating pain might say they're more like angels.
And while North Bay benefits from having them here, they choose to serve throughout the North where their expertise is needed, by having lab staff travel to places like Timmins and New Liskeard.
The lab.first opened its doors in 1990 and celebrates 30 years of service in 2020. Owner and founder Marc Tessier, a certified Orthotist and Prosthetist, says over the years they've helped tens of thousands of people to deal with mobility, amputations, and pain. They do it with custom-designed unique solutions that fit each patient's needs with great precision.
Tessier leads the staff of eight, made up of another Certified Orthotist, an Orthotic Resident, a technical team of three to produce their solutions as well as two office and administrative members at their Airport Road location.
While he never likes to talk about his achievements, when pressed his explanation reveals that North Bay is fortunate to have someone with his level of expertise. In fact, in all of Canada, there are only 55 people with his level of accreditation.
"The expertise we have is in knowing when a custom-made brace or orthotic is needed, or when an off-the-shelf solution will work. When a custom made brace is needed we do a 3D shape capture of the extremity in a variety of ways and then fabricate and fit the (product) ourselves. Of course, artificial limbs are always custom made from scratch every time," he explains.
The difference between their braces or orthotic solutions - and an off the shelf or mass-produced option - is is that they are crafted to fit a patient precisely, right down to the millimetre. In fact, within their team, they have a university-trained engineer serving as Orthotic Resident, and one of their Orthotic Technicians was an accomplished tool and die maker in Germany, before relocating to Canada.
As for travel throughout the North to serve areas that don't have the expertise that Nipissing Orthopaedic Lab offers, Tessier says it's something he's been committed to for a long time, adding " I have been travelling north for 25 years now."
For those people in places like New Liskeard and Timmins, Tessier says his team is really helping improve their quality of life while having their situation treated by professionals.
"The people I serve need braces for a wide variety of medical reasons and many have mobility issues and are often a little older. Travel for many is difficult and we don’t have the Northlander train that people could take instead of driving," says Tessier.
He adds that many people don't realize that he help toddlers, children, and youth as well, helping them grow into active healthy lives despite any challenges.
Because of their certification, many of their services are covered for clients. "We’re the top product experts in the field and by far the most trained. We can bill the Ministry of Health for our services as a result," he adds.
You can also get a free assessment of your situation by calling 705-495-3771, or you can visit their website.https://www.niportho.com/.