Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld, spoke to Abhaynoor Singh, Director, Tynor Orthotics, to figure out the current trends and challenges associated with orthopedic soft goods. <br><br><strong>Orthopedic Soft goods: Trends</strong><br>The trend that I see in the orthopaedic sector—we called it the orthopaedic soft goods sector—is that there is huge demand for this product in the market. However, most of the countries are not manufacturing it, and the reason is the complexity of the whole thing. The complexity of manufacturing practices and R&D. So, most of the countries that are making these products are labor-intensive, and China is one of the major exporters of this particular product. India has now become very strong here. In the recent past and the geo-political trends that we see, India has a good opportunity in front of China to dominate the market now.
The international markets are looking for Indian options as a matter of supply chain. Because after the pandemic, they don’t want to be dependent on one particular geography. So, India has a huge opportunity. Countries like the USA, Canada, Europe, and the entire continent of Africa are looking at Indian brands and saying, “Hey! Can we get a good-quality product?” Good brand coming out of India and supplying to the rest of the world. So, that’s the geo-political scenario, but the trend we see here is that people are demanding more quality-oriented products. They are asking for more products that are technically better and products that are more validated. I would say science is correct behind the product. So, that trend is there as people are getting more educated about their bodies. Especially after COVID, people faced a lot of challenges; their backs would be hurting and their necks would be hurting. They realised that the things they were using, such as the pillow that they used, the mattress that they used, or the chair that they were using, were not right. Why? because they had to sit for long hours and work for long hours. So, the consumer trend that we see is that people are now getting aware of their bodies, and they understand after COVID that if they don’t take care of their bodies now, it might hurt them in the coming future. So, that created a very good opportunity for our industry.
Orthopedic Soft goods: Market
When we talk about the market, 5 years ago, I think the market was around 500 crores, and the organised sector was around 500 crores in India. Today, the organised sector is around 1000 crores or 1200 crores, so these data points of our industries are not captured by the research agencies or the research data that gets published. So, these figures come from the research that we have done in the industry. There is a significant unorganised part of the industry as well. So, the total industry might be around 1600 crores in India only.
The first few products that we made were against splints, which we called the back bands today, the knee caps. Those were the simpler products entering this market; these are the bulk products that are there. So, the back belt, the knee cap, the wrist splints—these were the few products that we started with. And eventually, we ventured out into, from head to toe, all the categories. Explaining this category, we go from compression, which is putting pressure from all sides to a certain, let’s say, knee cap, putting pressure on your muscles and joints. All the way up to immobilisation, where you can’t even move your knee. It’s called a knee immobilizer. So, there is zero immobilisation but compression, and there are levels of compression. Then, for the most extreme product, which is immobilising, 100% of the time, you can’t use the product. We have about 4-5 steps in between where we give a range of immobilisation. You can still move, but there are a few restrictions that’s there because that’s what is required in these products. So, today we have around 200 products that are there. These 200 products specifically deal with various joints and various moveable parts of your body. That’s why we call them Orthosoft goods. The highest category that we look at is probably the back. You might have heard that a lot of people have back issues, a lot of people have knee issues, and a lot of people have cervical issues. So, these three are the top picks in our industry. Eventually, we see that there are complimentary categories that are something like sports.
In sports, people might get injured because they have something very extraneous that they are doing, and usually they become Tynor patients or later Tynor customers. So, we thought, why not intervene beforehand, before they even get injured? Because when they get injured, their career is sometimes over. If Tynor comes into their picture saying, Can we help you before? So, we launched a brand called Tynor Sport. Tynor Sport is the brand given to all the sports people, and not just the sports people; regularly, people who are trying to go to the gym, trying to just pick that extra weight, is that where these products don’t get injured because you’ll sit home for 6 months, and we don’t want that. You will eventually come for Tynor products, but don’t injure yourself. That’s where Tynor comes in. So, this is preventive for people who are active; then there are people who are not active and have a sedentary lifestyle who are working most of the time, sitting most of the time, driving most of the time, or riding bikes most of the time. But they do not have an active lifestyle. So, what they are doing is not sitting right, they are not sleeping right, they are not walking right, or they are riding the bike on a bumpy road, or they are riding a car on that road, and this leads to a lot of orthopaedic problems. So, you might have heard of a slip disc, spondylitis, spondylolysis—all these various issues emerge because of this lifestyle, and we thought, Why not interject right now? If somebody is sitting for a longer time, why can’t we say, Hey! Use these products, so that eventually you don’t need to use a Tynor belt? We still play a part in the journey, but let’s help people not get to that stage where it becomes bad, and the most beautiful part is that people now understand the need for these products.
(As published in ETHealthWorld November 08, 2023 )