Montgomery Business Journal

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Glenn Crumpton AALOS

Miracle Workers

AALOS helps clients reach their potential

April 2016
By Melissa George Bowman
Photography by Robert Fouts

Redefine the possible. Those inspirational words guide the work of Alabama Artificial Limb & Orthopedic Service (AALOS). Just step inside AALOS’ lobby and you will see they are living up to those words. Covering the walls are framed clips of articles with headlines such as “Iraq veteran turns loss into personal triumph”, “First steps: amputees receive chance at new life” and “’Princess’ climbs, runs like other kids.” Behind each headline is the story of a person AALOS has helped.

AALOS manufactures customized prosthetic and orthotic devices. The family-owned business based in Montgomery has been around for more than 60 years. Glenn Crumpton, a third-generation prosthetist and orthotist whose grandfather was a founder of the company, has been with AALOS since 1990.

Even at a young age, Crumpton knew he wanted to be part of the family business. He began co-oping at AALOS during high school and has never lost his enthusiasm for the rewarding work of helping patients.

“We’re part of the restoration of their quality of life. It’s an exciting thing,” he said. “We can help somebody return to a normal life.”

While some companies specialize in prosthetics or orthotics, AALOS provides both. Crumpton explains the difference. Orthotic devices brace certain parts of the body that require support, and prosthetics replace body parts due to amputation. Patients in need of orthotics are typically dealing with injuries or conditions like cerebral palsy or scoliosis. Patients requiring prosthetics may have been born without a limb or may have lost a limb because of disease or a traumatic accident. Among prosthetic patients, Crumpton says AALOS currently serves about four children under age 9 and several soldiers injured in combat, but the vast majority are amputees due to diabetes and peripheral vascular disease.

“Diabetes and peripheral vascular disease have changed everything about our business,” he said.

While the reasons patients come to AALOS vary, what they all have in common is the individual treatment they receive. Each device AALOS manufactures is customized according to what the client wants. Crumpton says it’s easy to assume everyone wants a prosthesis that most closely resembles the real thing, but that isn’t always the case.

“We address the whole person,” he said. “We have found it means more to people when they can identify with their prosthesis and with their orthosis.”

Crumpton says examples include a child who requested “princess legs” and a soldier who wanted a prosthesis that looked like a rifle. Another example includes a young woman who has been an amputee and client at AALOS since age 3. Her current prosthesis is a beautifully designed pattern of intricate scrollwork. Now in college, she has decided she wants to devote her career to working with other prosthetic and orthotic patients and interns at AALOS during her breaks from school.

Not only does AALOS customize each device so that clients are happy with the look of the end product, they also utilize the most current technology to ensure the best fit. According to Crumpton, materials have advanced tremendously in recent years. Metals have been replaced by plastics that are better able to follow the contours of the body. Technological advancements have also led to microprocessors that Crumpton says can perform “real-time analysis of the environment the patient is walking in, and if they’re speeding up the prosthesis will react differently.” He says technology is constantly evolving and expects 3D printing and mapping to be the next big advancement.

While many companies outsource construction, AALOS manufactures the majority of its products in-house, which Crumpton says is an advantage for clients because it can speed recovery.

“We’re recreating something to go on the human body and when we fit the patient, if it’s not exactly as we expected it to be, we really don’t like to have the downtime while we wait for somebody in another state to recreate it and try again,” he said. “It’s better if we can make the changes on-site. It’s all about getting to the patient soon and not letting them become more debilitated.”

Because AALOS strives to do what is best for each and every client, they have helped orchestrate many success stories. It takes sophisticated science and technology to make those success stories happen, but according to Crumpton, the personal connections with clients are by far what is most rewarding.

“Everybody here gets to participate in that person’s life and that’s why it’s so exciting,” he said. “Everybody takes an active interest in the patient’s recovery and quality of life. They become our friends.”

Name:
AALOS

Locations:
Montgomery, Opelika, Selma, Dothan and Columbus, Ga.

Number of employees:
26

Website:
aalos.com  

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