Text: Bjørnhild Fjeld Photo: Tore Fjeld

Get sports heroes and everyday heroes back on the field. Whether you're a professional athlete or an active exerciser, injuries are "the great horror." Do you have to stop exercising? Fortunately, there are often aids that get you back on track quickly. 

Orthopaedic engineer Lars Goplen has his daily workplace at OCH Orthopaedics' department at Storo, at Volvat NIMI, where he makes aids for everything from national team athletes to "most people" who like to exercise.
- "In principle, we do the same thing as at a regular orthopaedic clinic, but we probably have more experience in making aids for those who are active," says Goplen.
This means, for example, that you can get an insole that is specially adapted to your football boots - or a knee brace that allows you to continue playing handball. A knee brace is a support splint that is attached to the knee, and can relieve up to 18 percent of body weight in the area to be relieved, stabilize and reduce pain.
Other aids can be ankle supports, elbow braces or wrist supports.
- "We make aids that you can use in a training phase or when you play your sport," he explains.
Can save your career

If you're a professional athlete, an injury can, in the worst case scenario, end your career, so it's crucial to get the right aids as soon as possible.
- "If you make a living from your sport, you don't have time to wait until you get better on your own. What we can do is create customized aids that allow you to train to be able to compete again as quickly as possible," says Goplen.
At NIMI, the orthopaedic engineer works in close collaboration with other therapists such as doctors, physiotherapists and chiropractors.
- "We treat the same injuries as the public health service, but the waiting time is shorter. It's rarely more than a week before you book an appointment, and the assistive device is ready within a week or two. It can also be faster. This means that you can get back to training quickly.
In some cases, assistive devices can also help you avoid surgery or postpone surgery until later.
Not just for professionals

It is certainly not only professional athletes who come to NIMI for help. For many, exercise is an important part of everyday life, and they have a dark view of having to stop exercising for a long period of time.
- Even if you only exercise a few times a week to keep fit, you can get repetitive strain injuries. For example, shin splints, Achilles pain or plantar fasciitis. After treatment and training by a doctor or physiotherapist, an assistive device can help you get back into training more quickly," says Goplen.
In recent years, he has noticed that more and more people are suffering overuse injuries, both among top athletes and exercisers - and also among children and young people.
- "This is probably related to the fact that more people are focusing more on one sport. Children and young people are specializing earlier," he says.

If you seek out NIMI, which is a private health center, it costs as in other private health services. That is, more than in public – but for many it is worth paying this price to get help faster.