DJO's beginnings are linked to professional sports. The company was founded in the Carlsbad, California garage of Philadelphia Eagles football player Mark Nordquist in 1978. Nordquist, who wrapped an old inner tube around his unstable knee for support, teamed up with two of his friends to explore the possibilities of neoprene. The first products for the company - then named simply DonJoy after two of the men's wives, Donna and Joy - were "knee sleeves" constructed from old neoprene wetsuits. This innovative concept attracted interest and the company soon embarked on a research and engineering programme that would advance the world of bracing.
The introduction of the Defiance and Legend functional knee braces put DonJoy on the map. The Defiance, a made-to-measure brace designed for active adults and adolescent patients with moderate to severe knee ligament instabilities, became the company's flagship product. By completely customising the product to suit the patient's individual needs and providing a low profile, lightweight brace with a lifetime guarantee, top athletes started to wear them, confident they would be able to return to their sport of choice. The Legend, meanwhile, became the top ‘patient-ready’ brace for active adults and adolescents and these key products served as a foundation for the company’s future success as a major orthopaedic products provider.
In 2006, dj Orthopaedics changed its name to DJO and acquired Aircast, another leading orthopaedic products provider. Marketed under the DonJoy® and Aircast® brands in over 50 countries around the World, DJO’s comprehensive range of over 700 rehabilitation products, including rigid knee braces, soft goods and pain management products, are used to prevent injury, treat chronic conditions and aid in recovery after surgery or injury. Their regeneration products consist of bone growth stimulation devices that are used to treat non-union fractures and as an adjunct therapy after spinal fusion surgery.
DJO is proud of its reputation as both a leading edge innovator, and as an invaluable source of expertise and support to the clinician in the field. The company has a long history of commitment to clinical research and development both in-house and through collaborating with reputable clinical and biomechanical institutions around the world. At their Californian headquarters, they have a ‘Biomechanics Lab’ where they can rigorously test the efficacy of all their products. This Lab was instrumental in the development of their patented ‘Four Points of Leverage’ bracing methodology. In 1993, DJO built its own Clinical Education & Research Facility (CERF) which was the first of its kind in the US. Virtually any open or arthroscopic orthopaedic surgical procedure can be recreated or performed in the lab, making CERF an invaluable educational tool and resource for all levels of practicing health care professionals. This facility is frequently used by orthopaedic surgeons from across the globe for surgical skills training and the development of new or innovative orthopaedic surgical techniques.
DJO continues to look to the future, broadening its product offerings to include a wide array of solutions for the sports medicine industry and to ‘Never Stop Getting Better’.