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Bochikun: 21st century support Sakamoto Sekkotsuin Ltd.

Website: Sakamoto Sekkotsuin Ltd.External site: a new window will open
Category: Japanese Machinery

A remarkable idea

Foot, hip and knee pain is something that's considered inevitable as people age. Due to the discomfort, hip and knee replacements as well as other surgeries have become commonplace. Kiyoshi Sakamoto, CEO of Sakamoto Sekkotsuin Ltd. in Okayama Prefecture, believes this doesn't have to be the case. In fact, this pain is both preventable and treatable without any need to go under the knife.

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CEO, Kiyoshi Sakamoto

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Deformation of the feet showing hallux valgus (above) and correction with use of the Bochikun support (below)

A widespread problem

Sakamoto noticed in his work as the director of his Orthopedic Clinic that a majority of patients of various ages seemed to demonstrate very similar symptoms, including pain in the internal hip, on the inside of the knee and various degrees of deformity of the feet. If the base of the thumb is deformed, anyone can spot it as hallux valgus. However, the largest point of concern is when the toes are all bent and if when the thumb leans outward and if the index toes are either on top or below the thumb, then it is the beginning sign of hallux valgus. Sakamoto found the cause to be the wearing of socks and shoes, which compress the toes. As years go by, the foot continues to deform, causing bunions (also known as hallux valgus), pain and tiredness from walking. The abductor halluces muscle on the outside of the foot is stretched and as a result cannot return to a natural position. This means when walking, the foot isn't using all five toes during movement, causing an unbalance that affects the knee and hips.

The Bochikun solution

After many years of intense research, Sakamoto created and perfected Bochikun, a foot support device that straightens out the toes, returning balance to one's feet. This in turn removes the strain from hips and knees, minimizing or even completely removing the pain-and making expensive surgery often unnecessary. It's now popular with athletes, who've recorded faster track times as a result of using the support. It's constructed from a unique material, which means it's thin, comfortable and can be worn under both shoes and socks. Patented in 2009, Bochikun was certified with the European Economic Area's CE marking, and in 2013 indicating it fills all the safety and health requirements needed to be sold in the EEA.

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Bochikun aligns the toes correctly, creating a balanced base to stand on

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Bochikun, the cute mascot designed by one of Sakamoto's daughters, promotes well-being

Helpful and cute

Bochikun's name is taken from a shortened version of the Japanese word for hallux valgus, gaihanboshi, and "kun" (a suffix usually used when addressing boys). One of Sakamoto's daughters drew the mascot while she was in grade school and Bochikun has been the official character ever since.

The next step

Sakamoto's aim is to share Bochikun with those who need it-virtually anyone in a sock- or shoe-wearing culture-so they may live painlessly and without the need for costly operations. There are currently Bochikun distributors in Japan and China but Sakamoto has his sights on Europe-hence the CE marking accreditation-and also the U.S. Bochikun is now ready to take the next big step.