Ronald E. ‘Doc’ Nelson: Caregiver, inventor, entrepreneur

Ron Nelson helped athletes heal faster and play safer when he invented the Mikros lace-up ankle brace.

Ron Nelson helped athletes heal faster and play safer when he invented the Mikros lace-up ankle brace.

Art Volker
Guest Columnist

Ron Nelson impacted the lives many in east-central Minnesota for many years — and eventually many people worldwide.

Following his discharge from the U.S. Air Force, he attended Northwestern College of Chiropractic. He opened up the chiropractic practice in Cambridge in 1962, providing care to patients of East Central Minnesota for 20 years. He also dispensed hearing aids during that time. He was the only hearing aid dispenser between Duluth and the Twin Cities for many years.

In 1982 he sold his chiropractic/hearing aid business to me, and Cambridge Chiropractic Clinic is still in operation here. His hearing aid business operated for several years as part of Cambridge Chiropractic Clinic but was eventually sold to the present-day East Central Audiology.

Ron eventually combined his interest in sports medicine (having treated Cambridge Bluejacket football players for many years) and an interest in upholstery to create the first lace-up ankle brace. He founded “Mikros,” the first lace-up ankle brace company. The ankle brace was found to be a great substitute for adhesive taping, as well as a support for injured ankles. His company grew rapidly, and the lace-up ankle brace became the standard for ankle protection and treating ankle injuries. After many refinements and now many other manufacturers producing ankle braces, they are seen and used worldwide.

His knee braces are now the best-sellers, and Nelson (left) is pictured with Brett Mueller in the Mueller Sport Care warehouse in Prairie du sac, Wis.

His knee braces are now the best-sellers, and Nelson (left) is pictured with Brett Mueller in the Mueller Sport Care warehouse in Prairie du sac, Wis.

Ron eventually began working with Mueller Sports Medicine. He became a senior designer and, in his later years, a consultant. He has been credited with 31 orthopedic brace patents.

Ron’s reputation for being a kind, caring healthcare provider who had a great passion for working with athletes was one of the things that interested me in purchasing his practice. I enjoyed my association with Ron for many years. I greatly appreciated assisting him when he was designing some of his patented braces. It seemed his brain was always in high gear when he was focused on his braces.

Ron had great enthusiasm and energy for everything he did. He passed away on Sept. 15, 2013. He will be missed by many.

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