Are you, like me, noticing signs of age creeping in such as osteoarthritis related knee and hip pain? Do stairs, standing for long periods, and getting in and out cars or onto public transport proving to be more of a challenge? Are you are moving less freely than you used to but dreading the thought you might have to have surgery to ease it? Well me too, so I was very interested to hear of a new biomechanical therapy devised by an Israeli orthopaedic surgeon in conjunction with a sports physiotherapist that gives you a natural alternative to help you walk more freely and without pain.
Now available worldwide, unlike many alternative options, this one is backed by many of the UK’s leading medical insurers. Not surprising as the cost of surgery – and the frequent call backs for further treatment – are vastly more expensive than this simple remedial option.
In the UK 90,000 knee replacements are carried out every year, with an average cost of £6,500 each, but this doesn’t reflect the cost of follow up procedures with many having having several return trips to hospital. This is a very high cost indeed so any non-invasive and effective treatment is to be welcomed.
How does it work?
It’s not rocket science but so blindingly obvious you wonder no one thought of it before. The success of this potentially life-changing new approach stems from a better understanding of joint pain and problems. Osteoarthritis is not just about simple wear and tear and degradation of cartilage cushioning the joints. There is now clear evidence that biomechanics, muscles and nerves all play an important part of the disease process.
Professor Oliver Pearce, an eminent orthopaedic surgeon says: “This instinctively makes sense. Muscles support and protect the joint, so if there is any weakness or asymmetry in the way those muscles are working, there can be extra pressure on the joint.”
AposTherapy® analyses and helps to correct the way you move by changing the distribution of weight as you walk and by retraining the muscles to adopt the best walking pattern to rebalance and give you back control over your pain.
Apos therapy came about because of the frequent failure rate of knee surgery, and a large part of that is due to the patient’s non-compliance with aftercare. Apparently not that many of us are able to follow through with the recommended exercise programme after surgery, which is where the high failure rate and call back for additional surgery comes in.
Where Apos is unique is that after a computerised gait analysis to check step length, load distribution, walking speed and gait symmetry your walk is then analysed. This analysis offers the physiotherapist working with you to get an insight into how your walk can be optimised to help you retrain the muscles to support the joint so you can move more naturally.
Abnormal walking patterns can develop when we are in pain as she shift our weight to try and find relief. This plays a significant role in joint pain and deterioration so that AposTherapy corrects the way you walk through re-educating the brain and muscles to work properly in order to re-establish normal symmetrical walking.
This is achieved in two stages. Initially, by bringing your body to optimal alignment as AposTherapy changes the way forces travel through your body and reduces the pressure and strain on painful areas in the joint. Then, as you walk with the trainers daily it stimulates and retrains your muscles, ultimately re-educating your body to adopt a correct walking posture.
Instead of surgery and follow up exercise, what that involves here is that for around ten months you spend an hour a day in the ingenious trainers they have designed and that is no hardship. The trainers have two adjustable pods which are integrated into the soles to help reprogram the brain. These can be changed at each consultation as your muscles strengthen and your movement is freer.
The pods are individually calibrated to create a subtle imbalance when you walk and it forces the brain to think about an action it normally performs automatically. The exact positioning of the pods reduces the load away from the painful area(s) of the joint, while their convex shape introduces mild, comfortable instability which stimulates the muscles to adopt a correct walking pattern.
This instability prompts a number of signals between the brain and muscles to action lots of minor corrections and adjustments to restore perfect balance. This process of feedback and adjustment also re-educates the muscles and promotes an optimal gait at all times.
What are the benefits?
It sounds hard to believe I know, but I saw videos of clients in their first consultation shuffling along the floor, then after having the pods inserted into the shoes they were immediately able to walk more freely. Of course this is not an immediate ‘cure’ but visible improvement could be seen in function, mobility and ease of movement. Not least because the pods in the trainers seemed to offer not just support, but a level of confidence so the tension held in the body was reduced as they relaxed.
Conditions that can be treated include:
– knee osteoarthritis
– ‘wear and tear’ of cartilage
– Meniscal tear or ligament tear
– Anterior knee pain,(Patello-femoral syndrome)
– Painful rehabilitation
– Lower back
Certainly the figures are impressive:
86% of AposTherapy patients report a reduction in knee pain
87% Almost nine out of ten, noticed a reduction in pain
88% experienced improved mobility
Of course this is not for everyone, but 92% of patients said they would recommend AposTherapy® and that is a very high rate of endorsement indeed.
You can have a free no-obligation consultation with a chartered Physiotherapist at Apos clinics around the UK. Call 0800 909 8009 to find your nearest clinic or visit the website at www.apostherapy.co.uk