Remember when normal wear and tear was the main culprit for knee osteoarthritis?
With a growing obesity epidemic, joint degradation—and pain—often come from excessive weight, according to a September 2010 study in research journal Current Opinion in Rheumatology. This is particularly true in 40- to 60-year-old age group of men and women.
The trifecta of age, obesity, and osteoarthritis is actually now a triple threat, which can rack your patients’ lives with chronic pain and make your job doubly hard.
However, there is good news for both you and your patients.
Older, overweight patients with knee osteoarthritis can curtail knee pain and improve joint function through regular exercise on partial weight-bearing equipment, says a January 2015 study in the Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine.
The study reveals that using the Anti-Gravity Treadmill as part of a regular walking program makes day-to-day activities easier and also increases thigh muscle strength around the weakened knee.
Here’s how to help your aging obese patients eliminate pain from knee osteoarthritis and get back to daily living.
Arthritis Exercise Benefits
Exercise plays a key role in easing joint pain and improving functionality for knee osteoarthritis sufferers, reports a June 2013 study in the medical journal Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.
However, the wrong types of exercise—particularly for those who are older and overweight—can lead to setbacks.
The wrong kind of exercise can cause patients to:
- Worsen joint symptoms
- Fail at adherence
- Drop out at higher rates
- See little impact on daily living activities
Source: Clinical Journal of Sports Medicine
Aquatic and harness-based therapies, for example, can cause abnormal muscle activation and gait patterns, along with excessive pressure on certain body parts.
However, by taking advantage of lower body positive pressure technology in the AlterG, the lower body receives uniform air pressure. This allows patients to walk pain-free, go further, and exercise for longer periods of time.
Weight Loss Exercise Benefits
For aging obese patients, exercise plays another really important role: weight loss. But it works best with the AlterG Weight-Loss Protocol.
A comprehensive diet and exercise plan reduces inflammation in the body and maximizes the body’s biomechanical abilities, says a September 2013 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
- Average greater weight loss
- Less knee pain
- Faster walking speed
- Better physical health-related quality of life
- Less inflammation in the body
Adult Exercise Benefits
Exercise may seem counterintuitive for aging adults, since they’re more prone to falls.
Certain factors make this patient group more vulnerable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including:
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Trouble with walking
- Balance problems
- Use of medications
Add to that list weight issues and osteoarthritis knee pain, and you have a dangerous mix.
Low-impact walking is a safer mode of exercise, even for aging adults with osteoarthritis knee pain, says the Clinical of Journal Sports Medicine.
Since the Anti-Gravity Treadmill uses differential air pressure to lessen body weight—and impact on the joints—while walking, your patient’s weight is fully supported, reducing any fall risks. The only help that may be required is getting patients in and out of the AlterG itself.
Obesity, age, and arthritis all present specific problems, and together can make treatment difficult. Talk to a representative about how to make it easier to help this growing population.