New device tested to ease severe knee pain
BOSTON — It’s the most common form of arthritis and it’s affecting more than 32 million adults in the U.S. according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But relief from osteoarthritis in a person’s knees often leads to major surgery and a months long recovery.
After 33 years as a firefighter, Chuck Stenger retired but not the way he wanted to.
“I had to give almost everything up,” Stenger said. “The fire department transferred me into preventions and investigations for the last five years of my career because of this.”
His knee hurt off and on for years, but before he retired, the pain brought him down when he was out on a call.
“It felt like a knife was being shoved right into knee,” he said.
Stenger was diagnosed with osteoarthritis but worried about recovery time and the toll a total knee replacement would take.
“When I found this study I said, ‘I’m going to sign up for it!'” Stenger added.
The multi-medical center clinical trial involved a device implanted into the patient’s knee, and Dr. David Flanigan of the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center said, “We’re looking at a shock absorber similar to what you’d see in a car.”
Dr. Flanigan says 90% of the patients who have gotten the device at his hospital have seen improved function and less pain.
“It’s taking some of that shock or some of that force that stress that the knee sees when you’re weightbearing and that can be over 30% of that shock or that stress where it’s unloading that from that compartment,” said Dr. Flanigan.
That includes Stenger, who’s now had the device for three years.
“It has made my life whole again,” Stenger said. “I’m able to climb ladders. I’m back golfing again. Not good, but I’m still golfing!”
Results from the study were presented Thursday at the Orthopedic Summit in Boston. The device is not FDA approved, but the company that makes it says it’s working “to gain the necessary regulatory approvals.”