, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 380-387,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 04 May 2012

A unique foot-worn device for patients with degenerative meniscal tear

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of the current study was to assess the effects of a new foot-worn device on the gait, physical function and pain in patients suffering from knee osteoarthritis (OA) who had a low-impact injury to the medial meniscus causing a degenerative meniscal tear.

Methods

A retrospective analysis of 34 patients with knee OA and a degenerative medial meniscal tear was performed. Patients underwent a gait evaluation, using an electronic walkway mat, and completed the SF-36 health survey and the WOMAC questionnaire at baseline and after 3 and 12 months of therapy. AposTherapy is a functional, biomechanical, non-invasive rehabilitation therapy consisting of a foot-worn device that is individually calibrated to each patient and is used during activities of daily living. Repeated-measures analyses were performed to compare gait parameters and self-evaluation questionnaires between baseline, and 3 and 12 months.

Results

Significant improvements were found in gait velocity, step length and single-limb support of the involved knee following 12 weeks of therapy (all p < 0.01), alongside an improvement in limb symmetry. These results were maintained at the 12-month follow-up examination. Significant improvements were also found in all three domains of the WOMAC index (pain, stiffness and physical function) and in the SF-36 Physical Health Scale and the SF-36 Mental Health Scale (all p < 0.01).

Conclusions

Patients with knee OA and a degenerative medial meniscal tear using a biomechanical foot-worn device for a year showed improvement in gait, physical function and pain. Based on the findings of this study, it can be postulated that this biomechanical device might have a positive effect on this population.

Level of evidence

Therapeutic study, Level IV.