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GenuTrain A3 at a medical supply retailer “Breaking the pain-surgery-TEP chain“

Issue 02/2018

Customers should learn first-hand that supports don’t hurt at all , says Ralf Erken from rahm.

Gonarthrosis invariably leads to a joint replacement: Ralf Erken from the rahm Zentrum für Gesundheit medical-supply organization in Troisdorf (Germany) is committed to refuting this misconception and presenting alternatives. He is being assisted in this endeavor by 700 employees in 38 outlets – and by the GenuTrain A3 support.

Bauerfeind life: Why didn’t you add GenuTrain A3 to your product range immediately?

Moving again with GenuTrain A3.
Moving again with GenuTrain A3.

Ralf Erken: That had less to do with the product than it did with us. As an osteoarthritis center, we have instituted strict guidelines for medical aids. We monitor the products on the market. We then test these products with customers and our own staff, after which we decide whether or not to add them to our portfolio. We’ve been using this quality assurance procedure since rahm was designated an official gonarthrosis test center in 2016.

The A3 passed the tests because…

Ralf Erken: Its proprioceptive properties were very convincing. The large star-shaped pad has a rapid effect on the vastus medialis. The intermittent compression on the knee also has a beneficial effect. We need to explain these things to our customers, however, since most of them know little about the illness they suffer from. The idea that “osteoarthritis means pain, which means a new knee,” is very common. We, however, want to break the pain-surgery-TEP chain.

How do you convince customers that conservative treatment is the right approach?

Ralf Erken: Patients with gonarthrosis need support. Customers have to know that their personal goals are actually our common goals. The important thing is to point out the benefits offered by active supports – that they alleviate pain, promote mobility and, unlike painkillers, do not have any known side effects. The best argument , however, is what patients experience when they wear the support , which we encourage them to do right in the store. They can try out the whole range and even walk on a test course if they want. They’re usually surprised by this type of service at a medical supply retailer, as compared to a pharmacy. Only a few do not immediately have a positive reaction to GenuTrain or GenuTrain A3, for example. Most are very happy when they realize wearing the support doesn’t cause any pain. And, really, who wouldn’t want to experience the high-quality massage effect , as we put it , that you get on your thigh, lower leg and around the patella from the A3’s numerous small frictional nubs?

“The idea that ‘osteoarthritis means pain, which means a new knee,’ is very common.”Ralf Erken

Are physicians who prescribe the supports aware of their proven effect with regard to gonarthrosis?

Ralf Erken: Some doctors prescribe GenuTrain A3 directly. However, many others are not even aware that this special model for grade 1 gonarthrosis actually exists in addition to the well-known GenuTrain model. We need to work with physicians to change this, and we view ourselves in many cases as an intermediary between patients and doctors. If doctors only have ten minutes for a patient because the waiting room is full , a lot of questions regarding how medical aids actually work will be left unanswered.

Do you have customers who ask for a medical aid on their own?

Ralf Erken: No, not too many. Those who come to us looking for a preventive solution – and we deal with both young and old people in this regard – usually want to hear a second opinion. For example, they might be experiencing occasional knee pain and want to know if they should do something about it. We recommend that they first see a doctor. Such customers are of course ideal when it comes to implementing the right measures to prevent osteoarthritis early on, which is the most important thing, and a doctor they trust might then prescribe a support. Doctors also appreciate the treatment option information we provide them with. This year, we will organize 15 gonarthrosis events with patients and physicians. Naturally, these events will also include presentations of products for stage-appropriate treatment.

How do you explain to customers the specific ways GenuTrain A3 helps fight gonarthrosis?

Ralf Erken: Along with its proprioceptive-stabilizing effect , the A3 also has an integrated corrective strap that positively influences the path of movement of the patella. This is important because gonarthrosis can also form at the patella, or else negatively affect it. In general , however, we use simple language to explain that the most important goal must be for patients to get moving again; otherwise the joint will stiffen up, which is counterproductive. Active supports, on the other hand, are exactly what’s needed here. After all , if you have something that makes you feel good in a spot where you normally feel pain, compliance will no longer be an issue.

There is no cure for gonarthrosis. How do you motivate people who have it to get treatment?
Ralf Erken: Osteoarthritis symptoms are always subjective, by which I mean that whereas some people first begin to feel pain at the grade 1 stage, others already experience unbearable pain at the same stage. We have to keep these differences in mind. Still , becoming inactive is the worst thing. If I can achieve quick pain relief with a support or orthosis, patients will be willing to continue treatment. That’s what opens the doors – pain reduction combined with a high degree of functionality, which is what GenuTrain A3 offers. These are the decisive motivational factors that enable effective treatment of gonarthrosis at an early stage.

The support for gonarthrosis

GenuTrain-A3-Pelotte mit Friktionszonen und Korrekturzügel für die Patella.

Even just a slight case of gonarthrosis can lead to complex problems in knee joints. GenuTrain A3 provides targeted relief for osteoarthritis pain during movement , and it also helps offset stability deficits. Movement and the resulting intermittent compression exerted by the knit and the pad massage soft tissue and stimulate the metabolism in the joints. The joint-stabilizing muscles are activated and the sensorimotor function is influenced in a positive way. The star-shaped pad with nubbed friction zones increase the stimulation of the mechanoreceptors in the medial capsule ligament area, which is where typical pain areas are located. Stimulation of the stabilizing vastus medialis muscle also increases, which helps offset imbalances. An integrated corrective strap keeps the patella in its physiologically correct path during movement.

Images: Stefan Durstewitz, Bauerfeind 


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