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SecuTec OA at the Trimedic health center “The orthosis, not the osteoarthritis, has my knee in its grip”

Issue 02/2018

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The Trimedic health center utilizes a three-pillar model consisting of prevention, diagnosis, and therapy. Long-term patients at the facility in Karlsruhe (Germany) tested the new SecuTec OA – with successful results.

The Trimedic health center’s holistic treatment concept is reflected in the facility’s layout: everything is connected. The training room, which is flooded with light , is equipped with treadmills and ergometers. From the training room, one can enter a functional area that is used for individual performance and strength tests, and this area in turn leads to treatment rooms containing special equipment. A broad stairway leads up to the physiotherapy and occupational therapy unit whose large and bright group rooms have enough space to accommodate individual treatment sessions. Staff members can be seen here talking with clients, and in general the atmosphere is always bustling and friendly at Trimedic, the Karlsruhe-based center for physiotherapy and rehabilitation.

“I can walk for a longer period of time and I now feel less pain.”Wilfried Zabel

Grade IV patient Wilfried Zabel with a SecuTec OA orthosis in the Trimedic functional area.
Grade IV patient Wilfried Zabel with a SecuTec OA orthosis in the Trimedic functional area.

It’s therefore not surprising that Wilfried Zabel has been coming here for 20 years. Wilfried Zabel , a slim 78-year-old, mostly trains on the leg press in order to strengthen his thigh and buttock muscles and thus stabilize his knee as well , as Wilfried Zabel performs all of this strength training to keep his gonarthrosis in check. “I used to work with more weight ,” says the ambitious senior somewhat regretfully. “These days, I have to be satisfied with less – that’s just the way it is.”

Varus alignment with high instability

Isabelle Heeger, sports scientist.
Isabelle Heeger, sports scientist.

Wilfried Zabel is by no means resigned to his fate, however. Up until now, he has been able to achieve his most important goal , which is “no operation!” Given the advanced stage of gonarthrosis he suffers from (grade IV), that’s pretty remarkable, says Isabelle Heeger, a sports scientist who works at Trimedic. This achievement is also likely due to supplemental measures such as a shoe lift , foot orthoses, and the proprioceptive effect of the GenuTrain A3 active support , all of which the determined Mr. Zabel has been making use of for years now. “I’ve known him since he started coming here to train – he has extraordinary discipline,” says Isabelle Heeger, “and for that reason he was perfect for the study of the new SecuTec OA at Trimedic.” He definitely had the right indications – advanced gonarthrosis, which in Mr. Zabel’s case was accompanied by a severe axial deviation outwards of more than ten degrees. Along with the extremely one-sided strain on the medial knee compartment , the varus alignment in this case was also accompanied by a high degree of joint instability. This instability forced Wilfried Zabel to adopt a pain-relief posture that had him constantly overextending his right knee, leading to the associated compensation conditions such as posture and gait anomalies – not to mention the pain from damaged medial joint surfaces.

Gain in stability noticed immediately

Wilfried Zabel was one of 11 gonarthrosis patients at Trimedic who were selected to participate in the clinical study of SecuTec OA. Only one of the patients had ever worn an orthosis before. The initial experience of six of the patients with the relief orthosis was so positive that they all wanted to keep wearing their SecuTec OA. These patients reported a “good” reduction of pain and also said they were able to significantly increase their maximum walking distance. Wilfried Zabel enjoyed similar positive experiences. The former teacher especially liked the fact that SecuTec OA offered him the additional benefit of being able to individually adjust the knee pivot as a means of correcting the severe misalignment of the knee that he suffers from.

“SecuTec OA as an external medical aid fits in well with our treatment concept.”Steffen Wiemann

Steffen Wiemann, Managing Partner of Trimedic.
Steffen Wiemann, Managing Partner of Trimedic.

“After I made the adjustment , I immediately had the feeling that the orthosis had taken control ,” he says. “Or perhaps I should say that I felt as if the orthosis, not the osteoarthritis, now had my knee in its grip – here and here,” he adds, pointing exactly to those parts of the knee where the orthosis provides relief on the basis of the 3-point principle. “The joint is no longer as stiff when I position my knee to relieve pain,” Wilfried Zabel reports. “I can walk for a longer period of time and I now feel less pain.”

A stable gait means safer movement

Wilfried Zabel’s gait also became more fluid again during the test with SecuTec OA, says Isabelle Heeger. Along with improved mobility and pain reduction, a stable and fluid gait becomes crucial as people get older in particular, as it contributes to what is perhaps the most important effect of SecuTec OA: safer movement with less risk of injury. “Over the years, Mr. Zabel has increasingly displayed functional deficits that are caused solely by aging,” Isabelle Heeger explains. “That’s why we expanded his strength training to include certain functional exercises that are designed to offer support during his daily activities – for example when climbing stairs.” This offers Wilfried Zabel a double measure of safety when he wears his SecuTec OA every day for at least an hour after his weekly training session at Trimedic. This multipronged strategy is also favored by Steffen Wiemann, a physiotherapist and manual therapist who is also a Managing Partner of Trimedic. Wiemann believes in multimodal treatment , especially for gonarthrosis: “This complex disease forces us to utilize different approaches for the good of the patient. In this sense, SecuTec OA as an external medical aid fits in well with our treatment concept. Still , the muscular situation is always the main thing to consider.” Isabelle Heeger agrees with this view completely. The sports scientist wrote her doctoral dissertation on treatment concepts for gonarthrosis: “All the literature agrees that if anything can prevent or provide relief for this illness, it’s definitely strong muscles.” Wilfried Zabel likes to hear that , and he continues to test out his new-found mobility with SecuTec OA – most enjoyably when he goes for a walk with his grandson.

Images: Udo Schönewald


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