Rehab programs following knee surgery can often be expensive and a pain in the… well, knee.
Fortunately, researchers at Bond University have shown that patients may recover faster doing simple home exercises on $29 stationary pedals.
In a study of 60 people undergoing total knee replacements, they found that those who practised using their new knees on the pedals were more mobile and had less pain two weeks after surgery than those who did conventional physical therapy.
“We were surprised that it was superior to standard rehabilitation methods,” says study leader Larissa Sattler.
“Those who did the pedalling not only felt better, they could walk faster and further,” she says.
As well as being kinder on the knees, the DIY pedalling rehab is kinder on the wallet, says Dr Christopher Vertullo, an orthopaedic surgeon involved in the research.
“You can buy the pedals at stores like Kmart, people can do it themselves, and they actually do better than more complicated and expensive rehab, which is often more painful in the short-term and unnecessary,” he says.
The findings could save $25 million for the 50,000 Australians undergoing knee replacements each year, says Dr Vertullo.
“It is amazing when you consider the amount of money spent on rehabilitation that there is actually no research or evidence around what is best until now.”
(The information in this article should not be considered medical advice. Please see your medical professional for information tailored to your personal circumstances.)
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