Summer is here, meaning many people will lace up the shoes and hit the pavement for a walk or run. Therein lies the problem. The rigidity of asphalt and concrete with the unrelenting contact the foot makes with the ground can cause serious lower extremity issues. According to the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), a runners’ foot strikes the ground with a force that’s two to three times their body weight. And this is even more problematic for an individual unfamiliar with proper running techniques, such as landing on the ball of the foot to create less impact force through the body.
The Onset of Osteoarthritis
Unfortunately, poor running habits and muscle imbalances can have runners finishing in the doctor’s office, complaining of hip pain, knee discomfort and ankle inflammation. These symptoms may not be at the root of multiple underlying conditions, rather they can all be traced to one possible ailment: osteoarthritis (OA). By applying repeated force over a prolonged period of time, the cartilage and tissues between the bones begins to gradually wear away. That leaves the joints, particularly in the hip and knees, susceptible to injury.
OA is one of the most common joint diseases and prevalent among adults 50 and over. Individuals experience a decline in knee functionality, muscle weakness and impaired balance. Typically, medication or even surgery has served as a viable option for OA, including arthroscopic and arthroplasty. But, we know this can put the fittest individual out of commission for quite some time, with the recovery and rehabilitation process. Depending on the severity of joint damage and pain though, there is an alternative that’s just as or even more effective to surgery to getting runners back to doing what they love.
Lower Limb Orthoses Treatment
A custom unloader knee orthosis with double upright design configurations have proven successful in the management of patients with OA. The mechanism to achieve this is a three-point pressure system that creates offloading of the impacted compartment. As a result, studies have shown that offloading forces exerted by these devices can provide pain relief and precise bending movement of the femur and tibia, resulting in proper alignment of the joints.
The Varum-Valgum Adjustable Stress (Adult V-VAS™ Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis) custom unloader knee orthosis is designed and built with a special technique and components. An initial cast impression is taken of the patient along with a series of measurements to ultimately construct an intimately fitted V-VAS brace. Extremely light and comfortable to wear, the orthosis comes equipped with unique features that increase the effectiveness and compliance for an OA patient in need of an unloader orthosis.
Custom V-VAS KAFO Orthosis Treats OA
Rather than a narrow frame commonly found on most single and double upright designs, V-VAS uses a total contact cuff on the thigh and tibia, along with an adjustable self-aligning polycentric joint system to create four points of pressure instead of three. This very patient and practitioner friendly design simulates an ideal bending moment that results in the precise offloading and realigning experience. But most importantly, there’s a reduction in pain and improved compliance for a patient. And best of all, recovery and rehabilitation are achieved in a timely manner to getting back up and running again.
OA is not the only condition treated by a V-VAS orthosis. In fact, most forms of lower limb bowing deformities, such as Blount’s Disease, Rickets, Bow Leg and Knocked Kneed can be corrected with a brace. This is achieved by the flexibility of V-VAS to accommodate for growth by adjusting the length of the medial and laterally femoral and tibial uprights in quarter increments. In addition, the brace eliminates the inconsistencies of corrective straps, condylar paddling and limited unilateral jointed KAFO designs for superior patient compliance.