A new device that works like a car’s shock absorber could help thousands of people affected by osteoarthritis. The spring-loaded implant is surgically attached to the bones above and below the knee joint.
As the foot hits the ground the device, called the KineSpring, soaks up much of the impact, taking the load off damaged joints. This stops bones inside the knee grinding together and causing severe pain.
KineSpring is indicated for younger, more active osteoarthritis sufferers who want to remain active before having to go through knee replacement surgery.
An estimated eight million people in Britain have some degree of osteoarthritis which destroys cartilage, the body’s built-in shock absorber.
As the body ages major joints such as the hips, knees and wrists suffer wear and tear. Other risk factors include being overweight, having a family history of the condition and suffering sports-related injuries.
Cartilage soaks up the impact from walking, running or lifting so that bones do not rub together and disintegrate.
However in osteoarthritis the cartilage starts to break down and as bones come into contact, the friction makes joints swollen and extremely painful.
There are no drugs to cure it and many sufferers rely on anti-inflammatory painkillers to ease their suffering.
About 60,000 people a year in the UK need a knee replacement because their joints are eroded.
The operation to implant the shock absorber is much less invasive as the device is placed just beneath the skin and alongside the knee joint.
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