A new therapy developed in Israel that has made its way to New York could change the way doctors treat osteoarthritis of the knee and hip. NY1's Erin Billups filed the following report.
Arthritis is the most common form of disability in the Unites States. Osteoarthritis, or the break down of the cartilage and bone around knee and hip joints is the most prevalent, especially among those 65 and older.
"As my orthopedist said, 'You're 75, it wears out.' So that's what happened. It was hurting, it was hard to stand up and sit down," says Herbert Fox, an arthritis sufferer.
Like millions of Americans Herbert Fox got a knee replacement, which made life easier until it got infected and became extremely painful.
"I was waddling like a duck, back and forth," recalls Fox.
Fox wanted another solution and says he discovered it during one of his frequent trips to Israel to visit his son - Apos Therapy. It's a non-invasive treatment that uses varying sized pods on the bottom of shoes.
"Those pods retrain the muscles. They bring you to a posture, to an alignment where you can walk better and where loads are reduced from the joints. It's an education, we re-educate the muscles," explains Apos Therapy Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Amit Mor.
It seems incredibly simple and after six months in treatment, Fox no longer waddles.
"I'm a type A personality, an engineer and I need to solve the equation, this does not do that for me. Somehow what I'm doing down here on my leg and triggering the muscles is telling my brain how to walk better. And it does work," says Fox.
So far, 50,000 people have used these shoes in Israel, England and Singapore. Apos just opened its first U.S. practice in Midtown and is already serving 100 patients, including former New York Giant Bart Oates.
"I'm more comfortable walking in the shoes than walking in regular shoes. You have to kind of gradually work into wearing them. I was wearing them too much in the beginning, but don't tell them," says Oates.
The founders say part of the success behind Apos Therapy is the patient taking control of their own rehabilitation.
"When you give the patient the tools, when you empower them, and you don't command them and it's simple for them to comply, then you see they take charge," notes Dr. Mor.
Apos Therapy is not cheap or covered by insurance, yet. After a free, two-hour consultation it costs about $5,200 for the year-long treatment.