Case Study – Elderly Knee Pain

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“I can walk real good by myself and without a cane.”
This 89-year-old patient came to UOST after a prolonged time of knee pain due to a twisted ankle approximately 4 months ago. After her fall, she visited the MD immediately but continued to have knee pain. Due to continued pain after a cortisone injection, her MD recommended physical therapy due to bilateral knee pain with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis with bony changes. She was a fairly sedentary individual but took pride in maintaining her condo. She attended church regularly and kneeling was affected. Due to decreased activity due to pain, she had significantly decreased balance as well with increased risk and fear of falling.
Our patient chose UOST based on a recommendation from her son-in-law who had an excellent experience at the clinic. In addition, she lives in Uxbridge and it was very convenient especially with her increased fear of falling.
When the patient came to us, she could not walk more than 50 feet without having a loss of balance where she needed to grab something to not fall or visibly lose her balance. She had increased pain in her left knee and decreased range of motion and strength in both her legs. She demonstrated significantly decreased balance through standardized testing.
After 4 weeks of physical therapy twice a week consisting of exercises, infrared laser treatment, soft tissue techniques, patient education, proprioception activities and a Home Exercise Program, she made excellent progress. She was very diligent about doing her focused HEP and upon discharge, she had rare pain in her left knee, her ROM was within functional limits, her strength in both her legs was functional with increased flexibility and her balance increased to the point that she had no LOB with any walking without any assistive device. She went from being a high risk for falls on a standardized test for balance to a minimal risk of falls.