Electric Measuring Device May Help Some Patients Regain Knee MotionElectric garage door openers. Electric can openers. Electric toothbrushes. Now electric goniometers. A goniometer is a device to measure joint motion. Physical therapists work it by hand to measure patients' progress. It's used most often after injury or operation.
In this study a computerized electric goniometer was studied. It gave biofeedback to patients after total knee replacement. The patient could hear a beep or see a screen with a display of joint measurements.
The idea behind such a device is to remind patients to exercise on their own. A biofeedback unit of this type can measure motion. It can also keep track of how often the patient exercises. The electric goniometer can be set to limit motion prescribed by the doctor or therapist. Patients can monitor their own progress and exercise safely.
Results were measured in terms of motion and activity. What was the average activity during the day? Did the patient feel okay about wearing the unit? Did the electric goniometer give the same measure as a manual unit?
The researchers found no difference between the manual and machine goniometer. Pain levels were the same no matter how the motion was measured. Most patients said the unit was comfortable. They used the beep sound to guide them more than the visual display of their motion. They would use it again if they had the same surgery another time.
The authors conclude that such a device isn't needed by everyone. But for some patients recovery may be slow. They may have severe rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, or psychological or social problems. A method of reminding them to do their exercises may be useful. More research is needed to measure how well it works and if it can save money.
Todd A. Kuiken, MD, PhD, et al. Computerized Biofeedback Knee Goniometer: Acceptance and Effect on Exercise Behavior in Post-Total Knee Arthroplasty Rehabilitation. In Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. June 2004. Vol. 85. No. 6. Pp. 1026-1030.
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