How Distraction Improves Rehab Outcomes for Knee Osteoarthritis Patients

Have you ever pulled someone’s finger? I know, I know, we’ve all got that friend. Let’s try to forget him. But what about the leg? Have you ever pulled someone’s leg? Not metaphorically, but literally. Have you ever grasped someone’s leg just above the ankle and, with the knee bent at about 20–25° short of full extension, given it a gentle, steady tug?

Physical therapists do this all the time in a procedure known as distraction. Basically, it’s the manual separation of two articulating joint surfaces. We “distract” these surfaces in order to relieve pressure within the joint, especially for people who have osteoarthritis.

Patients who undergo distraction report related pain relief and an easier time performing their range of motion exercises. There’s even a study to back this up: “Effects of non-surgical joint distraction in the treatment of severe knee osteoarthritis” studied forty knee osteoarthritis patients, dividing them into two groups:

  • The first group (the control group) received a standard physiotherapy session for ten treatments.
  • The second group received the exact same physiotherapy sessions, except these sessions were each accompanied by twenty minutes of knee distraction.

The result, after a one-month followup, showed the group that received the distraction sessions had significantly higher improvement in pain, functional ability, quality of life, and knee flexion range of motion compared to the control group.

The study concluded: “Adding knee distraction to standard physiotherapy treatment can result in further improvement in pain relief, increased functional ability and better quality of life in patients with severe knee osteoarthritis.”

If you’re a patient whose health care provider does not currently perform distraction, or if you are a health care provider who would like your patients to be able to perform distraction within the comfort of their own homes, check out PrePak Product’s Home Ranger® Knee Pulley.

We’re not pulling your leg — with the Home Ranger® Knee Pulley, you can pull it yourself.