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The Answer to Runners Knee?

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A couple of weeks ago I was invited along to the Jefford Centre in Norwich to have my gait analysed using a technique called Apos Therapy.

As someone who suffers from all sorts of problems from my back to my ankles, I thought it would be interesting to go along and be checked out.

I’ll be honest, before I arrived I had no idea whatsoever what I was letting myself in for. I was expecting to be asked to run on a treadmill. Special shoes were mentioned, and it was suggested that the treatment and assessment were great for people with conditions like “runners knee” as bio-mechanical imbalances in your gait can contribute to problems all the way up the kinetic chain. I was just interested to see what was found out and I had no idea about AposTherapy or what it did!

Now, I am much wiser. AposTherapy is targeted at people with movement problems such as arthritis or knee ligament problems. Your walking gait is analysed and a special pair of shoes are fitted with pods that correct imbalances in your movement. When worn for 30 minutes to an hour a day these shoes correct muscle imbalances and can relieve pain caused by incorrect biomechanics.

On arrival I filled in several questionnaires about my current pain levels and any limits placed on my daily activities. For me these were obviously minimal, though back pain still has an effect on what I can do sometimes and stiffness in my hips, knees and ankles, though normal for regular movement, can sometimes inhibit me in sports.

I was then put through an initial assessment involving being asked to walk up and down a runway that used sensors to analyse my speed and gait, one legged squats (my left left leg is super weak and wobbly, a side effect of always skating in one direction in Roller Derby, and of my old ankle injury from 2014). I was also watched by the therapist while I walked up and down to analyse my gait and movement and put through a series of stretches to check my hip and knee mobility.

jefford centre

Let me add at this point that I was not warned that my knees needed to be visible for the assessment and therefore I had to replace the nice funky leggings I turned up in with those unattractive black shorts!

My results from the walking gait analysis confirmed a weakness in my left leg. I spent longer on that leg and there was a difference in my stride length.

gAIT aNALYSIS

After this initial assessment I was then fitted for a pair of sexy new custom adjusted shoes. The system has 2 adjustable pods on the toe and the heel that work a little like a wobble board to throw your body into the correct alignment and force muscles to work that might normally be a little lazy.

Apos Therapy fitting

The shoes felt heavy, but not ridiculously so and I could definitely feel that I walked differently while wearing them.

Another walk up and down the runway confirmed that the shoes had counteracted differences in my stride length while I was wearing them. I still spent longer on my left leg, but that is the sort of thing that months of wear will start to fix, apparently!

APOS THERAPY TRAINERS

I cannot tell you about the long term effectiveness of the treatment as I was only offered the assessment. The treatment is pricey, but is available on credit terms, and also for free through Bupa and other providers.

For me, at this stage, I suspect it’s not worth paying for and as a sporty and relatively fit person there are other ways to try and deal with the imbalances that I suspected and were confirmed by the assessment before I take this step. For older patients with mobility issues, or sports people with long term chronic issues that haven’t been fixed by other methods it really sounds like it’s worth looking into. Meniscus tears and knee ligament damage are common sports injuries that can be rehabilitated using the Apos Therapy system, so it’s definitely something I will keep in mind for the future.

I was quite pleased to discover the Jefford Centre on King Street in Norwich as well. It’s a beautiful light and airy space, and as well as Apos Therapy they do sports therapy, pilates, yoga, and many other complimentary therapies.

aPOS THERAPY JEFFORD CENTRE

If you’d like to find out more about Apos Therapy, what it can treat and your closest clinic then visit their website.