ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – Three months ago, Greenville resident Darron Drennon couldn’t walk without a cane because of the pain in his left knee. Drennon, 44, has a passion for being active, and he was fed up with being unable to play basketball or baseball.
But his doctor had a tough solution for him: A knee replacement.
“I’ve been dealing with knee pain for probably seven-and-a-half, maybe eight years,” he said. “I was concerned; I figured I was a little young to be down on my knees.”
But another option for Drennon was a special sleeve called Bionicare. It straps on like a regular knee brace, and is meant to be worn for about six hours a day.
The device delivers a pulsed electrical signal to the knee, which doctors say helps create healthy cartilage. Drennon vouched for it.
“I have no pain or anything,” he said.
He’s worn his Bionicare for three months, and he said he hasn’t incurred any side effects. Orthopedic surgeon Dr. John McConnell said the new treatment is an option for patients who are hesitant to go under the knife.
“It’s particularly useful when you have younger patients who you really want to avoid doing knee joint replacement because of their age,” McConnell said. “Sometimes also an older patient, because of their health, would rather not undergo surgery.”
McConnell said some of his patients have noticed relief in a matter of days. Drennon was one of those.
“I don’t have to have my cane anymore,” he said. “I don’t have to have crutches.”
Bionicare is FDA approved, and covered by many insurance companies. Doctors also advise those with knee problems to lose weight, which can help take pressure off the knees; exercise more, which keeps the knee strong; strengthen the quadriceps, as 90 percent of knee stability involves the quads; and see an orthopedic surgeon if problems arise.