By Alexander Germanis
They just don’t make them like they used to. That has been an all too common lament in our modern “throw away” world.
Such a sentiment has led to an ever-increasing desire for restoration. Whether it’s an heirloom, a cherished toy from childhood, or a classic car, making something old new again is often far better than simply buying something new.
When it comes to our own bodies, the desire to restore what is worn out is far greater. Years of wear in joints such as the knee or shoulder for instance can have one wishing for a restoration to “the way it used to be.” That wish is made all the more desperate when the wear in one’s joints leads to the extremely painful condition known as osteoarthritis (OA).
For people familiar with that pain, there is the KNAP program at ICPR Family Practice in Pekin and Peoria.
An extremely common condition, osteoarthritis—also known as “wear and tear” arthritis—affects millions of Americans. More than 3 million cases are reported each year in the United States.
“Osteoarthritis is a disease that causes the cartilage to wear away in the joint. As OA progresses, the joint becomes irritated and inflamed, causing pain, stiffness, and a decrease in the range of motion,” ICPR’s founder, Volkan Sumer, DO, explains. “A common symptom of OA is morning stiffness that decreases with use. The joint may also creak, pop, or make a grating sound as it moves.”
Although it is a disease often associated with the elderly, there are several factors that can increase the risk of OA in younger people. These factors include overuse of the joint, a family history of arthritis, an injury incurred from sports, work, or elsewhere, and weight gain—even in a small degree.
In 2006, the KNee Arthritis Program, or KNAP was formulated by Dr. Sumer in order to treat arthritis of the knee conservatively and delay or prevent surgery altogether. Over time, the KNAP expanded to treat arthritis of the shoulder as well.
“There is nothing like your natural knee. This also applies to the shoulder,” states Dr. Sumer. “My surgical colleagues are highly trained at replacing knee and shoulder joints, but I feel we often jump to that step without exhausting more conservative treatment options. There are certain things you cannot do with replaced joints that you can do with your natural joints. Also, there are risks with any type of surgery, while the KNAP program is extremely safe. It is always a good choice to exhaust all conservative treatment options before proceeding with surgery.”
The course KNAP takes is quite simple. Beginning with a free consultation to determine if a patient is a good candidate for the program, insurance authorization is then obtained. The treatment itself then consists of a series of injections in the arthritic joint space followed up by a course of physical therapy taught by ICPR’s physical therapists. “We can even provide or recommend knee bracing options to aide in your knee health and mobility,” Dr. Sumer adds.
“The injections combined with physical therapy are proven up to 90 percent effective for treating osteoarthritis,” he continues. “KNAP is designed to provide at least six months of relief or more from OA knee/shoulder pain, but lasts much longer in many cases.”
Hyaluronan Replacement Therapy
The first half of the KNAP program consists of a course of three to five ultrasound guided injections of hyaluronan into the knee or shoulder joint. “These injections are administered once every seven days for three to five weeks,” explains Dr. Sumer. “The hyaluronan solution bonds with existing joint fluid to create a cushion and lubricating layer, reducing inflammation, pain, and stiffness. Hyaluronan is not a steroid or cortisone and thus is much safer.”
An all-natural substance, hyaluronan replaces the hyaluronate lubricating fluid normally found in a healthy joint. Its use will not interact with any other medications, nor will it affect sugar levels, as cortisone shots will. Hyaluronan replacement therapy may be repeated every six months if necessary.
“Injections are only one component of treating osteoarthritis,” Dr. Sumer points out. “Physical therapy is extremely important because it, combined with these injections, significantly increases the chances of success in treating osteoarthritis. It also strengthens and improves the range of motion of these joints while enhancing pain reduction and setting you up for long term success.”
With KNAP, a personalized physical therapy program is prescribed in order to help restore the joint to its earlier mobility. With a series of home exercises, ICPR’s physical therapists will teach the proper ways to move in order to strengthen the joint and reduce the wear and tear that contribute to osteoarthritis.
Although OA is associated with the elderly, Dr. Sumer indicates KNAP is important for younger patients as well. “The sooner you start treating osteoarthritis, the greater your chances for success,” he says. “Osteoarthritis can start at a young age, especially as a result of sports or other injuries and genetics. It is never too early to start caring for your joint health and we can help you determine if this program can benefit you at any age.”
ICPR and Compathoundercare
When Dr. Sumer founded ICPR in 2001, he did so to follow through with the core philosophy he developed while earning his medical degree: compathoundercare.
Compathoundercare is a portmanteau of compassionate, thoughtful, understanding, and caring, and is something ICPR Family Practice exhibits in every aspect of its mission of health and wellness.
“It’s also the reason I chose osteopathic medicine (DO) over the more traditional MD degree because it offers a more holistic approach to medicine,” Dr. Sumer shares. “By combining traditional treatments with spinal manipulations, I have been trained to treat the entire person and the source of the condition, not just the uncomfortable symptoms.”
ICPR itself is an extension of the compathoundercare philosophy. “The name of the office stands for I Care, Prevent, and Rejuvenate,” the doctor says, “which embodies our philosophy of medical care. We understand that an illness affects the entire person and possibly their family. Therefore, we like to treat the person who comes into the office, not just their symptoms.”
A family practice, ICPR truly wants to treat the entire family, from your little children to you to your grandmother. “We also want to take care of as many of your needs in one location. We want you to be the healthiest version of yourself,” Dr. Sumer insists. “We stand by our motto: I Care, I Prevent, I Rejuvenate. Patients that come to ICPR also notice that we enjoy our calling. We all work well together and strive to make the patient comfortable as they deal with their difficulties. Also the variety of services we provide set us apart. You can come here for your physicals, diabetes, high blood pressure, pain, arthritis and injection therapies, skin health, minor surgical skin procedures, weight loss counseling, immunizations, physical therapy, etc.”
Back to Being You
While everyone’s experience and journey to wellness is going to be different, the goal is usually the same: to return to the way you used to be.
Dr. Sumer and ICPR’s approach to helping you along your journey will never change. With compassion, understanding, and caring, ICPR Family Practice will always strive to restore you to the person you remember being.
ICPR is located at 3400 Griffin Ave. in Pekin, IL, with another location for only knee and shoulder procedures at 1524 W. Glen Ave. in Peoria (inside Benningfield and Associates). With over 50,000 injections administered to date, Dr. Sumer and ICPR are among the leading providers of non-surgical knee and shoulder arthritis treatments nationwide. Fee l free to call and schedule a free consultation at (309) 347-4277 or visit us at www.icpronline.com.