Action News has learned of a new therapy that's surgery-free and can get patients back in action, without the pain.
Gilbert Cano can rack up the miles on a stationary bike, and tackle almost any other exercise he loves to do, because his knees are almost like new.
Gilbert Cano: "I used to wake up at night and the pain in the knees."
Osteoarthritis was so bad for the retired Fresno machinery repairman, it kept him up at night, and kept him away from everyday life.
Gilbert Cano: "The thing that bugged me the most, I couldn't do stuff like kneeling down or climbing up stairs."
But Gilbert didn't want to undergo knee replacement surgery, just yet. So his doctor tried non-invasive, state of the art, knee braces.
The BioniCare system: a non-surgical, FDA cleared device that costs about 15-hundred dollars and is usually covered by Medicare and health insurance providers.
Dr. David Taylor at Sierra Pacific Orthopaedic and Spine Center in Northeast Fresno, says he prescribes the system for many of his patients who don't want to go under the knife.
Dr. Taylor: "I would say, 8 out of 10 patients that I prescribe it for, say they really feel a difference with the system."
BioniCare works in two-parts. During the day, the braces take weight-bearing pressure off the worn part of the knee, and re-distributes that pressure to the thigh muscle and the lower leg. That allows the knee joint to gradually, re-align, relieving pain. Dr. Taylor says the results can be dramatic.
Gilbert and other patients with the BioniCare system can wear the brace, practically all day but it's the therapy at night that makes a big difference, relieving pain and pressure, while they sleep.
Gilbert shows us how the "bionic" part of "BioniCare" happens at night. "And you wrap it around here. Then you just go until you start feeling it."
A beep lets Gilbert know, electrical pulse stimulation is being delivered to the knee area, as illustrated in the animation video provided by the makers of BioniCare. Dr. Taylor says the pulses help stimulate nutrition around the joint, improving circulation.
Dr. Taylor: "The patient will wear these electrodes with a night wrap at night while they're sleeping for about eight hours. And I've found the combination of the unloader brace and the night wrap is pretty successful in alleviating the pain of osteoarthritis in about 80% of the patients who I prescribe these braces for."
Gilbert Cano: "I was sort of skeptical at first. I mean, what are these things going to do for me? But man, after you start using them, you'll notice a difference."
That difference encourages Gilbert to take the stairs instead of an elevator.
Gilbert Cano: "See this is the beautiful part right here. I don't have to hold the rail, coming down."
And spend time with the people he loves the most.
Gilbert Cano: "When I go to the park with my grandkids, I'm up there, moving around with the ball and I do stuff."
And that makes this grandfather, healthier and happier.