Kathy is 57 years old and has an active job in a long-term care centre. In 2019, she began to experience knee and hip pain, and over time, it grew worse. In April 2020, Kathy was in so much pain that she went to the emergency department at her local hospital. Physicians admitted Kathy to hospital, with a diagnosis of osteoarthritis (OA) of the hip and unstable type 2 diabetes mellitus.
After Kathy was discharged from the hospital, she was able to control her diabetes. But her right hip and knee remained so sore that she used a cane to walk. At night, Kathy dreaded the trip up the stairs to bed so much that she often slept on the couch. Kathy’s pain also affected her work and she struggled to do her job. Many of Kathy’s workplace duties required her to walk while carrying objects, which she found difficult to do while using a cane.
In December 2020, Kathy started physiotherapy sessions at LiquidGym. During the initial assessment, the physiotherapist determined that Kathy’s hip OA had flared up. As a result, Kathy developed poor movement patterns, which caused her knee pain to worsen.
Most activities on land caused Kathy pain, so her physiotherapist started with weekly sessions in the water. Together, they worked on strengthening Kathy’s legs and core, using the therapeutic properties of water to reduce the chance of pain. The physiotherapist also assigned Kathy a home exercise program, aimed at pain-free strengthening and stretching on land.
Kathy started improving quickly. Soon, she could comfortably use the treadmill and exercise bike in the pool. Within three weeks of physiotherapy, Kathy no longer required a cane to walk. By the sixth week, she was able to go on regular walks with her family. After eight weeks, Kathy was pain-free during her walks, at work, and while going up and down stairs (which she has mastered). As of early 2021, Kathy is strong enough to consider participating in a “tough girl” five-kilometre, obstacle-course competition in the summer (depending on pandemic restrictions).
At the time of this writing, Kathy is attending physiotherapy every two weeks. The goal is to help her remain pain free while she gradually pushes her activity level on her own. She reports that she has not “…felt this amazing in the last seven years!”
Kathy will soon be strong enough to be safely discharged from physiotherapy treatment so she can continue training independently or with a personal trainer.