’burg and Beyond

In Lewisburg and far afield, Bucknellians make a positive and palpable difference
Benjamin Wheatley sitting on stairs while smiling
Photo: Emily Paine
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Professor Benjamin Wheatley, mechanical engineering, is helping physicians understand how an innovative knee-pain treatment can improve patient care.
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As a fellow with Geisinger Health System, Professor Benjamin Wheatley, mechanical engineering, is working with AposHealth to deliver an innovative, non-invasive, drug-free treatment for patients with knee pain and conditions such as osteoarthritis.

What They Did

Apos developed biomechanical footwear — a shoe patients wear for an hour a day while going about their routine. From most angles, it appears to be a typical sneaker. But look at the sole, and you’ll see two convex cushions. The discs improve the alignment of users’ muscle forces and their gait, which takes pressure off their knees while training them to walk with better form. The result is diminished pain and decelerated joint damage.

The Benefit

While Wheatley conducts plenty of biomechanics-related research in his campus lab, he says working on the Apos device is rewarding because it’s improving people’s quality of life. “I’m using my biomechanic expertise to educate physicians on how the device works and why it’s beneficial so we can get more patients to use it,” he says. “So while I’m interested in the device as a research project and how we can apply its principles to other muscular-skeletal conditions, for me, being able to help patients is really cool.”

The Outcome

Recently published clinical data shows that among people eligible for a knee replacement, 89% of patients using the Apos device have still not had a knee replacement after six years. Typical surgical avoidance rates would be only 10 to 15%. The treatment is available to Geisinger patients in central and northeast Pennsylvania.

Mike Ferlazzo and Megan Collins ’24