Kieser hip and knee osteoarthritis program trialled for GMHBA members

GMHBA partnered with Kieser to explore the benefits of Kieser’s Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis program for GMHBA members with osteoarthritis.

During the six-month pilot, 103 GMHBA members throughout Victoria participated in the program. Kieser collected various forms of information on those who participated to help evaluate the success and key benefits of the program. A huge thanks to these members who took the time to take part in the trial.

What is Kieser?

The Kieser method is a fusion of health science and exercise science to strengthen the body and promote an active, pain-free and healthy life. Its origins extend back to 1966 in Switzerland when Werner Kieser opened his first Kieser Centre.

Kieser Australia was established in Melbourne in 2006 and is a network of integrated physiotherapy, rehabilitation and strength training centres built on the ‘Strength for Health’ principle. 

Kieser provides a unique physiotherapy and strengthening centre, with physiotherapists, exercise scientists and exercise physiologists in-house. They specialise in targeted strength training in a safe and supervised environment, using Kieser’s own Swiss-designed equipment to isolate and target weak muscles.

The Kieser program is an innovative and structured 12-week program, incorporating one-on-one physiotherapy and exercise science sessions, with an independent training program at a Kieser centre. The key focus is on strengthening the muscles around the arthritic joint in order to decrease pain, improve function and other symptoms. 

Strengthening of the lumbar and abdominal muscles, and even some upper limb muscles, is also included, with the lumbar and abdominal muscles in particular helping provide necessary stability to reduce the load on the hip and knee joints. The purpose of the program is to help clients delay or prevent hip or knee replacement surgery, or to improve the post-surgical outcomes of those who still proceed to surgery.

About the pilot

The pilot was open to GMHBA Health Insurance members who held hospital cover for 12 months or more.  The members needed to have a confirmed diagnosis of osteoarthritis in at least one hip or knee and were referred by their general practitioner into the program.

At the end of the six-month trial, Kieser provided an analysis of the results to GMHBA.  These results highlighted the success of the program, with some particularly encouraging signs. 

The results

  • Reported improvements in pain relief of more than 35%.
  • After taking part in the program, more than half of the participants reported that they don’t feel like they need to get surgery right away anymore.
  • 49% of members who completed the program would not consider surgery for at least five years.
  • Significant gains in strength around the hip and knee joints.
  • Various clinically validated questionnaires and functional tests all improved significantly.

Kieser and GMHBA consider the program to have been a success at this stage. While results will continue to be monitored to evaluate the longer-term avoidance of surgery, the short-term results of the program have been very successful and encouraging.

For more information about Kieser and how to participate in future trials, check out their website.