Dr Alejandro Badia from the United States and prominent Miami-based PRO tennis coach, kinesiologist and exercise physiologist, Matias Polonsky are providing hope for patients with hand and upper limb conditions needing rehabilitation.
The doctors were in Trinidad recently to promote the latest in orthopaedic technology called Arp Wave Neuro Therapy. Part of their team includes Dr Bruce Rubin, a board certified neurologist who specialises in neurorehabilitation and spasticity management.
Arp Wave commonly referred to as ARP, (Accelerated Recovery Performance), is a system comprising proprietary technology and protocols that uses a patented bioelectrical current simultaneously with active range-of-motion and other exercise techniques to significantly speed up the body’s natural recuperative ability.
In celebration of their fifth anniversary, the Caribbean Hand Centre Foundation (www.caribbeanhandcentre.org) invited the doctors to be a part of their paediatric and orthotic workshops and clinics presented by local orthopaedic surgeon and clinical director of the Caribbean Hand Centre, Dr Godfrey Araujo.
Dr Badia is a world-renowned hand and upper limb surgeon, president of the International Society for Sport Traumatology of the Hand (ISSPORTH) and co-founder of the Caribbean Hand Centre Foundation.
Dr Araujo said, “Badia and Dr Rubin are here for our thrust into upper limb injuries as well as treating other conditions such as cerebral palsy.”
He noted that Dr Badia was instrumental in bringing to the forefront ARP Wave which uses electrical hyperstimulation of muscles to correct muscular skeletal problems. This would be used in conjunction with techniques that Dr Rubin as a neurologist, will utilise Botox to relax spastic muscles in patients with cerebral palsy, he said
“This combination has never been used in Trinidad or in any other part of the world,” Dr Araujo said.
Until now, only athletes have predominantly used ARP Wave exclusively.
“We had a session at the Princess Elizabeth’s Centre (on January 16) and the techniques are useful and can be used. It is an expensive technology not available to us as yet,” Dr Araujo said.
He noted that as a non-profit organisation there is only so much they can do and it was one of the reasons why he wanted the public to know of this medical development and render aid.
“One machine alone costs US$30,000. To train someone for six months to basic level costs US$20,000 along with other additional expenses,” he said.
“Before this technology one of the challenges we had was trying to get the spastic muscles to contract and relax. Many times the muscle goes into refraction and is unable to move,” he said.
Dr Araujo noted while they were there at the Princess Elizabeth’s Centre, patients and some parents asked if anything could be done.
He said, “In some cases you can’t but there are cases you can and for these patients it is almost like a life changing experience. Not just for them but also for their parents and caregivers too.”
Dr Badia said, “A lot of the problems these kids suffer from there is no absolute cure so as technology progresses, we can do a lot more to help them become more functional and incorporate them into society.
“What we are bringing here is not only new to us in the US but Trinidad is the first country where we would be bringing these technologies to so it is very exciting,” he added.
Explaining what prompted him to come on board with this project, Dr Rubin said, “I think the opportunity to help people is something I feel very grateful to do. These are kids with cerebral palsy that not a lot of doctors want to deal with their problems. They are not like you and I. In my mind, it is a very rewarding thing to know that something so small can make a huge difference.”
He said, “As a fully functioning person sometimes we don’t appreciate what we can do that we sometimes take it for granted. Some of the things that we do are cutting edge so why not bring our expertise to the people that need it.”
Seeing a need within the medical field to help those with orthopaedic injuries, Dr Badia and his team opened up OrthoNOW (www.orthonowcare.com) in 2010 in Miami, to treat persons with orthopaedic and sports medicine injuries without an appointment. These injuries include fractures, sprains, concussions, open wounds, dislocations and lacerations.
The company was recently selected by Entrepreneur Magazine in the US as one of the top franchise sectors in 2014.
Dr Araujo said, “The Caribbean Hand Centre is aimed at increasing knowledge/awareness and management of hand and upper limb injuries. We do that by seminars and workshops like this one. We bring in colleagues to help patients who need treatment to access the proper treatment and to sponsor or part sponsor their treatment.”
He noted that these workshops also help to provide ongoing training for local therapists and surgeons involved in the care of patients with hand and upper limb conditions needing care and rehabilitation.
The doctors left Trinidad, January 17.
For more information call the
Caribbean Hand Centre at
628-3643 or visit their office at
72 A Ana Street, Woodbrook,
Port of Spain.