NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There’s new hope for the more than 27 million Americans who suffer with pain and stiffness of knee arthritis.

A new device could add years to the life of your knees.

Retired firefighter Chuck Stenger has dealt with knee pain for over a decade.

“Every time I would kneel down or go to climb a ladder on the fire department, or doing squats when I was working out, I could feel it, but I worked with it,” Stenger said.

When he learned he had progressing osteoarthritis, he thought he was headed toward a total knee replacement. A new clinical trial, however, may allow him to avoid major surgery with a simple device.

“This shock absorber, it really looks like a car shock absorber, is going to be placed right on the inside part of the knee… to take some of the load off that inner portion of the knee and then shift it towards the outside part of the knee,” said Dr. David Flanigan of Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.

Dr. Flanigan implanted the device in Chuck’s knee in the first surgery of its kind in the United States.

“If it works for me, maybe it’ll work for a lot of other people,” Stenger said.

The Calypso Knee System is attached outside of the knee joint and works as a shock absorber, reducing pressure and creating a cushion similar to what cartilage provides in a healthy joint. The clinical trial will examine how the device may relieve pain and slow the progression of osteoarthritis.

CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE AND SEE IF YOU QUALIFY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CLINICAL TRIAL

“Take some of that load off that inner portion of the knee and allow that patient now to have increasing function, less pain and really to delay a total knee arthroplasty for, hopefully, years,” Dr. Flanigan said.

As for Chuck, he’s hoping he can get back to his active lifestyle, free of knee pain.

“I want to be able to start doing some of the things I used to do,” Stenger said.

More than 700,000 knee replacements are done every year in the United States, and that number is expected to triple over the next decade. Experts say this device could help slow or even reverse that trend by easing pain and prolonging the life of creaky knees.