Arthritis is among the most common chronic knee complaints suffered today by middle aged and older individuals. It is also one of the more painful and debilitating conditions that can affect that joint. It is therefore only natural to ask the question ” do knee braces work for arthritis”?
In this post, we set out to examine the question of whether knee braces can work to reduce arthritis symptoms. We will examine how three different types of knee brace can help to control the pain and stiffness that is characteristic of knee arthritis.
We emphasize, however, that any decision to wear a knee brace to control arthritis symptoms should be made after consultation with your physician. Your doctor should have provided you with a comprehensive medical diagnosis and a treatment plan for your condition.
A knee brace is not a substitute for comprehensive medical advice, diagnosis or treatment plan. In most cases, a knee brace will be only one of many measures you can use to control knee arthritis pain. Your doctor will be able to advise on the other measures you need to take to adequately control your arthritis. For example, physical therapy can in many cases play an important role in the treatment of knee arthritis.
We shall now look at three different types of knee brace design and consider how each can help in the treatment of knee arthritis. The three types are unloader knee braces, hinged knee braces and knee sleeves.
Use An Unloader Knee Brace To Control Osteoarthritic Pain
An unloader brace is one type of knee brace that works for arthritis of the knee. In its case, it can be particularly effective in slowing the progress of knee osteoarthritis. This is a type of arthritis in which, due to wear and tear, the knee cartilage that normally covers the bones inside the joint starts to deteriorate.
As a result, the bones of the knee start making direct contact with each other. Needless to say, this direct bone on bone contact can result in excruciating pain with every movement of the knee joint.
The knee bones that tend to come into direct contact with each other are either the knee cap (patella) and thigh bone or the larger of the two lower leg bones (the tibia) and the patella. The first type of contact results in patellofemoral osteoarthritis while the second causes tibiofemoral osteoarthritis.
With either type of osteoarthritis, the wearing away of the knee cartilage tends to be most pronounced at either the medial (inner) or lateral (outer) side of the joint. The cartilage on the other side tends to remain relatively healthy.
An unloader knee brace will shift the point of contact of the knee bones from the side with damaged cartilage to the other side of the knee. By changing the main point of contact in this way, it slows the rate of progression of the disease. In addition, the bones will no longer be in direct contact with each other. The result is less knee pain and stiffness and an increase in joint range of motion.
When choosing an unloader knee brace to treat osteoarthritis, be sure to get your doctor to tell you the side of the knee that is affected by osteoarthritis. Many types of unloader brace have different model types depending on whether you need to shift the point of contact from the inner side of the knee to the outer, or vice versa. The BioSkin OA Spiral is an example of this type of knee brace
With the correct choice of unloader brace, you can slow the rate of progress of knee osteoarthritis to the point at which knee replacement by an orthopedic surgeon will be unnecessary.
Use A Hinged Knee Brace To Control Arthritis Pain Due To Mensicus Tears
Another way to answer the question “do knee braces work for arthritis” is to consider how hinged knee braces can help to treat knee meniscus tears. The knee has two menisci that are C shaped pieces or cartilage sitting between the shinbone (tibia) and thigh bone (femur). Just as with the knee’s collateral ligaments, the menisci can suffer damage as a result of activities that cause forceful knee rotation or twisting. Many contact sports, for example, require these types of movements and can result in knee meniscus tears.
Left untreated over prolonged periods. knee collateral damage can develop into osteoarthritis. The way to avoid this complication is to use a hinged knee brace that will stabilize the joint laterally and prevent lateral movement of the thigh and shin bones relative to each other. The hinge of the brace will provide this lateral stability and support and allow torn menisci to heal properly.
As a result, a hinged knee brace can play a critical role in preventing the development of knee arthritis as a complication of a torn meniscus. The BioSkin Gladiator (shown on the right) is an excellent example of a hinged knee brace that provides the extra support needed to achieve this objective.
Use A Knee Sleeve To Reduce Knee Stiffness & Pain Due To Arthritis
The third answer to the question “do knee braces work for arthritis” lies in a discussion of how knee sleeves work. People with arthritis often complain of pain and stiffness when attempting to move the joint.
However, particularly if they are made from neoprene, knee sleeves can help the body retain its natural warmth. As a result, wearing them over an arthritic knee will keep the joint warm. This in turn will reduce knee stiffness and facilitate joint movement when attempting physical activity.
The warmth generate by a knee sleeve brace can also help to improve blood flow to the arthritic knee. This too will help to ease knee pain and stiffness.
In Conclusion – Do Knee Braces Work For Arthritis?
In this article, we have explained three different choices of a knee brace for arthritis. We emphasize once again that a knee brace, even though correctly chosen, cannot be a panacea for treatment of knee osteoarthritis. In many cases, other therapies such as working with a physical therapist will also play a role in the successful management of knee arthritis.
Nevertheless, we hope that this article has provided substantive responses to the question “do knee braces work for arthritis”.