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Different Types of Braces for Knee Osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis can cause debilitating pain and reduce your mobility. Caused by everyday wear and tear of the joint, knee OA is commonly found in people aged 50 and older and results in decreased cartilage between the the knee joint, bone rubbing and eventually bone spurs. This type of ailment develops over a long period of time, and the pain coupled with the condition tends to worsen the longer it goes untreated.

When you’re dealing with knee pain as symptom of joint osteoarthritis, there are a lot of different treatment options you can go with to help manage your pain and maintain mobility. Some healthcare professionals recommend medication, some might recommend surgical procedures, and and others might recommend nonsurgical treatments like lifestyle modification and assistive devices.

Braces Can Help With Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis

The main cause of pain and discomfort from knee osteoarthritis is the loss of supportive cartilage between the knee joints. The bones rubbing together both reduces mobility and causes pain that ranges from light discomfort to severe.

A knee brace works to relieve osteoarthritis knee pain by taking the weight load off the affected joint and helping to maintain stability. In some cases, osteoarthritis can impact specific sides of your knee, and braces are a great way to stabilize a certain side, improve alignment and remove pressure from the affected joint.

Types of Braces for Knee Osteoarthritis

Sleeve or Cloth-based Braces

Every little bit helps. These types of knee braces are great for those who suffer from minor knee discomfort. They’re not necessarily only used in treatments for the early signs of knee OA - as you’ll commonly see these braces on athletes and others who have previous or current knee injuries.

Sleeves provide a minimal amount of knee joint support, prioritizing increased stability and flexibility instead in their designs. They’re typically easy to put on and remove, composed of breathable fabrics, and comfortable to wear.

Unloader Braces

An unloader brace specializes in taking weight and pressure away from a specific section of the knee that is suffering from osteoarthritis. These single-hinge braces allow the patient to prioritize support to a specific side of the knee. Composed of fabric with a lightweight plastic shell, you’ll have full range of motion in the knee from the joint and be able to utilize the hinges and straps to apply support to the necessary side of the knee.

Total Knee Support

Total knee support braces are the most common type of osteoarthritic knee brace and offer full support and stability to the knee. These types of braces come in a wide range of construction and feature a hinge on each side with a full support wrap above and below the knee. These braces greatly reduce the load on the knee and offer a wealth of support to the affected area. If your knee osteoarthritis is advanced or you suffer from high levels of pain, total knee support is the best bet to get relief with a knee brace.

Luckily, there are relatively few risks when using assistive knee braces as a support for osteoarthritis of the knee. Some side effects may be minor discomfort if your brace doesn’t fit properly or skin irritation. The upside is that knee braces have been shown to improve knee function and relieve pain in the long term for patients. In a recent study released by The Surgery Journal of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health, they compiled results of 14 recent studies where “almost all articles supported knee brace use and showed it to decrease pain, improve function, and improve the quality of life of patients. One study in 2017 followed patients for long term and found knee bracing to be more cost effective than total knee replacement, and could replace the need for surgery.

Not sure what brace might be right for you? Get in touch with Brace It Better today and get relief.