Knee Osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of disability around the world. OA of the knee is commonly known as a wear and tear arthritis and usually affects one side of the knee more than the other. This wear and tear can result in changes to the knee alignment, resulting in a knock knee or bow leg appearance at the knees.
Medial OA knee pain refers to pain on the inside of the knee joint and is usually associated with a bow leg (Genu Varus) alignment. Lateral OA knee pain refers to pain on the outside of the knee and is usually associated with a knock knee (Genu Valgus) alignment.
Symptoms can include:
- Pain or discomfort in the knee, this can usually be in one side of the knee or general knee pain. Pain usually worsens with increased activity.
- Swelling around the knee joint. This can be generalised across the knee or in an isolated area of pain.
- Increased stiffness in the knee, particularly after periods of rest.
- Decreased mobility, making certain activities more difficult such as; getting up from a seated position or out of a car.
There are a range of orthotic interventions for OA knee pain. Knee bracing is a common intervention for OA of the knee and is a conservative non-invasive management of the painful symptoms often associated with knee OA. These types of braces are usually known as unloader of off-loading knee braces and are designed to improve the alignment of the knee and reduce pressures in affected side. There are a range of orthotic interventions available for the treatment of OA knee pain.
For patients with mild medial OA of the knee an insole can be used to improve overall lower limb alignment. With medial knee OA a laterally (outside of foot) wedged insole can help to reduce the pressure created at the inside knee joint during gait. These insoles can also be manufactured to aid with other OA linked foot and ankle pains. This is a low profile and easy to wear option for patients with mild symptoms.
Sleeve Knee Supports:
These supports are used for mild knee OA and can provide pain relief during increase activity, and are usually constructed of elastic or neoprene. They are designed to offer a circumfencial pressure to provide generalised compression and support around the painful knee joint. They are lightweight, cheap and easy to fit. However, they provide no additional side-to-side stability and are unable to provide any alignment adjustments when the knee pain is due to wear and tear on the inside or outside aspect of the knee.
Click here for our Genusoft sleeve knee support
Click here for our GenuTrain A3 knee support
Hinged Fabric Knee Supports:
For mild to moderate OA knee pain, knee braces with additional side-to –side hinges can be used. These braces are also usually constructed of elastic or neoprene and offer increased stability from addition of flexible or rigid struts which are built into either side of the knee brace. Hinged fabric knee supports are ideal for patients struggling with generalised OA knee pain where an element of instability of the joint is felt. They are simple to fit, light weight and flexible for everyday use. However, these braces do not provide and alteration to knee alignment for those patients where knee pain is more isolated to the inside or outside of the knee and would provide insufficient alignment support for patients with more severe OA knee pain.
Click here for our Reddie brace knee support
Click here for our Selection minor knee support wrap
Fabric Offloading Knee Braces:
For moderate OA knee symptoms the most common knee braces are called unloader or offloading knee braces. These are hinged braces of fabric and elastic construction which offer the ability to adjust the alignment of the knee brace to offload the painful affected side of the knee. Most commonly for medial knee pain this involves applying pressure to the outside of the knee joint to push across and relive pressure at the affected joint. These braces are specifically designed for use in patients with OA of the knee and provide a comfortable compressive support and alignment improvements in gait for pain relief.
Click here for our Action Reliever
Click here for our Agilium softfit knee brace
Rigid Offloading Knee Braces:
These braces offer increased support from a rigid frame for moderate to severe OA of the Knee. The three point pressure design of the brace and the rigidity provides effective support and pressure relief of the affected joint space. They are designed to reduce further wear and tear of the affected joint space and facilitate continued activity and mobility.
Three point force design to apply pressure to the outside of the knee and reduce pressure and pain at the inside (medial) aspect of the knee.
Click here for our Agilium Reactive osteoarthritis knee brace
If you would like any further information on our any of our braces then you can contact us by calling us to speak with one of our clinicians on 07751 370949, visit our website at www.totalbodyorthotics.com or visit us at our clinic based in The Arcade, High Street, Eccleshall. Our experienced clinicians are able to offer a full lower limb biomechanical assessment and provide treatment advice on the best OA knee brace to suit your individual needs.