The "Un" Treatment for Knee OsteoarthritisWhen knee osteoarthritis (OA) hits and antiinflammatories don't cut the pain, what can you do? There are a variety of treatment options including using a cane, a shoe wedge, exercise, and surgery. Another strategy is to use a special type of brace, one that is getting a closer look these days in the treatment of knee OA.
Knee OA most often affects the inside section (closest to the other knee) of the joint. This is called the medial compartment. During normal walking, forces from the ground below and body weight above tend to shift to this area of the knee.
When the medial compartment of the knee is worn down from OA, daily loading in this part of the joint takes an even greater toll. All this results in a harmful cycle. Loading builds pressure on the knee, which shifts more weight to the inside of the joint; this leads to even more joint destruction, followed by more loading on the knee.
A special "unloading" brace helps take pressure off the inside part of the knee joint. And it shares the load placed on the medial compartment. This type of brace works best when it is placed at an eight-degree angle. This angle is used to correct the varus, or "bow-legged" position of the knee by lining up the joint. This can reduce knee pain from osteoarthritis, while improving knee health and function for the years ahead.
Fabian E. Pollo, PhD, et al. Reduction of Medial Compartment Loads With Valgus Bracing of the Osteoarthritic Knee. In The American Journal of Sports Medicine. May/June. Vol. 30. No. 3. Pp. 414-421.
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