When you walk, if you have medial knee osteoarthritis, the instability in the knee can be obvious to someone who is watching you walk, as the knee actually wobbles towards the inside.
Experts examined three studies to see whether a brace (specifically for medical compartment knee osteoarthritis) improved knee pain, stiffness, self-reported functional capacity, and physical performance (for example, the number of stairs climbed in 30 seconds).
It also means that your preference as a patient will be strongly considered when your doctor decides whether or not to suggest an unloader knee brace for your care.
Like any intervention or strategy for managing a chronic condition, you and your doctor will consider the scientific evidence or the studies to support its use.
Let's learn more about how an unloader knee brace works and explore the scientific evidence surrounding its use.
Lastly, in addition to managing osteoarthritis, studies show that unloader knee braces can delay a person's need for knee replacement surgery and improve knee pain and stability associated with knee osteoarthritis after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR).
Most often, unloader knee braces are prescribed for those with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis, which is arthritis that affects the inner portion of the knee.
The unloader knee brace is a custom-designed brace made of molded plastic, foam, and steel struts to limit side movement. It's designed to put three points of pressure on the thigh bone which forces the knee to bend away from the painful aspect of the knee.
After analyzing the studies, experts from the AAOS deemed their recommendation for a medical compartment unloading knee brace to be inconclusive—in other words, the jury is still out on its true benefit.