Bracing relieves pain and improves function in knee osteoarthritis

Knee pain and functional disability in patients with medial compartment osteoarthritis (OA) are significantly reduced when the knee is braced. Muscle cocontraction and knee adduction excursions also are reduced.

Knee pain and functional disability in patients with medial compartment osteoarthritis (OA) are significantly reduced when the knee is braced. Muscle cocontraction and knee adduction excursions also are reduced.

Ramsey and colleagues recruited 16 patients with knee OA and fitted them with a custom unloader brace.The subjects underwent 3-dimensional gait analysis in 3 periods: with the brace in neutral alignment, without the brace, and with the brace in 4° of valgus alignment.

Knee instability affecting activities of daily living (ADLs) was reported by 5, 1, 8, and 6 patients at baseline, after wearing the brace in neutral alignment for 2 weeks, during the washout period, and with the brace in valgus, respectively. Scores for pain, symptoms, and ADLs were significantly lower during the baseline and washout periods.

The authors noted that without the need to induce the valgus correction, more patients with varied body morphologies could be managed with braces.

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