Knee pain is a common symptom of osteoarthritis. A brace is an assistive device that may help by redistributing your weight away from the damaged area of the joint. You may find that you can move more comfortably and stay on your feet for extended periods when wearing one.
Known as wear-and-tear arthritis, osteoarthritis affects the entire joint. It develops when the protective cartilage which cushions the bones wears away, resulting in stiff, tender, painful joints. You may also experience swelling and a grating sensation in the affected joints. Although it can develop in any joints, the knees, as well as the spine, hips, and hands, are common sites.
Many people with osteoarthritis find that the condition affects one side of their body more than the other. This imbalance can cause alignment issues in the knees, which may worsen over time. To control the issue, a brace may be used to reduce the pressure on the joint. If your knee feels weak, as if it could give out, the brace may also provide support and allow you to feel more confident while you’re walking.
Fortunately, the risks of wearing a knee brace are minimal. Skin irritation and mild discomfort may occur if the brace isn’t fitted properly or slips out of place. Some people also experience stiffness in the joint if they favor the other knee and restrict movement on the sore side.
Wearing a Knee Brace for Osteoarthritis
While knee braces can be purchased in many stores, it may be best to see your doctor first. Your health care provider can recommend the best type, whether it’s an unloader brace that shifts the weight to another portion of the knee, or an adjustable model that allows you to change the pressure applied to your knee as needed.
Your doctor may also refer you to an orthotist, or a specialist who designs and fits braces for people with orthopedic issues. Orthotists can recommend off-the-shelf models or custom-made styles, depending on your needs. Because the latter can be costly, be sure to check with your health insurance company to see if it could be covered under your policy. If you do need a custom brace, it may also take several weeks to be made.
During your appointment with a specialist, you can expect to discuss your history of knee pain. You’ll also receive a brief examination and be asked questions about your daily activities and what you’d like to be able to do with the help of the brace. The specialist will take measurements, explain brace options, have you walk a few steps, and ask you to try a couple of styles on to see which you like best.
Once your brace is ready, the orthotist will guide you in putting it on and adjusting it. They may also offer recommendations for wearing it, or tell you to do what feels best. For instance, some people wear their brace for most of the day, while others only feel they need it during certain activities.
In addition to using a brace, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly—especially doing moves that increase strength in the thighs—may also provide relief for osteoarthritis in the knees. Many seek alternative options such as regenerative medicine, also known as stem cell therapy for osteoarthritis, in helping in reducing inflammation and potentially regeneration of damaged joint tissues. Peptides may also serve as an alternative option to increase cells in healing and reduce pain and inflammation.
This post was written by a medical professional at Stemedix Inc. At Stemedix we provide access to Regenerative Medicine for knees, also known as stem cell treatment for knees florida! Regenerative medicine has the natural potential to help improve symptoms sometimes lost from the progression of many conditions.