How to Help Your Doctor Determine if You Need a Knee Brace
Knee pain can be debilitating. You may require a knee brace to reduce knee pain and return you to functioning in your daily life. Before buying an over-the-counter brace, consider consulting with your doctor to determine if there is a better knee brace option for you.
Did you know that Medicare may cover the knee brace prescribed by your doctor? To qualify for a knee brace covered by Medicare, it must be deemed as “reasonable and necessary” for the treatment of your knee condition, or documented that it will improve the functioning of your knee.
Should you need a knee brace, you will need to effectively communicate your knee pain and symptoms in detail to your doctor. Here we share some tips to help you better describe your knee pain, as well as other symptoms that you may be experiencing. For general tips on communicating with your doctor, check out our previous post here.
Tips for Describing Your Knee Pain
If you have knee pain, tell your doctor where it is located. Is it on the inside or outside of your knee? Does it radiate down to your leg or foot? Do you have pain during bending or straightening of your knee? Let the doctor know where in the movement you feel pain. How would you describe the pain - does it burn, tingle, ache, or feel sharp? Is the pain a result of injury? How long have you had the pain? Does the pain in your knee prevent you from activities you love, like gardening or playing with your grandkids?
These are all things you should consider describing to your doctor in regards to your knee pain.
Tips for Describing Lack of Motion in Your Knee
A healthy range of motion includes being able to fully straighten your knee and bend your knee to where your foot almost touches your bottom. Are you able to fully straighten or bend your knee? How does your involved knee compare to your uninvolved knee? Do you feel a sensation of stiffness when you attempt to straighten or bend your knee?
If you are experiencing a lack of range of motion in your knee, you need to not only tell your doctor about it but also show them. It is also important to tell your doctor if that lack of motion is due to a previous injury, surgery, casting, or other immobilization.
Tips for Describing Your Knee Joint Instability
The knee joint is where your thigh and shin bones connect. Knee joint instability refers to the feeling of your knee joint being loose or slipping in and out of place. It can be a very uncomfortable or scary sensation. It can occur after injury or secondary to a neurological condition. It can also occur due to general weakening over time.
Let your doctor know if you are experiencing knee joint instability and ask them to test your knee for instability. If the clinical tests show positive for instability, a knee brace may be indicated to help stabilize your joint.
Tips for Describing Your Knee Function
A properly functioning knee is one that has strong thigh and leg muscles, a healthy joint (for example, no arthritis), and is able to support work and activities of daily living.
Describe in detail to your doctor if you do not have a properly functioning knee. Do the muscles around your knee feel weak? Does it feel like your knee is not supporting you while standing? Do you feel that you are at risk for falling? If you are not able to normally walk, get up and demonstrate your limitations to your doctor. Let your doctor know if your knee is preventing you from fulfilling your work duties, your daily activities, or the activities you love.
For additional information on Medicare coverage for knee orthoses, visit the CMS website here.
Medicare Beneficiary Eligibility Lookup
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