Osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition that causes cartilage within the joints to break down which can result in pain during movement of the joint and inflammation. Even though OA does not currently have a cure, there are a combination of effective strategies available to improve its symptoms
One non-surgical option is to use an osteoarthritis knee brace, which is a common tool for treating discomfort and helping a patient remain active.
Is There More Than One Kind of OA Knee Brace?
The short answer is yes. Braces can be made using different materials including metal, plastic and soft, synthetic rubber and foam.
But there are different types of braces which can be used to treat all manner of osteoarthritis and knee pain. Let’s take a look at some and how they work.
These are an excellent option for treating relatively mild pain. Not only do these braces restrict movement, they can reduce swelling and relieve stiffness.
Some sleeve braces are designed with a plastic hinge to provide more support.
Named for the silicone webbing on the front of the brace, web braces restrict movement to alleviate pain and discomfort.
The webbing is designed to tighten each time the knee is bent or straightened to provide support. The brace also provides a compression and is particularly helpful for those patients who present with OA beneath the knee cap (Patellofemoral Arthritis).
Unloader (Offloader) Braces
This type of knee brace is used to unload pressure from one side of the knee joint to the other side when treating unicompartmental knee osteoarthritis. Moving pressure from the joint side afflicted by the osteoarthritis to the healthy side helps provide stability and support.
An unloader brace applies pressure to the thigh bone which limits side movement of the joint. This forces the joint to ben more on the healthy side of the joint, reducing pain and further damage.
These braces require a doctor's prescription and are generally eligible for insurance coverage.
These braces are excellent for preventing injury during sports activities. If you play sports like basketball, football or soccer, wearing these can help you avoid being added to the injured reserve list.
These are typically used by patients who already have an injured their knee. Functional knee braces are designed to stabilize the knee during rotation and movement towards the front and back.
Patients who need support following ACL injury, ACL tear or require additional support after ACL surgery may also benefit from a functional knee brace.
Rehabilitative braces are commonly worn post surgery or after an injury to promote rehabilitation and healing. A common type of knee brace is an immobilizer knee brace. This type of brace keeps the knee straight and will fully or partially restrict the knee's range of motion.
A rehabilitative brace restricts movement to protect injured ligaments during recovery.
This type of brace is typically worn for a limited duration after surgery as directed by a health professional to protect the MCL, ACL, PCL, LCL or associated injuries.
Choosing a Knee Brace
Knee injuries come in all levels of intensity and complexity, but there are some general guidelines to follow when choosing a knee brace that works for you.
What is Your Level of Pain?
Like other conditions, knee pain is medically classified as either chronic or acute.
Acute pain generally begins suddenly and often has a sharp quality to it. Chronic pain typically lasts for six months or more and can continue even after an injury has been treated.
Your doctor can provide a diagnosis which can then be used to determine the best knee brace option for you.
What are Your Circumstances?
Your overall activity level and circumstances will determine the type of knee brace you’ll need.
Patients who are active in sports, for example, have different requirements than a patient that is recovering from surgery.
If you’re a soccer player and you want to prevent injury, a prophylactic knee brace is probably your best bet.
If you’ve just had surgery and your doctor wants to limit mobility during recovery, you will likely use a rehabilitative brace.
Patients with arthritic knees may benefit from using an unloader brace, while others may need the support and compression a knee sleeve provides.
Consult With an Expert
Osteoarthritis knee braces offer a number of advantages including enhanced stability, pain mitigation, reduced swelling and pressure, and increased confidence as a patient engages in daily activities.
At Elite Medical Supply, our knowledgeable, experienced, and compassionate experts can walk you through options for treating osteoarthritis, and will provide you with the highest-quality knee brace available on the market today.
We specialize in working with Medicare beneficiaries and our team will take care of the paperwork for you! We’d love to talk with you today!
If you are a Medicare beneficiary in search of the knee, back, or extremity braces, Elite Medical Supply has got you covered. Our staff will work closely with you to provide the right brace or pain management solution. We'll even do all the paperwork for you. Contact us with a prescription to see if you qualify to help us get your order going or if you just have questions.