Patients with osteoarthritis – which is often called simply “arthritis” because it is the most common form of joint inflammation – affecting one or both knees may have difficulty performing everyday tasks due to the pain and disability it causes. However, there are nonsurgical ways to stabilize the knee and provide comfort and relief to the joint, and one of those methods is to wear a knee brace.
Especially helpful when combined with taking pain medication and receiving physical therapy, knee braces can help you get back on track and do the things you enjoy doing. Let’s talk about how a knee brace can help you live your life despite osteoarthritis and why you should ask your orthopedic doctor about whether it might be a good solution for you.
How Does a Knee Brace Help with Arthritis?
In addition to offering support and stability for an arthritic knee, a knee brace also provides the following helpful benefits:
The damage caused by osteoarthritis will get worse if left untreated, hence making it more painful. A knee brace can help to disperse the pressure from the affected knee, thereby relieving your pain. For instance, patients with severe osteoarthritis can use an unloader brace (described below) to alleviate knee pain before having surgery.
Faster Post-Surgery Recovery
Osteoarthritis typically does not require surgical treatment – doctors usually recommend over-the-counter medicine, prescription medication, or physical therapy to reduce the pain. However, surgery may be necessary if the damage caused by arthritis has significantly affected your mobility and joint function.
After surgery, a knee brace enables faster healing by providing support and limiting your movement. Some knee braces prescribed by your orthopedic surgeon may be locked or unlocked to immobilize or bend the knee (respectively) during recovery.
Types of Knee Braces
Osteoarthritis affects people in various ways, which is why orthopedic clinics provide different types of knee braces depending on the severity of your arthritis. The three types of knee braces are sleeve braces, web braces, and unloader braces:
If you experience mild to moderate knee pain and stiffness, a sleeve brace may be ideal for you. A sleeve brace can help with your balance if your knee feels unsteady, and it can give you adequate support when you walk. This type of brace also provides compression, which can help relieve swelling that can be associated with arthritis.
A web brace is a more advanced type of knee brace – it is made of silicone, usually shaped like a spider web at the front. When you bend or straighten your knee, the silicone webbing will tighten on specific areas in order to provide support and guide the movement of your kneecap.
An unloader brace is custom-made for each patient using foam, plastic, and steel, creating a frame that shifts and “unloads” the pressure from the inside to the outside of the knee. Patients generally need up to a month to adjust and feel comfortable while wearing an unloader brace.
This type is the most effective for arthritis, but it tends to be more expensive than the other types of braces.
Knee Orthopedics in Plantation, FL
If you are experiencing significant stiffness and pain due to knee osteoarthritis, a knee brace can greatly help to support your movement. Your orthopedic doctor will diagnose your specific condition and help you find a suitable knee brace for your needs.
Our medical team at Baylis & Brown Orthopedics specializes in diagnosing and treating patients with conditions and disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system. Our providers can also treat work-related and sports-related injuries and perform orthopedic surgery.
If you have any questions or would like to book an appointment with us, call our friendly staff today at (954) 476-8800 or request an appointment now via our online form. We look forward to serving you!