A Knee Brace could help Ease your Osteoarthritis Pain?
Although there is no treatment for knee osteoarthritis (knee pain), a variety of techniques can be used to relieve the symptoms and help you stay active.
While exercise and physical therapy are the foundations of treatment, you also have options for pain medication and steroids injections. You can also use knee brace s or shoe inserts to support your feet.
Dawn Lorring, Physical Therapist, is a physical therapist who says that knee braces are helpful in managing pain. The brace that works best for your needs will depend on the severity and location of your pain.
Osteoarthritis results from the destruction of cartilage. This is the cushioning that protects joints and bones. This can lead to stiffness and discomfort.
Arthritis can develop in the knee joint at one of the three points that the bones are in direct contact with each other:
The kneecap is below the kneecap. The femur (thighbone) and the shin bone, tibia (shin bone) are located on the outside of the leg. Between the shin and thigh bones outside the leg. There are many types of braces for the knee. A sleeve brace is a good option for people who are experiencing mild stiffness or pain that restricts their ability to move. They provide compression which reduces swelling and heats the joint. These can help reduce stiffness.
This brace also provides additional support. Lorring states that a compression brace may be beneficial if your knee is wobbly or unsteady. You can find them with plastic stays, or hinges on either side. This provides more support. One that opens at the knee cap is best, she recommends.
While braces may not be covered by insurance for sleeves, they are very affordable, with prices ranging between $10-100.
Web brace An advanced brace includes a sleeve that has silicone webbing on the front. The webbing will tighten in specific areas as you straighten and bend your knee. This adds extra support for the knee.
The regular sleeve brace offers compression across the entire body. Lorring states, "The brace that has the webbing gives guidance as to how the knee cap moves."
For someone suffering from osteoarthritis below the kneecap, this type of brace may be most useful. The cost of a web brace is approximately $100
Brace called an unloader. An unloader brace is a device that helps with arthritic changes between the femur or tibia. It's especially useful if the knee is more affected than the other. They have two metal bands that go around your thigh, one around your calf and the other around the ankle. The hinged bars connect them. This allows for the adjustment of pressure to move (unload), from one end to the other.
Lorring explained that the brace could be altered to exert more pressure on your outside knee and unload the weight inside if it hurts.
If your symptoms of arthritis are the same on the outside and inside, these are not as beneficial.
While unloader braces may be costly ($500-$1000), insurance can cover them. A doctor's prescription is required along with documentation proving that the brace is necessary.
Inserts and shoes . You can have problems with your feet, like flat or high arches. You might feel more pressure on the knee joints. Wearing orthotics (also known as shoe inserts) or better shoes may provide some relief.
There is no one right way to choose shoes and inserts. Everyone's feet are different. Lorring suggests consulting with a foot specialist or a physical therapist who will be able to assess your feet and recommend the right shoe or insert for you. Running shoes are better for support, Lorring says.
Lorring states, "The purpose of orthotics is make sure that your foot moves in the right way so that your knee does not get more force." You can find a variety of heel wedges and shoe inserts in your local drugstore or online. These can either be custom-made or you may save money by purchasing semi-custom versions. As with shoes, inserts and wedges should be tailored to your requirements.
Lorring says that an insert can provide arch support without adding cushion. However, it can also be helpful if you are walking on your outside foot. You may require more arch support if you have a tendency to roll your feet inwards.
There are heel wedges available that can be sloped either in one or both directions. This is similar to an unloader brace. The pressure is transferred from one side to the other.
Lorring says, "Ultimately, it is up to you to figure out what works best for you."