Do Knee Braces Really Work for Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis in which the bones of the knee become weak and degenerate over time. This disease is very common and affects people over the age of 50. People who have had knee problems in the past are more likely to develop osteoarthritis later on in life. Knee braces can help to alleviate some of the pain associated with osteoarthritis, as well as, strengthen the bones of the knee.
Types of Knee Braces Help With Osteoarthritis
There are many different types of these devices. Some of them are used to treat mild to moderate knee pain. However, more severe cases of osteoarthritis can lead to an infected cartilage. If this happens, surgery may be required to remove the infected portion of the joint.
A common type of device for osteoarthritis knee braces is the donjoy knee braces hinged design. These braces are used for both relieve pain and to strengthen the ligaments surrounding the joint. The design of these hinged knee braces can vary, but they all accomplish the same end result. They help to relieve the tension on the joint and on surrounding tissues. They also help to increase flexibility.
Most of these devices are custom made. Some are made to fit your exact size and shape. They are designed to make sure that they do not compromise the natural movement of your knee. They help to take away some of the pressure from the knee as it functions, and this in turn can make your knee feel less stiff and therefore less painful.
These braces are made from a plastic mold. The mold is then shaped into a brace. The braces have a thin metal frame, which goes around your entire knee. This metal is flexible but strong enough to keep the braces secure. The thickness of the material will vary according to the severity of your knee joint problem.
How do Knee Braces Help Osteoarthritis?
Each of the individual bones in your knee has a little facet on it. The facet is made up of cartilage. Cartilage is similar to the gel, you might use to rub your hair. This is what connects your bones to each other. Chondroitin is also a substance which helps to rebuild cartilage. When you have osteoarthritis, this substance is usually not sufficient in your body.
As the bones become weak, the cartilage is also weakened. The result is a reduction in flexibility, and a resultant increase in pain. The more pain you have in your knee the greater the risk you have of having a serious injury. Hinged braces can help to rectify this by increasing your flexibility.
These types of knee braces are normally used only during the early stages of arthritis. They do not have any effect at all on the course of osteoarthritis. Once the osteoarthritis pain has become chronic, then a doctor might recommend them for use on a long term basis. There is no evidence that wearing such a knee brace helps to reduce the severity of osteoarthritis pain. In fact, some patients even report an increase in pain after they have started wearing the braces.
A third option available to you is to wear knee braces that do not have any external support. These are called non-habit supporting braces and they are particularly useful if you are overweight. They help to keep your weight down so that you do not over-stretch the muscles. Unfortunately, the results of using these types of braces are not permanent and as the weight increases so does the frequency of your wearing them. This can mean that you will have to wear them for longer periods of time.
Why Should You Wear a Knee Brace for Osteoarthritis
Wearing braces is often recommended as a means of helping to ease the pain of osteoarthritis. However, there is no evidence at all that they are helpful. It is entirely possible that wearing braces may make the condition worse. So it is essential that you get your doctor to look at the possible benefits and risks of the brace before you start wearing one.
Knee braces are generally not a very good idea for children. Studies have shown that they actually increase the likelihood of osteoarthritis being diagnosed in a child. This is because they force the knee into an angle that is not ideal for the joint. Also, wearing the braces for an extended period of time can cause the alignment of the bones to change. This can lead to deformities or even impingement of one or both of the main blood vessels supplying the knee.
Key Takeaways for Knee Braces and Osteoarthritis
Although wearing a knee brace can help relieve your pain, you should be sure that you really need one. You need to remember that osteoarthritis is not inevitable. The condition itself can sometimes be triggered by simple activities such as sitting down for long periods of time, which can be easily remedied using cushions and orthotic insoles. In addition, your doctor can easily determine if you really need to wear a knee brace. If you do, then you can plan ahead for when your pain strikes less often, thereby reducing the chances of it coming to be too severe for you to handle.