When it comes to knee pain, it is hard to know what will help and what is just going to end up being just another device sitting at the back of your sock drawer.
If you are experiencing knee pain, it is natural to assume that a knee brace will simply make your pain disappear. However, it isn't as easy as hobbling down to your local pharmacy or Walmart and picking the first one on the rack.
Each knee brace is different. Each brace has a specific purpose.
In this article we, the team at The Best Knee Braces, are going to explore the question "How Does Unloader Knee Brace Work?".
An unloading knee brace is a support aid that has a specific design to treat knee instability and the ability to shift the pressure placed on the knee.
It effective "unloads" the stress from the knee - hence the name. It moves pressure from a weakened area, to the stronger unaffected, healthier areas of the knee that are able to cope with additional stress.
Unloader knee braces are generally made from sturdy material such as hardened plastics and solid stabilizers alongside the knee joint. Which makes sense, for a knee brace to achieve stability and transference of weight in the joint, requires a stable integral structure. They generally also include foam barriers between the skin and hard surfaces for comfort and convenience.
How Do Unloading Knee Braces Work?
We will try to keep things high level here and not get too complicated (for a full overview on the mechanics of the unloading knee braces check out the video below). However, in simple terms the unloading knee brace works by using three points of pressure on the upper thigh bone as a leverage point to influence the way the knee places stress in and around the joint.
The way in which the knee joint moves can be manipulated by adjusting the unloading hinge. We recommend seeking the advice of a professional to make this adjustment as using a brace incorrectly could lead to further damage within the knee.
Here is a quick explanation of the mechanics of an Unloading Knee Brace by Catalyst University.
When Should You Use an Unloader Knee Brace?
Unloading knee braces are extremely useful for a variety of circumstances. Let's take a look at the most useful applications of a unloading knee brace.
People with Osteoarthritis
Unloader braces are most commonly prescribed to patients that have been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis (OA). More specifically, patients suffering from medial compartment knee OA. People who experience medial compartment knee osteoarthritis find their knees weakened and have the tendency to fall inwards as they apply pressure. To help prevent this, an unloader knee brace will help to stabilize the joint and unload the weight to the outer side of the knee.
We think it is important to highlight that unloading knee braces are NOT a way to reverse OA. It is simply a device that helps relieve the pain and symptoms of OA.
Injury or Surgery Rehabilitation
Another common application of Unloader Knee Braces is for recovery periods after an injury was sustained or after surgery.
More often than not, parts of the knee will be weakened and requires time to heal. To facilitate the recovery process, an unloading knee brace can relieve these areas from taking on any stress.
What are the benefits of Unloading Knee Braces?
By now you should be getting a good picture of the purpose and how unloader knee braces work. However, we think it is important to highlight the benefits that you can receive from wearing one of these devices.
Preventative Measures - a message we always try to instill to our readers at The Best Knee Braces, unloading knee braces have started to be worn as preventative measures. This is due to their design to relieve pressure on the knee and allow it to move more freely, which can prevent pain and injury from occurring in the first place. At the same time, these braces can also support the knee and relieve pain and stiffness when an injury has already occurred.
Increased Confidence - using a brace not only reduces knee pain, it can also instill more confidence in your day-to-day activities. This is especially so for people who suffer from OA. As arthritis begins to set in, you unconsciously stop doing certain activities that cause grief and pain. By wearing an unloading knee brace, you will find your confidence begin to regrow and your mobility and daily activities increase.
Final Thoughts on How Does Unloader Knee Brace Work
We hope by now you should be able to answer the question "How does unloader knee brace work?".
When used correctly, unloading knee braces can be an extremely useful support aid that can relieve pain and facilitate the recovery of any injured areas of the knee.
Given they are usually prescribed to patients in need, we always recommend you seek advice from a local medical professional. Not only will they be able to complete a full analysis of your knee, they will also assist in adjusting the brace so you can receive the full benefits of the Unloader brace.