The Best Knee Brace For Osteoarthritis
All it takes is one step to cause your knee to throb. The excruciating pain that follows is unbearable. Your right knee hurts, but your left knee seems fine. You notice that your balance is off when you walk, but when you sit down the pain subsides. This is osteoarthritis, and it can be quite painful unless you have the right knee brace.
What is osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis occurs when there is too much wear-and-tear to the joints found in the knees. It usually occurs in older people and athletes and can affect one knee more than the other. If left untreated, osteoarthritis will get worse and cause your equilibrium to suffer, making you appear bowlegged or knock-kneed. Wearing a knee brace can relieve the pressure from the joint that is most affected and help alleviate the pain.
What are knee braces?
Knee braces are designed to offer support in a flexible way that takes the weight off your kneecaps and evenly distributes it as you walk or run. Generally, knee braces are made with plastic, metal or other composite materials to give them a strong structure and malleable foam or synthetic rubber for positioning and padding. The combination of rigid and pliable materials allows your skin to breathe while your knees are supported.
How do knee braces help with osteoarthritis?
Knee braces provide ample help for those who are suffering from osteoarthritis. When you wear a knee brace you’ll be able to move without pain because your knees will be supported. Your confidence will be restored as you walk and run the way you used to before you were diagnosed with osteoarthritis. You’ll be able to get more exercise, which is beneficial to your overall well-being. Furthermore, knee braces help by keeping the kneecap and bone in place, and you may not have to take as many painkillers and anti-inflammatories to deal with the discomfort and inflammation associated with osteoarthritis.
What is the best knee brace for people who suffer from osteoarthritis?
There are three styles of braces that can be worn by people who suffer from osteoarthritis: basic, compression and unloader. Each provides a different level of support.
- Basic knee braces/sleeves: Basic braces or sleeves are designed for those who only suffer from mild knee pain that worsens with activity and movement. Most people wear this type of knee brace while they are exercising or moving for long periods of time. They are made to reduce pain and swelling while still offering support to your joints. You can purchase basic knee sleeves at the drugstore, but always check with your doctor or physiotherapist before buying any. They can recommend a brand that they trust or refer you to a specialist to have one custom made for you. Basic knee braces can be fit over the patella (kneecap) in an open or closed manner to hold up the knee structure.
- Compression sleeves/advanced braces: Like with a knee sleeve, advanced braces provide support for people with moderate osteoarthritis pain. Compression sleeves are generally worn during a workout to keep the joints warm and hold the knee in its proper place. This type of knee brace can be bought at the drugstore, but again, you should consult your doctor and physiotherapist before purchasing one. Compression/advanced braces come with large straps that need to be snugly fastened in order to ensure a good fit. As with basic braces, these can be worn over the patella.
- Unloader braces: For those who suffer from severe osteoarthritis, this type of knee brace is recommended. Unloader braces provide advanced support by reducing the weight on the knees by slightly angling the knee joint. These braces contain special hinges that allow the weight to be redistributed to the strongest parts of the joints. Unloader braces work on all types of osteoarthritis since they are able to provide knee support while taking the bulk of your body weight off the weakest part of the joints and redistributing it to where the joints can handle it.
Should you get custom knee braces?
You can buy over-the-counter knee braces at the drugstore; however, those are not as effective as their customized counterpart. Custom knee braces, whether they are unloader, compression or basic, will offer the best support for your knees. When the braces are fitted to your knees’ exact specifications, you can rest assured knowing that they are designed for you and not in a one-size-fits-all manner. Customized knee braces work to support your knees so that the pain from osteoarthritis disappears (or is at least minimized for severe cases). When you are able to walk without pain you can avoid gait issues and work towards better health. For many people, wearing a custom knee brace allows them to exercise and continue doing the activities they love.
Please contact us for more information regarding custom knee braces for osteoarthritis. Helping you walk without pain is important to us.