Knee Braces Ease Osteoarthritis Pain
Researchers Say OA Patients Report Relief From Pain and Stiffness After Wearing Knee Brace
WebMD News Archive
Benefits of a Brace continued...
But so far, so good. "The less knee misalignment the patient had, the less
disability they experienced, and they saw an improvement in pain, stiffness,
and function," said study researcher J. Richard Steadman, MD, founder of the
Steadman Phillipon Research Institute in Vail, Colo., at the media
Not everyone with knee OA is a candidate for bracing, he says. Braces may
not fit individuals who weigh too much or too little.
"Knee bracing is one of a number of things you can do for knee OA, including
loss and strengthening of the muscle in the thigh," he says. "It's a
noninvasive way to enhance performance in conjunction with a program to make
your lifestyle better," he says. "A brace can add some level of increased
activity and stability, but all other things are just as important."
Margot Putukian, MD, the director of athletic medicine and head team
physician at Princeton University, agrees. "Exercise, physical therapy, weight loss, and disease education are the most
important things we can do for our patients," she says. For every 1-pound loss,
there is a 4-pound decrease in knee load, she says.
"There is an issue with putting a brace on because people think that that
means 'I am old,'" Putukian says. "It's a barrier."
Robert A Stanton, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon in Fairfield, Conn., tries to
break down this barrier by telling his patients that it is basically the same
brace he uses for National Football League players who hurt their knee
ligaments. "This is not an old-age thing," he says. "You just can't say 'here
is a brace,' you have to explain it to them." Stanton usually recommends a
"We can stop this disease with medication, injections, weight loss, physical
activity, and bracing," he says. Injections of corticosteroids are another way
to reduce inflammation and pain in knees with OA.