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Do I need a knee brace?

Do I need a knee brace?

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The knee is one of the most commonly injured sites of the body. Did you know osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common cause of knee pain for those over the age of 50?

Knee OA is not reversible; however is doesn’t have to be indicative of long term knee pain or dysfunction. There is good evidence that shows targeted strengthening and weight loss will decrease pain and improve function for an arthritic knee. Check out Sarah’s blog from last week for more details about this.

We now know that strengthening exercises targeting the quads, hamstrings and glutes will increase support and improve control of the knee and therefore reduce pain during walking, standing and stairs. Also, a 10% reduction of body weight will reduce 50% of symptoms caused by OA!

Weight loss and targeted exercises are considered the best treatment options for arthritic knees, however it can often take at least 4-6 weeks before you start seeing and feeling results. Taping and knee braces in the interim are a great way to manage your symptoms and keep you on your feet while waiting for your exercise and weight loss benefits to kick in.

Here are the taping and bracing options that we find most helpful at BJC Health for OA knees:

Dynamic taping:                                                      Taping around the knee as shown below helps give the patellofemoral joint support. Also, some research has shown that dynamic tape helps with improving muscle activation during exercise. Therefore, it may help you gain strength faster. Our physio team finds that this style of taping is most helpful for anterior knee pain and mild to moderate OA.

Donjoy Reaction Web brace:
This brace is a step up from those that are commonly sold at chemists. The webbing gives good patellofemoral support and stops the brace from sliding when walking and standing. I have found that those with mild to moderate OA, find this brace helpful in reducing their pain while they are in weight bearing. This allows them to exercise more so they can drop their weight and build up their leg muscles.

Donjoy OA Reaction Web brace:
This is the gold standard of knee braces currently available. It features the webbing of the Reaction brace for patella support but it is also fitted with struts that are designed to offload the compartment of the knee that has been affected by arthritis. This will decrease pain and improve joint movement for those with moderate to even severe knee OA.

Knee pain caused by osteoarthrtis is becoming more and more common. The good news is research continues to show that long term symptom relief is possible by strengthening muscles of the leg and weight loss. Knee braces or taping are a great way to give you short term pain relief to allow you to move better and more often so you can get the long term benefits of exercise.

Do you have knee OA? Have you tried a brace or taping your knee to help with your symptoms?

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