One of the most common reasons for a total knee replacement is degeneration from Osteoarthritis. Most doctors advise patients to wait as long as possible for a joint replacement, so buying time can be a very important issue. One of the healthiest ways to do this is with a good knee brace. While most knee braces and compression sleeves will provide some amount of support, it’s important to choose the correct style to get the most benefit, particularly when facing surgery. The best type of brace to help with pain and possibly put off surgery is called an ‘unloader’ or offloading knee brace. These braces have hinges on each side and are adjustable in not only size, but also the amount and type of support they offer.
When knee joints are ‘bone on bone’ from osteoarthritis, it’s usually only one side of the joint that’s degenerative. This causes either a ‘valgus’ (knock-kneed) or ‘varus’ (bow-legged) deformity. Hinged knee braces are particularly effective for helping this because they can be adjusted to ‘unload’ or offload the pressure on the side of deterioration to the healthier side of the joint, effectively opening up the thin part of the joint. In most cases, this provides much pain relief.
When worn consistently in the upright position, offloading pressure from the thin side of the joint can also help slow and even halt further degeneration temporarily. For patients trying to put off having a joint replacement surgery, hinged knee braces can be a great natural way of doing so. Besides damage to the inside of the joint, osteoarthritis also deteriorates the outside supportive ligaments of the knee and hinged unloader braces also act as good stabilizers for much needed support.
At Solutions, unloader knee braces are the only type we recommend and see terrific results with both pain relief and support. Offloading hinged knee braces are an important part of the regenerative medicine programs we offer. The braces keep thin joint spaces open so regenerative medicine products have more room to work while also providing the best stabilization during healing. For qualified patients, these types of braces are also covered by Medicare and other major medical health insurance. Contact us to see if you qualify for coverage or if an unloader knee brace can help you.