If you or someone you know is living with osteoarthritis, then you know just how disruptive it can be to your daily life. Arthritis can cause a great deal of pain and stiffnessi, making even some of the most basic, daily tasks like cooking dinner while standing for an extended period of time rather difficult. For those that have osteoarthritis—a form of arthritis that can or may affect the knee jointsii—a knee brace may be recommended to wear by your doctor, as it can help alleviate pain.iii If you put weight on your knee and it starts to buckle, then a knee brace could help support your leg so that you can move around more comfortably.iv If you’ve been considering using a knee brace for extra support, then we’ve got you covered. We’ll explore more about what osteoarthritis is and how it impacts the knee, as well as the various types of knee braces for osteoarthritis that can help you go about your day with less pain.
More About Osteoarthritis
Before we delve into the types of knee braces for arthritis pain, it may be useful to have a better understanding of what osteoarthritis is, and how it can impact your body. Osteoarthritis is one of the most common forms of arthritis in the knee and typically occurs in people 50 years of age or older, though younger people can be impacted by it as well.v For people suffering from osteoarthritis, the cartilage in their knee joint has gradually worn away, resulting in bone rubbing on bone, which can produce joint pain.vi Generally, the pain one experiences with osteoarthritis can develop over time, though sudden onset is possible.vii Other common symptoms include difficulty bending or straightening the knee, knee creaking, snapping, or making other noises during movement, or the swelling and stiffening of joints in the knee.viii If you’ve been experiencing any of these symptoms for a period of time, then it may be worth consulting your doctor about possible forms of treatment.
Types of Knee Braces for Osteoarthritis
One of the forms of treatment your doctor may recommend is a knee brace. Your doctor may recommend that you visit an orthotist, which is a health professional that makes and fits braces to help people who have orthopedic problems.ix Here are the different types of knee braces for osteoarthritis that your orthotist might fit you for:
- Sleeve brace – This type of knee brace provides compression, which can help reduce swelling in the knee and warm the joint.x If your knee feels unsteady or a bit wobbly, a sleeve brace may be the best option for you, especially since some sleeve braces have plastic stays or a hinge on the side for extra support.xi
- Web brace – A web brace is considered to be a more advanced brace, as it has silicone webbing over the front of the sleeve that tightens in certain areas when you move your leg.xii This brace does provide compression to the knee, but the webbing really provides guidance for how the kneecap moves. The web brace can be helpful for those that have osteoarthritis below their kneecap.xiii
- Unloader brace – For those that experience osteoarthritis on only one side of their knee joint, this knee brace may be a good option. This kind of knee brace is designed to transfer pressure within the knee, helping to “unload” one side of the joint to the other.xiv Simply put, the unloader brace shifts the stress from the affected side of the joint to the healthier side of the joint.xv
Before you go out and buy a knee brace for osteoarthritis, it’s important that you consult with your doctor. If you’re experiencing any type of knee pain, you should take action to understand what’s going on and seek help if necessary. For additional resources on arthritis, check out our articles on how to manage arthritis in social settings, managing arthritis with your family, and more.
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