HOW TO CHOOSE the BEST BRACE FOR ARTHRITIS and KNEE PAIN
Getting a brace for your knee pain can be a confusing task. But let me ask you this first… Isn’t it annoying when our body gets a little older and we have to “brace” for the day to day activities that we have done all our life? Knee pain and the arthritis we’ve been told we have limit the activities that we want to do…but is that forever?
As your body loses the “get up and go”… It’s frustrating! So in looking for answers you find your physician or your local health care practitioner and you get answers for your knee pain like old age, arthritis, or that you have to slow down. Not what you want to hear. People just like you with knee pain that limits their day to day activity don’t have to slow down. You don’t have to say no to a good walk, to golf, to play Pickle ball!
For those of you out there that are suffering with knee pain and have even been given the diagnosis of arthritis, there is still hope! Obviously there are treatments out there like pain pills or cortisone shots or ….uuggh, surgery. But what if you wanted to get back to your activity now? What if there was something that would take the pain away and allow you to do the things you’d like to do WITHOUT medications, injections, or surgery. STOP! Getting the right type of brace for your knee pain or arthritis can help you return to the activities you love!
” Do I Need a Brace?” Symptoms of Knee Pain and Arthritis
I had a patient that was a friend of mine come in the other day and he described these symptoms regarding his knee…
- It felt stiff especially in the morning.
- It was tender and painful all around the inside of the knee
- The knee was swollen even after light activity
- The knee seemed to buckle and lock from time to time
- He heard it crack and pop with different activities
- He struggled with walking for long periods, stairs, getting up out of a chair, and mostly golf!
Does any of this sound like you at all?
As a Physiotherapist that has treated a few thousand different patients in my 20 year career I have learned that Knee Bracing is an absolute must when dealing with knee pain and arthritis. Physiotherapy treatment will include tissue work and exercises but most often a patient will benefit from a brace as well. There are hundreds of different types of braces but here is a basic list of the 5 types of braces when dealing with knee pain and arthritis.
Types of Knee Braces for Knee Pain and Arthritis
- Compression Sleeve – these braces provide minimal support but can minimize swelling and help with proprioception (the body’s ability to keep your knee stable by reacting to whether it is aligned or not).
- Rigid Hinge Brace – while still providing the compression of a sleeve these braces also provide side to side stability for basic ligament injuries.
- Patello-Femoral Brace – This brace helps with a condition called Patello-femoral pain (that’s a different blog!) by using straps to guide the knee cap in one direction.
- Custom Hinge Brace – These sturdy upgrades from the basic hinge brace provide a form fit option for more serious ligament stability issues.
- Custom Unloader Brace – This is the #1 choice for arthritis related knee pain as it serves to “unload” the worn down side of the knee. It takes pressure off the injured side and allows healing and better function to occur.
Which one for you? It’s actually easier than you think to choose one. Have a bit of mild pain and swelling, maybe the Sleeve is right for you. Tweaked the knee playing soccer with the kids? You might need a Hinge Brace. Is your pain more local around the knee cap and you have a real tough time with stairs and little squat movements? The Patello-Femoral Brace is the way to go. Old ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury or knee just feels REALY unstable? Custom Hinge Brace all the way.
But if you are dealing with arthritis and knee pain and you know you have one side of that knee that is worn down by years of living? The Custom Unloader is all I preach to my patients. Check this out…
Custom Knee Unloader Brace for Arthritis Related Knee Pain
Easy right? Think of one side of your knee as being compressed. The pain comes from the pressure and irritation of the joint surface and tissues in and around the joint. The brace’s strapping and hinge mechanism serves to “unload” the offending side of the joint. Allowing you to get on to your activities without the increase in suffering and swelling. Its a great adjunct to physiotherapy and other conservative options for treatment.
But let me finish telling you about this patient. He was intrigued about the brace especially if it was getting him back to pain-free golf sooner. We had him try on our floor model and do you know what? He said he had less pain on the side of his knee and it even felt more stable than before. Furthermore, he wanted to take that one right out of the clinic and that wasn’t even the one custom fit to his leg!
We are not necessarily a “sports medicine” clinic but we have sold 100’s of these braces to happy customers. Some of them even report not wearing the brace as much anymore because their knee is so good they don’t need to!
How To Get a Custom Unloader Knee Brace for your Knee Pain
The process is simple. Firstly, come into a clinic near you (www.sosphysiotherapy.ca for example!) and you can get fitted for your brace. It takes about 15 minutes to fit you using a Tablet and measuring tape. Subsequently we will give you pre-approval letter for the insurance. Thirdly, you will then need a doctor’s referral to go with the other letter to your insurance company. Once they approve your funding for the brace, the order goes in, and the custom fit brace is on your leg in less than a week! Can you imagine? Walking, stairs, biking, jogging, hiking, pickleball, golf, and more everyday activities made easier with your new Custom Fit Unloader Knee Brace!
Custom Unloaders work!
So remember that patient of mine? It’s been a while since he’d seen me for the knee brace but he actually came in for physiotherapy for another injury and I asked him how things were going with his knee pain. He said the brace was great and that his knee pain had all but subsided. And get this…he doesn’t even wear the brace anymore! That’s part of the magic. The Unloader brace does its part to take the stress off the injured tissue. Over time, depending on the level of arthritis, the pain may subside completely!
I wouldn’t be this sold on it if it hadn’t actually worked for me. You see, I have had severe osteoarthritis in my left knee ever since an old rugby injury in my 20’s. I reaggravated it 2 years ago playing golf and could NOT play softball or golf or even walk around a full day at the clinic! My Unloader brace helped me get through some tough times and allowed me to do some of the things I wanted…needed to do. If this sounds like you it might be time to check out your local brace fitter and see if they can help you. It might be with us but I just hope you find some relief…like I did!
ps. If you’re in our area and want to see if a brace is right for you, check the location nearest you at www.sosphysiotherapy.ca. We are giving the first 5 people that mention this BLOG a FREE Knee Arthritis assessment and Knee Brace Fitting Trial. Give us a call and we’ll set you up.
FAQs for Bracing and Knee Pain and Athritis
- Are knee braces expensive? – Basic sleeves and some hinge braces can be less than $100. The more expensive custom braces are often covered by even the most basic insurance plans.
- How often do I wear the brace? – It all depends on the brace and the injury but usually wearing the brace for 30-60 minutes is a good place to start. As you get used to it you can increase to a few hours at a time depending on activity.
- Are there side effects to wearing brace? – Always be careful of your skin and keep up with your strengthening exercises so that your muscles don’t decondition.