There are many treatment options for the estimated 10 million U.S. adults who suffer with osteoarthritis of the knee, but one of these that is really effective is the age-old knee brace.
Dr. Robert Molloy, an orthopedic surgeon at Cleveland Clinic, said a knee brace is a device that is worn around the knee to provide support and reduce excessive loading on a damaged joint.
The simplest type of brace is a one-piece sleeve made of an elastic rubber — neoprene — that fits snugly around the knee area, which is available over the counter at most pharmacies.
An “unloader” brace is a semi-rigid device made of molded plastic and foam, with reinforcing steel struts on each side to limit the knee joint’s lateral movement.
It is custom fit by medical providers and typically costs about $500 or more, said Molloy.
“It’s a custom-fit brace that’s most often prescribed for people with arthritis,” Molloy said in a statement.
“The unloader brace is designed to provide three points of pressure on the thigh bone, which forces the joint to bend away from the inside of the leg. In effect, it relieves pain by transferring pressure from the inside part of the knee to the outside part,” concluded Molloy.