Here are the Highlights
The incidence of osteoarthritis is increasing and it is one of the most common causes of chronic conditions. Total knee replacement is the most mainstream form of treatment for end-stage knee osteoarthritis; however, with long waiting lists and high levels of dissatisfaction, a treatment like knee braces could potentially delay surgery.
Unicompartmental knee osteoarthritis is associated with misalignment of the knee, and unloader bracing has been recommended by various guidelines to correct this misalignment. The aim of this report was to provide an update of evidence from the past 10 years on knee braces.
This study reviewed the evidence from 14 published articles. Almost all articles supported knee brace use and showed it to decrease pain, improve function, and improve the quality of life of patients. One study in 2017 followed patients for long term and found knee bracing to be more cost-effective than total knee replacement, and could replace the need for surgery.
Study Conclusion: Unloader braces are an economical and effective treatment for unicompartmental knee osteoarthritis. They can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life and potentially delay or even replace the need for surgery.
Patients should be managed with a multidisciplinary approach with conservative management and knee bracing, before surgery is considered.
NICE guidelines recommend the use of knee braces for the treatment of osteoarthritis, as part of the nonpharmacological management.
Osteoarthritis Research Society International have produced guidelines which include biomechanical interventions to treat patients with mild to moderate varus/valgus instability to improve stability and reduce pain.
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