If you live with the pain of osteoarthritis, you may find that a knee brace is an effective tool for managing your discomfort. The prime function of a knee brace is to shift weight from the knee and alleviate the stress, strain, and pain on your osteoarthritic knee. A brace can increase mobility and improve your ability to get around.
Do you suffer with knee arthritis? Here is what you need to know:
Knee Braces for Arthritis
If you have been diagnosed with Osteoarthritis, it can be a worrisome and complex diagnosis. This is a condition that impacts the entire joint of your knee, frequently from the stress and strain put on the joints over the years. This commonly afflicts older individuals and can be quite painful.
Usually, osteoarthritis affects one side of the knee primarily, and it may cause misalignment that impacts how you look, walk, and move. The condition can make you appear bowlegged or with knock-knees.
This is where a knee brace can help. Specifically, an uplifter brace can take the pressure and strain off the side of the knee most impacted by this condition. This alleviates knee pain and may help you to move about more freely and with less limitation. A knee brace can provide much-needed support and stability for weak knees that tend to give out from time to time, too. Talk to your doctor or provider to learn more.
Knee Brace Risks
So, wearing a knee brace is just one component of managing the side-effects of osteoarthritis. Some sufferers may also have physical therapy and medications to help them cope with the chronic discomfort of this condition. Wearing a knee brace is a fairly- benign part of your treatment- but are there any risks to wearing one that you should be aware of? There are, and some of the risks of wearing a knee brace include the following:
- Wearing a knee brace can be uncomfortable for some individuals. Some wearers report that a knee brace feels heavy and bulky, which can also make them feel hot or sweaty in warm conditions.
- If the knee brace does not fit you properly, it can slip and cause more harm than good. That is, it can slip and cause instability which may make you vulnerable to a fall or further injury.
- Knee braces may cause some skin irritation, redness, or swelling for some wearing them. The brace may cause the skin underneath to become sore or irritated- especially if the brace does not fit you right. If your brace causes these symptoms, discontinue use and speak with your practitioner.
- Some wearers simply report no advantages or benefits to wearing a knee brace for their osteoarthritis pain. The reports and results are mixed- some report no benefit while others are pleased to report less pain and more mobility with their brace.
- There is also the chance that wearing a brace can make you feel stiff as one knee tries to compensate for the limited function of the afflicted knee.
Only you can determine if the advantages of wearing a knee brace outweigh any risks or side-effects that you experience. This is not an exhaustive list- nor does every person wearing a brace experience any of these sensations.
Sound like you could benefit from the stability of a knee brace? The first thing to do is to discuss any interest that you have in knee braces for your osteoarthritis with your practitioner or provider- what do they think about your prognosis? What other steps can you take?
A doctor will be able to help you determine if it can alleviate pain associated with your condition, as well as how often you would need to wear it for optimal results. Ask your provider to write you a prescription for the brace- and you may also need a referral to an orthotist who customized and constructs braces for people with mobility, particularly orthopedic, issues. You may want to ask your carrier if these knee braces and visits to the orthotist are covered by your policy, as well as what your out-of-pocket costs will be, if that is something of concern to you.
Now that you have spoken with a provider, visited an orthotist, and even been prescribed a brace, what happens? The process of getting a knee brace is quite straightforward and direct- after all, the benefit comes from wearing it consistently.
For those that are apprehensive or even just curious, there are standard sizes in ready-made braces available at mobility and medical supply retailers. There are various styles and construction available, depending on the nature of your need. Finding one that fits is integral, so try them on. If they do not fit properly, you should consider a custom knee brace from an orthotist.
If this is the route that you decide to go, know that custom knee braces take time to design and build, so it is not a quick solution. In fact, it may take several weeks before you get your knee brace. When the knee brace is ready, the orthotist will likely want you to come in and try it on before you take it with you.
The knee brace fitting typically entails:
- An examination of your afflicted knee.
- Questions regarding your medical history and symptoms.
- Questions regarding your expectations surrounding wearing a knee brace for your osteoarthritis.
- Demonstration of your current gait.
- Measuring the leg for size information.
- Discussion regarding the pros and cons of braces.
- An opportunity for the patient to ask questions.
- Trying on and wearing the brace during the visit.
Always follow the advice of your orthotist and provider regarding when and how long to wear your knee brace. Some patients may only be recommended to wear the knee brace during certain activities, while others may be advised to wear them throughout the majority of the day. Heed what your providers say as this is the best way to determine if a knee brace is an effective tool for you in your fight against osteoarthritis pain.
Osteoarthritis can cause you to worry about your knee giving out or failing- and the possibility of more pain and injury. This can make you less self-assured when walking or moving around. A knee brace provides stability and reliability so you can gain some of your confidence back.
Many that wear knee braces consistently report good results and improvements in both pain level and mobility with regular use. They claim that a knee brace makes them more functional and less limited in terms of what they can do independently.
The key here is that there is relief for the pain and debilitation that osteoarthritis can cause. With regular wear, you may benefit from a knee brace. If you have arthritis in your knees, weight management and control is key, too. Getting plenty of exercise can reduce stiffness and strengthening muscles in the legs and thighs can also help alleviate the symptoms of osteoarthritis.
A knee brace is an excellent tool for managing the pain, stiffness, and discomfort of osteoarthritis. Talk to your practitioner or provider about other approaches to alleviating the chronic pain and limited mobility of this condition.
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