While there’s no cure for knee osteoarthritis, a combination of strategies can help relieve your pain and keep you active.
Although the cornerstones of treatment are exercise and physical therapy — and pain medications and steroid injections are also options — you can also try knee braces, shoe inserts or simply wearing more supportive shoes.
“Knee braces can be helpful for managing your pain,” says physical therapist Dawn Lorring, PT, MPT. “The location and severity of your symptoms will drive which brace works best for you.”
Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown of cartilage (that’s the cushioning material that covers the ends of bones in joints.) This causes pain and stiffness.
In the knee joint, arthritis can occur at any of three points where the bones come in contact:
Types of knee braces
People who have mild pain or stiffness that limits their activities can try a sleeve-type brace. These provide compression, which can reduce swelling and warm the joint. This might relieve the stiffness.
These braces also provide added support. “If your knee feels unsteady or wobbly, a compression-type brace can be helpful, Lorring says. Some of them have plastic stays or a hinge on the side, which provides a little more support. She recommends getting one that has an opening at the knee cap.
Sleeve braces usually aren’t covered by insurance, but they are relatively inexpensive.
When arthritic changes are between the femur and tibia, a device called an unloader knee brace may help, especially if one side is more arthritic than the other. These have a metal band that goes around the thigh and another one around the calf, connected by a hinged bar. This creates a frame that can be adjusted to shift pressure (unload) from one side of the knee to the other.
“If the inside of your knee hurts, the brace can be adjusted to put more force on the outside of your knee, unloading weight off the inside,” Lorring explains.
These are less beneficial if your arthritis symptoms are similar on both the inside and outside of the joint.
Unloader knee braces are more expensive, but they can be covered by the Assistive Devices Program or private insurance. You’ll need a doctor’s prescription and documentation that it is medically necessary.
Shoes and inserts.
Various foot problems (like high arches or flat feet) or just the particular way you walk can affect the alignment of your body. That might be putting more pressure on your knee joints. You may get some relief by choosing better shoes or wearing shoe inserts (also called orthotics).
Because everyone is different, there’s no universal advice for shoes or inserts. Lorring recommends consulting a physical therapist or an expert in foot mechanics who can observe how you walk and help you pick out shoes or shoe inserts that match your needs. “I encourage people to look at running shoes because there are more support options,” she says.
“The goal with orthotics is to make sure your foot is moving in the best way it can so your knee isn’t getting more force than it should,” Lorring says. There are a wide variety of shoe inserts and heel wedges that you can buy in a drug store or online. You can also get them custom made or save some money and get semi-custom ones. Like with shoes, you need to get inserts and wedges that are specific to your needs.
“You can have an insert that doesn’t add much arch support but it adds cushion, which can be beneficial if you walk on the outside of your foot,” Lorring says. “However, if your foot rolls inward too much, you may need more arch support.”
You can get heel wedges that are sloped in one direction or the other, which is similar to the action of an unloader brace. It shifts pressure from one side of the knee to the other.
“Ultimately, you have to find what works for you,” Lorring says.
This article was based on one that originally appeared in Cleveland Clinic Arthritis Advisor.
The following article was written by Lainie Ishbia in The Mighty, June 30th, 2019.
Please note that if you have any problems whatsoever with a device you receive from us (including squeaking!), contact us so that we can help you with it.
Sleeping with Your DCC
Some of our patients have told us that sleeping with a Dynamic Chest Compressor can be a little uncomfortable at times - here our Certified Orthotist, Eric Bapty, shows you a few tips to make it easier for you. Try it out and let us know what you think!
Accessible Canada Act
Once approved by Parliament, the Act would add to the existing rights and protections for people with disabilities, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Canadian Human Rights Act and Canada’s approval of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The purpose of the bill is to make Canada barrier-free in areas under federal jurisdiction.The bill outlines how to identify and remove accessibility barriers and prevent new barriers, under federal rule, including in:
Winter Boots Tips for the Snow!
Yes unfortunately winter is just around the corner. It’s time to take out those boots and ensure they still fit properly – or think about buying new ones.
Consider these suggestions when you’re in the stores:
If you have any questions about your boots
please bring them with you to your next appointment and Eric will be glad to help.
Keep warm and comfortable this winter!
Locke Street Festival Saturday, September 8th
by Carrie Dennett of the Washington Post
It is not a secret that spending time in nature is good for you. For years, researchers have been detailing how people who live near green spaces — parks, greenbelts, tree-lined streets, rural landscapes — have better physical and mental health, and practices such as Japanese forest bathing and Nordic hygge, which has a strong outdoorsy component, are being embraced here in the United States. Could grounding be next?
I was intrigued when a colleague recently recommended a mutual patient — seeing her for stress management and me for nutritional advice — experiment
with walking barefoot in the grass for a short time each day. A few weeks
later, I stumbled across an article that gave a name to that practice:
grounding. The idea behind grounding, also called earthing, is that humans
evolved in direct contact with the Earth's subtle electric charge, but have lost
that sustained connection thanks to inventions such as buildings, furniture
and shoes with insulated synthetic soles.
Best shirt to wear under a Scoliosis Brace
Treating Pectus Deformities
Our Certified Orthotist, Eric Bapty, made this presentation some years ago at several Prosthetic and Orthotic conferences, but it is still valid for today. Eric works with you to ensure you get the best orthotic treatment available.
Let us know your questions and comments! We're here to help you.
To play the slideshow, just hover your mouse over the pictures to bring up the controls. Click on the arrows on the right hand side to move forward or back in the presentation.
How Foot Orthotics Are Made