Alysha Aronson
 
Part of the Reflex treatment program for many patients is the use of an offloading knee brace. This device is designed to re-align the leg back into proper position as well as lessen the pressure being placed on a worn down area of the knee joint, resulting in immediate knee pain relief when being active, and stopping additional wear and tear on the joint.

How does wearing a brace help?

In our recent blog on physical therapy we talked about compensation patters, what they are and how they occur. The offloading brace is another tool that can be used to correct compensation patters. When wearing the brace, it is repositioning and realigning the knee.  This is forcing muscles to fire and work that have been dormant since the compensations began.  By wearing the brace for long periods of time over many months, it can actually retrain the leg to move correctly.

How long does it need to be worn?

Think of the brace as a workout for the leg.  When a person has not worked out in a long time and suddenly works out really hard, they are sore for a few days after the workout. Like returning to regular exercise you want to start slow and build overtime. If a patient wore the brace all day right away  they could experience some form of tendonitis, muscle discomfort, or joint pain (ligament pain); because the brace is shifting and re-aligning the joint which forces ligaments, tendons, and muscles to move and shift in a way they are not used to.  By wearing it for shorter increments when being active your body can slowly learn to retrain all the moving parts for correct alignment without complications. Each patient will receive a specific bracing schedule from the exercise physiologist when they receive a brace.

Will it have to be worn for the rest of your life?

The answer to this depends on the degree of arthritis and the amount of deformity in the knee.  For minor arthritis, once the deformity has been corrected, and the muscles have become strong enough to stabilize the knee without the brace, then wearing the brace is not needed anymore.  For more advanced arthritis, once the deformity has been corrected and the muscles have become strong enough to stabilize the joint without the brace, then daily wearing of the brace is not needed.  However, with severe arthritis, it is important to continue to wear the brace for any activity that stresses the leg for more than 30 minutes.

 

The offloading brace is a great lightweight non-invasive tool that can be used to help reduce pain, retrain the leg to move correctly, and get patients back to life!

 

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Comments (9)

  1. Diane Aune says:

    Will this knee brace help a leg that has a torn miniscus. I tore mine over a year ago and saw a doc and had xrays and he said not much arthritis but you did tear the miniscus. Well it is not bad to live with so I did not have it operated on but it hurts when I get up and down and I do favor the other leg. What do you think?? I am not planning to have surgery unless the pain gets really bad. I take no drugs or aspirin for this leg. Diane V. Aune, WA

  2. Dr. Carroll says:

    Diane,

    Thank you for your inquiry. Meniscus injuries are being managed more conservatively these days. Arthroscopy is generally done when the patient has “locking” of the joint or there is an “audible” click when walking.
    Unfortunately, osteoarthritis risk goes up 20-fold after significant meniscus tears. Meaning, if you already have arthritis, it’s worsening is accelerated after any meniscus injury.
    They’re are several non-surgical treatment options for osteoarthritis and minor meniscal injuries. I encourage you to see us at Reflex clinic for a more formal evaluation and discussion of treatment options. You can sign up for an appointment here on the website. One of our staff will follow up to see if we can get you evaluated and back to pain free life.

    Sincerely,
    Greg Carroll MD
    Clinic Director, Reflex Clinic

  3. ProKPR says:

    I am looking for a light weight knee brace to promote. This looks sleek and form fitting. How heavy is it and what is it made of?

  4. Alysha says:

    ProKPR,

    The off-loading brace weighs about two pounds, and can easily be worn under relaxed fitting pants. The brace itself is made of a magnesium alloy, and the cover is made from plastic. Let me know if you have any additional questions. You can always make and appointment to try one on if you’re in the Portland area.

    Best,
    Alysha Aronson, Patient Care Coordinator

  5. Robert Sobsey says:

    Price of off loading knee brace
    CDS is my insurance carrier

    • Alysha says:

      Robert,

      The price of the off-loading knee brace is different depending on personal insurance for one, as well as whether you’ve met your deductible for the year. If you’re interested in finding out the exact cost of a knee brace based on your personal insurance, you can follow the steps on our ‘checking your coverage’ page in the insurance section of our website. It’s usually just a quick phone call, or many insurance companies have great online services set up as well. Or if you make an appointment with us to come in and try the brace on we’d be happy to contact your insurance carrier for you.

  6. Dylan Gollehon says:

    How does the deteriorated/ degenerated bone support the cartilage. If the surface of the knee joint has been compromised, and is worn out would that not lead to possible cartilage damage in the future?
    Is there a level of knee joint damage that your system would not be able to repair?

    Thank you Dylan Gollehon

  7. Alysha says:

    Dylan,

    Depending on where the degenrated cartilage is, on medial or lateral compartment, the brace would shift weight from the worn out cartilage to the side that has not been worn down. This will protect the remaining cartilage and reduce pressure on the damaged areas. There is not a level that fully eliminates the off-loading brace as an option for treatment, it depends more on the pattern of wear on the cartilage for each individual which we are able to asses through X-rays and a fit session. Let me know if you have additional questions.

    Best,

    Alysha Aronson
    Patient Care Coordinator

  8. Sandra says:

    How can this brace help bilateral chondromalacia

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