Archive for November, 2011
Do these knee braces work? The answer is yes.
A 2004 pilot study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine concluded that “magnetic therapy for knee osteoarthritis could be assessed,” and that “magnets showed statistically significant efficacy compared to placebo under rigorously controlled conditions.”
These researchers from a Boston medical center designed a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study that divided 29 participants with knee osteoarthritis in two groups. One group received a high-strength magnet knee sleeve to treat knee pain while the other group received a knee sleeve with placebo-magnets. It turns out that after 4 hours of wearing the knee braces the magnets showed a statistically significant efficacy compared to the placebo knee sleeves.
Wolsko PM, Eisenberg DM, et al. Double-blind placebo-controlled trial of static magnets for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: results of a pilot study. Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. 2004 Mar-Apr; 10(20: 36-43.
Many patients do not realize that magnetic therapy field parameters must be adjusted to specific conditions to be effective. For example the same magnets used to treat the fingers should not be used to treat knee pain.
For a magnetic knee brace to be effective it must be designed to provide the correct magnetic field strength. Penetration and area coverage must also be taken into consideration. The most effective pain relief will come from medical grade magnets positioned and spaced correctly within a knee support.
Why does your doctor recommend exercise as a treatment option for your knee osteoarthritis?
Imagine the joint cartilage in your knee as a sponge on your kitchen sink. When you are young the sponge is brand new and able to absorb large quantities of water. Now think about the sponge on your sink that is well-used – it doesn’t absorb as much water as it used to, right?
Your knee is the same way. Joint cartilage is 90% water. The purpose of the other 10% is to retain that water to provide a cushion. By bending your joint (exercising) what you are doing is forcing the sponge inside your knee to absorb and release water. This keeps the cartilage hydrated and healthy.
Think about the forgotten sponge under the sink. It is dry, brittle and sad. It crumbles in your hands. Exercise will help keep your knee joints lubricated and happy.
Osteoarthritis in also known as Degenerative Joint Disease. Symptoms can include inflammation, stiffness, locking, tenderness, and joint pain. There are several common causes – mechanical knee problems, metabolic issues, heredity, and developmental pathologies may all lead to cartilage loss. Regardless of the cause, when bone surfaces become vulnerable due to cartilage loss the exposed bone can be damaged. Joint pain can lead to decreased movement which can lead muscles to atrophy and laxity in the ligaments.
Orthopedic surgeons can be judged by the quality of products they provide. A current trend in the orthopedic community is turning orthopedic braces into profit centers. Insurance providers are reimbursing doctors less and less for surgeries so it is not surprising that orthopedic practices are experimenting with different avenues, like knee bracing, to remain profitable.
Information like this is advantageous to patients. The quality of braces a doctor provides is a glimpse into the way that physician practices medicine.
If a doctor fits a patient with a knee brace and bills that patient’s insurance company or charges cash, the knee brace that doctor provides is a clear indicator of that doctor’s motives. If the knee brace is of poor quality (cheap) then patients can rightfully infer that this doctor is putting their profits ahead of patient care. If a doctor is willing to take advantage of a patient when it comes to a simple support brace, it’s reasonable to assume that same doctor will take advantage of a patient throughout the entire time that patient is under their care.
Conversely if a doctor provides a high quality orthopedic device it demonstrates that physician’s ability to put patient care ahead of nickels and dimes. It shows that doctor is more concerned with the health and well-being of his / her patients than inflating the bottom line.
If an orthopedic doctor regularly braces knee problems that doctor should supply quality products. If you are a patient that recently received a knee brace, ankle brace, or walking boot from your doctor, take a moment and look at it. Really look at it. That brace is an accurate representation of the care you will receive.