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OA and Knee Deformities

October 16, 2012

 

The knee joint is the connection between two bones, the femur (thigh bone) and the tibia (shin bone).  The femur has two adjacent “condyles”, which are rounded portions that extend down to the tibia.  The tibia has two slightly cup-shaped sockets which meet the femoral condyles.

In healthy knee alignment, the femoral condyles rest evenly on the tibia, and apply nearly even pressure to both sides.  There are two types of knee deformities with asymmetrical force distributions: varus and valgus deformities.  A valgus (knock-kneed) deformity is where the knees are closer together than normal.  Valgus is more common than varus, and often occurs in overweight individuals.  A valgus deformity leaves a gap between the femur and the tibia on the lateral side, and increases pressure on the condyles on the medial side.  A varus deformity is where the knees are farther apart than normal.  Varus knees leave gaps between the femur and tibia on the medial side, and increase pressure on the lateral condyles.

These deformities are fairly common and lead to asymmetrical degeneration of the cartilage in the knee.  This means that  an osteoarthritic knee in valgus would have extreme damage to the medial side of the knee, and milder effects on the lateral side.

A medial knee brace for osteoarthritis is a tested and reliable treatment for knee osteoarthritis.  It is especially effective on an individual with a mild valgus deformity, because they have increased stress on the medial compartment.



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