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Support and Brace Support and Brace


May 2012
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Archive for May, 2012

An over the knee sleeve can be beneficial to an arthritic knee.  The sleeve will provide warmth and compression.  Do not underestimate how this can make your knee feel.  Even just a modicum of knee pain relief and additional stability might mean the difference between taking the steps or taking the elevator.  Small changes in your lifestyle can add up as the days, weeks, and months pass.  And decreasing the amount of medications you consume over the days, weeks, and months can also have a beneficial effect to your overall health.

It took years for osteoarthritis to deteriorate your cartilage, it will take some time to overcome and circumvent the damage.  Strong flexible legs should be your goal.  An over the knee sleeve can help!

Wouldn’t it be great if you learned that eating chocolate cake, or napping on the couch were effective treatments for reducing the pain associated with knee osteoarthritis?  Unfortunately both chocolate cake and being a couch potato are bad for your knees.  But getting a massage will help!

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine substantiates research that  massage therapy, specifically a weekly, hour-long, Swedish massage significantly reduced knee pain in patients with osteoarthritis.  125 subjects were studies over 8 weeks.

What a great reason to treat yourself to a weekly massage.  Go ahead – you deserve it.

Who do people with osteoarthritis of the knee get bowlegged?

A person suffering from osteoarthritis of the knee will begin to walk differently over time.  If the arthritis is affecting the inside of a person’s knee that person is likely to start walking on the outside of their feet.  This is a gradual progression, so gradual the person may not recognize they are shifting their body weight when they walk.

This transference of body weight from the middle of their feet towards the outside of their feet causes a knee joint to bow.  Over time and thousands of steps the knee’s anatomy changes  to accommodate the change in gait.

If a person has osteoarthritis of the knee that affects the outside or lateral compartment of the knee, that person is likely to transfer their body weight towards the inside of their feet.  The resulting change in knee anatomy is the opposite of bowlegged.  This person will become pigeon toed.

How long will a neoprene knee sleeve last?  The answer to this question depends on several factors.

1.  How often will you wear your neoprene knee sleeve?

2.  What activities will you be participating in?

3.  How is the knee brace cared for?

4.  How well does the neoprene knee sleeve fit?

5.  How is the brace constructed?

Generally speaking expect to get a year out of a neoprene sleeve with regular use.  However if you are installing carpet for a living, participating in extreme sports, or wearing an inexpensive brace expect a shorter lifespan.

With neoprene knee braces you get what you pay for.  A product with nylon coating will make a brace more comfortable and durable.  Stitching and quality of neoprene will also play an important role.




What’s the difference between a medial and a lateral knee brace for osteoarthritis?  The difference between the two knee braces is what side of the knee joint the brace is trying to help.

An OA knee brace is intended to treat one side of an arthritic knee joint, either the medial or the lateral. Medial refers to the inside of your knee, lateral refers to the outside.  So a medial knee brace will decrease pain on the inside of your knee while a lateral OA knee brace treats pain on the outside of your knee.

The hinge and shells of these knee braces absorb the majority of your body weight as you walk and step.  However there is some transference of body weight to the opposite compartment of the knee joint.  So if you are wearing a medial brace, you are shifting more of your body weight to the outside compartment thus unloading the inside compartment of your knee.  That is why it is very important that you get the correct knee brace for your arthritic condition.  If you unload the wrong side you will end up putting more pressure on the side that hurts – that means more pain, not less.

How do you make sure you are getting the right knee brace?  Let the people trained in biomechanics and anatomy do their jobs.  Go see a doctor and get a specific diagnosis.  Have the doctor write a prescription.  Then take the prescription to a certified orthotist.

What harm can come from wearing a magnetic knee brace?  Not much.  If you are wear a pacemaker, or if you are pregnant you should avoid magnetic fields.  Other than that, the problems associated with magnetic knee braces are few and far between.

Care needs to be taken where you store your magnetic knee brace.  Don’t put it in a bag with your laptop or cell phone or credit cards.  Any technology that can be adversely affected by magnets should not be in close proximity to your knee brace.

Some people develop rashes from knee braces but the skin problems are usually related to cleanliness, not an adverse reaction to the material the brace is constructed from.  A knee brace needs to be treated like a pair of socks.  How many times do you wear a pair of socks before you wash them?  A knee brace accumulates sweat, dirt, and dead skin.  They need to be cleaned regularly – like a pair of socks.




Knee Support

May 12, 2012

A knee support can help your arthritic knee function better and decrease pain.  Just a little help can get a person suffering with osteoarthritis up and moving.  It is important for a joint affected by arthritis to bend and move.  The motion helps keep the knee lubricated and flexible.

The support can be achieved through the circumferential pressure of neoprene, stable hinges, or criss-crossing straps.  Adding stability and protection to a weak knee joint is better than drugs.  Drugs only mask pain, they do not address the underlying musculoskeletal issues causing the pain.  Drugs also cost more than a knee support, and can cause health problems like ulcers, and liver failure.

If a bridge is in need of repair, the supports are strengthened.  Painting the bridge will hide the cracks and rust deteriorating the structure, but the paint will not make the bridge stronger.  If anything the paint will give people trying to cross the bridge a false sense of security.  Taking drugs for osteoarthritis is like painting a bridge in need of additional support.  You can hide the symptoms for awhile, but eventually the structural issues will need to be addressed.

How do I measure my leg for a knee sleeve?  It’s easy.  Generally speaking to choose the correct size knee brace for yourself you need the circumference of your knee and/or thigh.

The circumference is the distance around your leg.  If you have a tape measure just wrap it around your knee.  Don’t squeeze it tight, your skin shouldn’t “rope” around the tape.  A little less than snug is what you’re looking for.

If you don’t have a tape measure wrap a piece of string around your knee, and then measure the string against a ruler.

What do knee compression braces accomplish?  A few things.

1.  A neoprene sleeve will provide warmth and compression to an arthritic knee.  This circumferential squeeze  can help an achy joint feel better.  It will promote blood flow and increase circulation to the knee.  This increase in nutrients and fluids will help your cartilage.

2.  The compression will also promote proprioception.  The skin is the largest organ in the human body.  By compressing the surface area of the skin over the arthritic joint, your knee will feel better.       Proprioception relates to knowing where your limbs are in relation to the rest of your body.  Increased proprioception will help your knee to function and feel better.

3.  Knee compression braces will also provide a measure of protection and stability.  Just a little extra support can make the difference between walking for ten minutes, and walking for fifteen minutes.  The accumulation of steps over time can increase your overall health and strength of your knee joint.


A knee brace for osteoarthritis works best when treating an arthritic knee where one side of the knee is affected more severely than the other.  Knee braces that provide medial support help relieve pain on the inside of your knee.

In most cases of unicompartmental osteoarthritis, the medial compartment or the inside of the knee is affected.  This is due largely to the way the knee functions, the angle of the hips,  and how body weight is distributed across the joint.

Knee Braces for Osteoarthritis

Click on the above link to see a wide selection of unloading knee braces.  These knee braces offer a bio-mechanical solution to a bio-mechanical problem.  Knee braces are proven to relieve pain and increase function in patients with medial compartment osteoarthritis.