How to Choose a Knee Brace for Arthritis
Osteoarthritis of the knee is a condition where the cartilage surrounding the joint breaks down and wears away. This causes the bones to rub against each other and can lead to pain, stiffness, swelling, decreased range of motion, and even bone spurs.
Using a knee brace for arthritis provides extra support and protection for your knee. A knee brace can help minimize inflammation, improve knee tracking and joint alignment, and help reduce pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee.
SportsBraces.com has a wide range of knee braces, supports, and wraps to help you treat and support your knee. Keep reading to find the right brace for your knee.
Symptoms and Causes of Knee Osteoarthritis
The primary cause of osteoarthritis (OA) in the knee is age. Over time, cartilage begins to break down and can lead to OA. Other factors include weight, lifestyle, athletics, and genetics.
Because OA is a degenerative disease, it gets worse over time. If you suffer from OA, you likely experience many of the following symptoms:
- Knee pain
- Decreased mobility and range of motion
- A cracking sound during movement
- A warm feeling in the joint
Treatment for Arthritic Knee Pain
Treatment for OA of the knee will help relieve or minimize pain, reduce swelling, inflammation, and increase range of motion and mobility. Treatment often includes:
- Physical therapy
- Weight loss
- Mild pain relievers
- Use of a knee brace
- Steroid injections or surgery (required for more serious cases)
The use of an arthritis knee brace in combination with physical therapy, exercise, mild pain relievers, and anti-inflammatories gives you the best chance to reduce pain and get your mobility back.
Determine the Purpose of Your Knee Brace
Using a knee brace to treat arthritis in the knee is an excellent way to support and protect your knee while you strengthen and train it. A knee brace can provide support, encourage proper alignment, reduce inflammation, and protect against further injury.
The best way to choose a knee brace is to identify what purpose the brace will serve. Do you need compression? Do you need to limit motion? Do you need to provide added stability? Knee braces come in a wide variety of types with a range of functions and features. Consult with your doctor and/or physical therapist to determine the best knee brace for your arthritis.
Different Types of Knee Braces
If you’ve spent any time researching knee braces, you know just how many options are available, so how do you know what brace is right for you? The first step is to consider the type of knee brace. Narrowing down the features and functions you require by type will help you narrow your search so you can find the perfect brace to get you back on your feet.
Knee sleeves are braces that slide over the leg and use compression to provide support and other protective features. Some offer additional padding, and others utilize straps for extra protection. In addition, sleeves may feature an open or closed patella (a hole over the kneecap).
If you need a knee brace for arthritis that is mild to moderate, a sleeve may be your best bet. That’s because these products don’t offer added stability to the knee joint. However, they do offer a wide range of positive benefits.
Knee sleeves use compression to keep the joint warm and flexible, stimulate circulation, and encourage proper alignment and movement of the patella and ligaments. These sleeves can also limit the movement of the patella, reducing friction and further wear and tear on the cartilage surrounding the kneecap.
If a knee sleeve doesn’t offer enough support and protection for your condition, the next type of knee brace for arthritis treatment is a wraparound brace. One of the immediate benefits of using a wraparound brace opposed to a sleeve is how easy and painless it is to put on and take off. A wraparound brace literally wraps around the knee to deliver support and protection.
Wraparound braces can be soft or hard, and some even feature a hinged frame to deliver maximum stability and support. What’s more, some wraparound braces feature compression technology to deliver many of the benefits of a knee sleeve.
Wraparound braces are ideal for treating and managing moderate knee pain, stiffness, swelling, improper tracking, and patellar instabilities associated with OA. Because these braces are lightweight and low profile, they aren’t intrusive. They can be worn during a wide range of activity and even encourage proper tracking and motion to reduce further injury.
Hinged OA Braces
Hinged OA braces are knee braces comprised of adjustable OA hinges to provide maximum stability, support, and assist with unloading the knee to the unaffected side. Because of the strong frame of the brace, this type of hinged OA brace delivers the most support of all knee braces.
Because these braces assist in restricting joint movement, they prevent the knee from hyperextending or twisting in a way that may injure or wear down cartilage, ligaments, or aggravate bone spurs. That restricted movement also ensures proper joint tracking which reduces friction, minimizes inflammation, and can even reduce pain.
One of the only drawbacks of metal-framed braces is that they tend to be bulkier. Unlike sleeves or soft wraparounds, they typically can’t be worn under tight clothing. However, they provide maximum protection for your knee and can help you manage and treat OA in your knee.
Find the Perfect Brace
Finding the right knee brace for your arthritis may seem challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. In consultation with your doctor or physical therapist, you can determine which is the right brace for your OA.
Our wide selection of knee braces means we have the perfect option for you. If you have questions or want to talk about what knee brace is the right one for you, please call us at (855) 414-1313.