The 2- and 8-week effects of decompressive brace use in people with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis
Prosthet Orthot Int
BACKGROUND: Knee osteoarthritis is a prevalent disease. Unloading the affected compartment using a brace is a treatment option. OBJECTIVES: To determine whether a decompressive knee brace alters loading in medial knee osteoarthritis following 2 and 8 weeks of use. STUDY DESIGN: Within subjects; pre- and post-testing. METHODS: A total of 15 individuals with medial knee osteoarthritis attended four sessions: baseline, fitting, 2 weeks after fitting (post), and 8 weeks after fitting (final). A gait analysis was performed at baseline (without knee brace), post and final. Knee adduction impulse, first and second peak knee adduction moment, knee motion, and walking velocity were calculated. Participants also recorded hours and steps taken while wearing the brace. RESULTS: On average, the brace was worn for more than 6 h/day. Through use of repeated-measures analysis of variance, it was determined that the knee adduction impulse and second peak knee adduction moment were reduced (p < 0.05) at post and final compared to baseline (36% and 34% reduction in knee adduction impulse, 26% reduction in second peak knee adduction moment for post and final, respectively). Furthermore, participants walked faster with increased knee motion during stance. CONCLUSION: The studied decompressive brace was effective in reducing potentially detrimental forces at the knee-knee adduction impulse and second peak knee adduction moment during the stance phase of gait. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: The data from this study suggest that use of a medial unloading brace can reduce potentially detrimental adduction moments at the knee. Clinicians should use this evidence to advocate for use of this noninvasive treatment for people presenting with medial knee osteoarthritis.
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation