Efficacy of knee braces and foot orthoses in conservative management of knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review

Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2011 Mar;90(3):247-62. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e318206386b.


A systematic analysis was conducted on the effectiveness of knee braces and foot orthoses in conservative management of knee osteoarthritis. The methodologic quality of the randomized clinical trials, controlled clinical trials, and observational studies were systematically reviewed using the Structured Effectiveness Quality Evaluation Scale. Twenty-five studies met the inclusion criteria. The orthoses used in the studies included Generation II osteoarthritis knee brace, valgus knee braces, functional off-loading knee braces, knee sleeves, lateral-wedged insoles with subtalar strapping, medial-wedged insoles, and specialized footwear. Results suggest that knee braces and foot orthoses are effective in decreasing pain, joint stiffness, and drug dosage. They also improve proprioception, balance, Kellgren/Lawrence grading, and physical function scores in subjects with varus and valgus knee osteoarthritis. Knee braces and foot orthoses could be cautiously considered as conservative management for relief of pain and stiffness and improving physical function for persons with knee osteoarthritis. The conclusions of this review are limited by methodologic considerations like poor quality of trials and heterogeneity of interventions.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia / prevention & control
  • Braces*
  • Humans
  • Orthotic Devices*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Proprioception
  • Quality of Life