Background: Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is one of the major reasons for seeking medical and physical therapy services, because it usually causes difficulties in performing daily life activities. There are several types of treatment, with varied results. The use of knee sleeve as an adjuvant resource has been controversial in the literature.
Objective: To assess the immediate efficacy of elastic knee sleeve on pain and functional capacity of individuals with KOA.
Methods: Seventy-four patients (132 knees) with symptomatic KOA were assessed by use of the Stair Climb Power Test (SCPT), Timed Up and Go (TUG) and 8-Meter Walk (8MW) tests, in addition to the VAS for pain. The tests were performed with and without knee sleeves, with a cover on the knees to hide knee sleeve. The order and the presence of the knee sleeve were randomized, and the investigator was blind.
Results: A statistically significant difference was found between the two compared circumstances (with and without knee sleeve) when using the VAS (P < 0.001), which showed a reduction in pain with the knee sleeve use. Analyses of the three functional tests under both circumstances were performed, resulting in statistically significant differences in 8MW and TUG tests (P < 0.05), but not in SCPT (P > 0.1339).
Conclusion: The elastic knee sleeve proved to be effective to immediately improve the functional capacity and pain of individuals with KOA, because it enhanced performance during the tests proposed. Thus, the knee sleeve is an adjuvant resource for treating KOA, because it is practical, useful, and of easy clinical use, and can aid in the practice of therapeutic exercises.