Efficacy of Unloader Bracing in Reducing Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis

Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2016 Jul-Aug;45(5):306-11.


Braces designed to unload the more diseased compartment of the knee have been used to provide symptomatic relief from osteoarthritis (OA). Research on the efficacy of these braces is needed. Thirty-one patients with knee OA were randomized to receive an unloader brace (n = 16) or not to receive a brace (control group, n = 15). Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcomes Score (KOOS) and visual analog scale (VAS) scores were used to evaluate outcomes. KOOS results showed that the brace group had significantly less pain (P < .001), fewer arthritis symptoms (P = .007), and better ability to engage in activities of daily living (P = .008). There was no difference in function in sport and recreation (P = .402) or in knee-related quality of life (P = .718). VAS results showed that the brace group had significantly less pain throughout the day (P = .021) and had improved activity levels (P = .035). There was no difference in ability to sleep (P = .117) or in use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (P = .138). Our study results showed that use of an unloader brace for medial compartment knee OA led to significant improvements in pain, arthritis symptoms, and ability to engage in activities.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Aged
  • Braces*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Management / methods*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Treatment Outcome