is a kind of osteoarthritis that affects the
knee cap and is found in 20 percent of patients with knee pain. Those with this
form of arthritis experience pain while climbing stairs, squatting or kneeling
or while sitting for a prolonged time.
the only treatment available for this type of osteoarthritis is pain control
and knee replacement through surgical means.
is a great need for non-surgical measures of treating knee osteoarthritis and
there are not many treatments that are aimed specifically at the knee cap.
Michael Callaghan, research associate in rehabilitation
science, University of Manchester, says that his team has shown that a simple
knee brace can significantly improve the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the
team of researchers carried out randomized controlled trials of a lightweight
lycra flexible knee brace, which could be fitted around the knee with a support
strap. There were 126 patients, between the ages of 40 and 70 on whom the knee
brace was tried for 12 weeks. All of them had suffered from arthritic knee pain
for a period of three weeks prior to the trial.
patients were randomly assigned to two groups - immediate treatment with the
braces or delayed treatment ( after six weeks) with the braces.
they were assigned the braces both the groups wore it for a period of twelve
weeks, seven hours a day. After six weeks there was significant improvement
in the symptoms in the group that wore the braces immediately
, compared to
the ones who didn't, in scores of knee stiffness, pain, muscle strength and
function. Eventually, all the individuals in the study who wore braces showed
who wore the braces reported feeling more supported, secure and stable. They
felt more confident to use their knees in a normal way which in turn helped to
improve muscle strength and knee function.
braces are a simple and non invasive way of managing patellofemoral
osteoarthritis and must be increasingly recommended by doctors for those who
are suffering from this condition.
The results of the study
have been recently presented at the Osteoarthritis Research Society
International meeting held at Philadelphia.