Donning a knee brace brings about a great deal of relief to those suffering from a type of osteoarthritis that affects the knee cap, says study.
Patellofemoral osteoarthritis 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.
AdvertisementCurrently the only treatment available for this type of osteoarthritis is pain control and knee replacement through surgical means.
There 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.
Dr 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 knee.
Callaghan's 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.
The patients were randomly assigned to two groups - immediate treatment with the braces or delayed treatment ( after six weeks) with the braces.
After 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 improvement.
Patients 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.
Knee 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.