Knee braces for osteoarthritis

A knee brace for osteoarthritis may help reduce pain by shifting your weight off the most damaged portion of your knee. This may improve your ability to get around and help increase the distance you can walk comfortably.

Knee braces come in a variety of designs, but most are constructed with a combination of rigid and flexible materials — plastic, metal or other composite material for basic structure and support, and synthetic rubber or moldable foam for padding and positioning.

Why it's done Risks How you prepare What you can expect Results

Osteoarthritis is the wear-and-tear type of arthritis that commonly affects the knees of older people. The bottom of the thighbone has two large knobs, and osteoarthritis can affect one of the knob surfaces more than the other. This unequal damage can cause or worsen a malalignment that may make your stance look knock-kneed or bowlegged.

As the damage progresses, this malalignment worsens. A knee brace can take pressure off the part of your joint most affected by osteoarthritis and help relieve pain. If your knee feels like it might buckle when you put weight on it, a knee brace can also help you stand and move around with more confidence.

For osteoarthritis, a knee brace is usually combined with other treatments — such as medication and physical therapy.

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