There are more than 100 types of arthritis, but the most common is osteoarthritis, also known as OA or degenerative joint disease (DJD). Knee osteoarthritis occurs when the rubbery cartilage that covers the ends of your bones breaks down. Normally, the cartilage provides a cushion between the bones, allowing them to glide smoothly over each other. When the cartilage deteriorates the bones may rub against each other, making it difficult and painful for the knee joint to move properly. Your physician may refer to this as “bone-on-bone” osteoarthritis. The exact cause of knee osteoarthritis is unknown, but contributing factors may include previous injury, aging, misalignment, genetics and obesity.
We offer various treatment options for all kinds of injuries, whether you have a healthy knee, mild OA, moderate OA, or even severe OA. The right brace for your knee depends on several factors, including the severity of your OA, your symptoms, and your lifestyle and activity level. The first step is to make an appointment with your primary care physician, who may refer you for a weight-bearing x-ray or may provide you with a referral to a specialist who has experience in managing OA. Often, once the x-ray report has been reviewed, your physician will prescribe a knee brace and other treatment options for you. Our Certified Orthotist will assess you to review what bracing options may address your specific needs and help you return to the activities you love. We offer various treatment options for all kinds of injuries, whether you have a healthy knee, mild OA, moderate OA, or even severe OA. Many private insurance plans and government programs will cover some if not all of the costs of the brace.
Pain Knee pain may progress from mild soreness and aching with movement to severe pain even during rest. OA can cause pain in several ways, including:
Irritation and pressure on the nerve endings of the bones.
Inflammation of the joint lining (synovitis).
Muscle tension and fatigue.
Loss of Easy Movement As the cartilage between bones wears away, the joint no longer glides smoothly. Eventually, the ends of the bones become rough and irregular, causing stiffness and lack of mobility. As a result, the muscles around the knee weaken, making movement difficult. The joint may feel locked or it may give way easily.
Grinding and “Popping” Sensations Loss of cartilage leads to friction in the joint that can create these uncomfortable sensations.
Swelling OA causes inflammation, which can lead to swelling and feelings of warmth around the joint.
Your doctor will typically determine whether you have OA based on your symptoms, medical history, a physical exam and knee X-rays. An MRI may be helpful in some cases to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other conditions.
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease that usually progresses slowly as you get older. While there is no cure for osteoarthritis, several treatments can help decrease pain and swelling, improve joint motion and muscle strength, and make it easier to perform everyday activities.
Bracing can help stabilize the joint, reduce pain and build stronger muscles, and in some cases, surgery may be recommended to repair or replace the damaged joint. OA pain often causes a person to be less active. In addition to weight gain, decreased activity can cause muscle weakness, which may lead to increased joint pain. Being unable to do your favourite activities can also leave you feeling frustrated and depressed.
Studies have shown that wearing an OA brace can increase daily functions and decrease pain. Patients diagnosed with OA who wear a knee brace may feel better in the morning, be more active during the day, and rest more comfortably at night. Some patients who remain active may experience weight loss and less pain. We offer a variety of braces to specifically manage the symptoms of OA including our in house designed and manufactured options plus designs from various global manufactures. Through a process called “off-loading” or shifting, these OA braces help relieve pain by redistributing the weight-bearing load from the damaged part of the knee to a stronger area.
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