Thursday, March 17, 2011

Knee Osteoarthritis

What is it?

More than 10 million Americans have been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis making it the most common form of osteoarthritis in the US. Knee osteoarthritis is generally caused by the deterioration of articular cartilage in the knee. This particular type of cartilage is especially important because it provides a protective, wear resistant surface to the end of moving bones and without this protective layer, bones will experience undue wear and tear. Some of the most common causes of this condition include:

  • A Traumatic knee injury

  • Repetitive strain on the knee

  • Genetics

  • Obesity

What are the Symptoms?

Knee osteoarthritis typically develops gradually over a time and may include any of the following symptoms:

  • Localized pain (during or after activity)

  • Stiffness

  • Limited range of motion

  • Swelling

How is it Treated?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for knee osteoarthritis, but there are a variety of treatments for managing its symptoms. Some of these treatments include medications that can help relieve pain such as acetaminophen. Additionally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are helpful for reducing swelling and discomfort.

Knee Braces

Aside from medications, there are a variety of knee braces capable of relieving the symptoms commonly associated with knee osteoarthritis.

Knee Sleeves

Single-piece knee sleeves are characteristically made with neoprene and are the simplest type of knee brace available. This particular type of brace is slipped over the affected knee and provides warmth, compression and additional support. These braces are an excellent choice for mild to moderate osteoarthritis pain and may be purchased over the counter at most drug stores.

Unloader Braces

An unloader brace is a semi-rigid knee brace constructed from plastic. These braces feature metal struts located on either side of the leg which limits lateral knee movement and provides increased stability. Unloader braces are best suited for individuals suffering from severe osteoarthritis pain and discomfort.

These braces are also typically custom fit for the wearer and may be ordered from an orthotics store.

Whether purchasing a simple knee sleeve or an unloader brace, it’s important to always consult your health care provider prior to using any orthotic device.

About the Author: MMAR Medical Group Inc. is a supplier of shoes for diabetics, cold therapy systems and orthopedic medical products including a wide selection of medical support braces. For quality back braces, including a wide number lumbar and cervical braces, please visit

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