What supportive devices are available for osteoarthritis?
There are a number of supportive devices that can help to reduce the pain from osteoarthritis. Examples include finger or thumb splints, ankle braces, wrist braces, neck and back braces, knee braces, in-shoe orthotics, canes, walkers, crutches and in extreme cases, wheelchairs.
A supportive device can be a temporary measure or a permanent aide. Doctors and other healthcare professional trained in dealing with people with osteoarthritis can provide guidance on the appropriate supportive device, the correct use of the supportive device, the risks associated with the use of the supportive device and the role the supportive device plays in the overall treatment of osteoarthritis.
There are many different types of braces and supportive devices. Using the knee as an example, the following is how one type of brace can help reduce the pain from osteoarthritis of the knee:
An Unloader Type Brace for Osteoarthritis of the Knee
When one side of the knee is affected by osteoarthritis, the affected side can be the cause of significant pain. The goal of the unloader brace is to unload the weight from the affected side of the knee. If the inner side is affected, a brace is used to put more force on the healthy outer side of the knee and less force on the arthritic, inner side. The use of an unloader type of brace may delay or even prevent the need for surgery and allow people to participate in some of the activities they otherwise couldn’t participate in.
As noted above, doctors and other healthcare professional trained in dealing with people with osteoarthritis of the knee can provide guidance on whether an unloader brace is appropriate, the correct use of the brace, the risks associated with the use of the brace, and the role the brace plays in the overall treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee.