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Patellofemoral Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Is Reduced With Knee Brace

Good News For Those Suffering With Patellofemoral Osteoarthritis Pain!

In a study presented April 19, 2013 at the Osteoarthritis Research Society International meeting, researchers at The University of Manchester report that a light weight knee brace with a patella (knee cap) strap can significantly reduce the pain of patellofemoral osteoarthritis. This particular form of arthritis of the knee affects 25% of those suffering with knee pain.

pf-knee-pan

Patellofemoral Osteoarthritis pain is felt in the front of the knee and originates under the knee cap.

The study consisted of 126 people between the ages of 40 and 70 who has experienced daily arthritic knee pain over the past three months. The study lasted 12 weeks. Half of the people were put into a knee brace immediately, the other half were put into a brace at the 6 week half way point. At 6 weeks there was significant reduction in pain and stiffness for the patients wearing the brace, while the non-wearing brace group’s pain levels remained the same. At the end of 12 weeks both groups reported that pain and stiffness were greatly reduced.  Patients wore the brace 7 hours a day on average. Patients reported that the brace made their knee feel more secure, stable, and supported. Doctors theorize that feeling of security gave patients more confidence to move the knee more normally which improved muscle strength, knee function and symptoms. Another benefit of wearing the brace was that the knee cap returned to normal alignment. One of the preeminent causes of knee pain is misalignment of the patella. Treatment for patellofemoral osteoarthritis is pain medication and knee replacement surgery. Researchers hope that by wearing a knee brace the need for pain medications and joint surgeries will be greatly reduced. 

The Symptoms of Patellofemoral Osteoarthritis

  • Pain in the front of the knee
  • Pain going up and down stairs
  • Difficulty rising from a sitting position
  • Pain when squatting and kneeling
  • Popping and creaking of the knee
  • Knee often feels “out”
  • Knee feels weak
  • Pain is worse when walking on uneven ground or going up or down an incline.

The only way to diagnose PF osteoarthritis is with x-rays or digital imaging.

Knee Brace Used For Patellofemoral Osteoarthritis University of Manchester Study

Bio Skin Q Brace used on patients in the study

The brace used on patients in the University of Manchester study. Note the patella (knee cap) strap.

The knee brace used in the study was the Bioskin Patellar Tracking Q Brace which is available as a slip on brace or a front closure brace. The study noted that the patella strap was important as it provided support to the knee cap and possibly helped realign the knee cap in the trochlea groove, a groove or track which allows the knee cap to freely slide and move. If you are considering a knee brace it is imperative that you purchase the right one, in this case the brace must have the knee cap strap. It is also highly recommended that you measure your leg and buy the correct size according to instructions and charts which are provided on the website. If the brace is too small you risk affecting circulation and painful compression. If the brace is too large, it simply will not work.

Talk with your doctor about your treatment options if you have been diagnosed with patellofemoral osteoarthritis

Treatment for PF osteoarthritis is often pain medication, joint injections and knee replacement surgery. Due to the fact that this study is recent, your doctor may not be aware of the new findings. Be sure and ask about the knee brace option!

 

References:

University of Manchester

Research Study Participants Sheet (shows a picture of the brace used).

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