A knee immobilizer, also known as our unloading knee brace, is a device for limiting the movement of the knee joint. It is commonly prescribed by physicians for patients who suffer a knee injury or undergo knee surgery. There are different types of knee immobilizers available. In this article, Fivalifitness will discuss situations where an unloader knee brace is needed, how it is worn, and what it does.
Conditions Requiring Unloading Knee Braces
Unloading knee braces are often used to treat conditions that cause knee pain and discomfort, such as osteoarthritis, meniscal tears, and ligament injuries. The following are some conditions that may require the use of an unloading knee brace:
- Osteoarthritis: A degenerative joint disease that causes the cartilage in the knee joint to break down over time. Unloading knee braces can help reduce the pressure on the affected area of the knee, relieving pain and discomfort.
- Meniscus Tears: Torn meniscus may be caused by a sudden twisting or bending of the knee, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness. An off-loading knee brace can help stabilize the knee joint and reduce pressure on the torn meniscus so it can heal.
- Ligament Injuries: The ligament is the tough, fibrous tissue that connects the bones within the knee joint. Injuries to the ligaments can cause pain, instability, and difficulty walking. An unloading knee brace can provide support and stability for the knee, reducing pain and improving mobility.
- Tendon injuries: The tendons are tough fibrous tissues connecting the muscles to the bone. Damage to tendons, such as patellar tendinitis, can cause pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the knee joint. Unloading knee braces help reduce the pressure on the affective tendon, allowing it to heal.
Types of Unloader Knee Brace
There are several types of off-loading knee braces on the market. The following are three common types of unloading knee braces:
- The medial unloading knee brace is intended to release pressure on the medial (inside) side of the knee joint. It works by gently pushing on the outside of the knee joint, which helps to shift the load-bearing burden away from the inside of the knee joint. Osteoarthritis and medial collateral ligament injuries are common disorders treated with medial unloader knee braces.
- Lateral Unloader Knee Brace: A knee brace that serves to relieve pressure on the lateral (outside) side of the knee. It works by gently pushing against the inside of the knee joint, which helps to move the weight-bearing stress away from the outside of the knee joint. The lateral unloader knee brace is often used to treat injuries to the lateral collateral ligament.
- Patellofemoral Unloader Knee Brace: A patellofemoral unloader knee brace is meant to alleviate the load on the patellofemoral joint (kneecap). It works by gently pushing on the patella, which helps it realign with the femur. Patella unloader knee braces are frequently used to treat patellofemoral discomfort syndrome and chondromalacia patellae.
Precautions and Considerations
While unloader knee braces can be effective in relieving pain and improving mobility, there are some precautions and considerations to keep in mind when using them. Here are some important points to consider:
- Follow the instructions provided by a healthcare professional or the manufacturer of the brace
- Ensure proper fit and adjustment of the brace
- Check for circulation and remove the brace immediately if there are signs of reduced blood flow
- Avoid excessive movement that could cause further injury
- Use in conjunction with other treatments, such as physical therapy or medication
- Gradually reduce the amount of time wearing the brace when it is time to stop using it