Unloader bracing should be routine and the first part of orthopedic knee arthritis care regardless of other recommended treatments because it is the only treatment that addresses the critical, underlying mechanical issues responsible for generating the inflammatory response in joint fluid which is responsible for your knee pain.
Arthritic knee pain begins as a mechanical disease that typically results from decades of joint mal-alignment combined with loading (force) placed on the joint during impact activity. Unloader bracing offsets this phenomenon and should be considered in every patient with arthritis involving the medial OR lateral compartment. Unloader bracing has been shown to be very effective and scientifically proven to relieve symptoms in dozens of clinical protocols.
Biologic cell based injection treatments are often over-simplified as “stem cell treatments” due to widespread gaps in the physician’s understanding of immunologic cell signaling pathways. In addition to addressing the biology of the disease, surgeons should always consider the utility of unloader bracing as part of a comprehensive joint restoration protocol.
We use a specific, best-in-class knee unloader brace that most clinics won’t. The high-performance braces are expensive for clinics to use (not the patient) and compromise clinic profitability. When recommended as a treatment modality, group practices typically prescribe patients a cheaper brace due to the better distribution margins promised to the group practice. Unloader bracing is reimbursed by third party payers at the same rate regardless of brand. We think patients deserve the best brace and the best treatment possible, particularly for expensive treatments like stem cell therapy for arthritis.
We have over 14 year of exclusive experience with the Ossur cartilage unloader rebound and unloader fit braces. We have used them in all of our knee cartilage cases. These braces are at the highest end of the performance spectrum and used by professional athletes all over the world. They are well tolerated by all walks of life even for extended periods of time. After recommended periods of bracing, patients may be prescribed custom arch-support orthotics with appropriately stacked medial or lateral heel wedges that continue to unload the knee joint, extending and enhancing positive clinical results.
Treating knee pain is a two fold process of addressing not only what is going on inside the joint but also addressing what is happening on the outside in how the joint is aligned.