Knee Braces Can Help Improve Pain and Function in Patients with Medial Knee Osteoarthritis

In six randomized studies that included 445 patients, a small but statistically significant benefit was seen for the valgus brace on pain, with a standardized mean difference (SMD) of 0.33 (95% CI 0.13-0.52, P=0.001), according to Trevor B. Birmingham, PhD, and colleagues from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario.

There also was a significant improvement for function, with an SMD of 0.22 (95% CI 0.02-0.41, P=0.03), the researchers reported online in Arthritis Care and Research. “Braces that apply a valgus torque to the knee are intended to shift load from the medial compartment, and thereby improve pain and function. Although numerous studies suggest valgus knee bracing can alter joint biomechanics to varying extents, the related effects on pain and function are unclear,” they wrote.

In the studies that compared the valgus brace with no orthosis, moderate improvements with the brace were seen for pain, with an SMD of 0.56 (95% CI 0.03-1.09, P=0.04), and for function, with an SMD of 0.48 (95% CI 0.02-0.95, P=0.04). In studies that compared the valgus brace with another type of orthosis, the brace again was associated with improvements in pain, with an SMD of 0.33 (95% CI 0.08-0.58, P=0.01), though not for function (SMD 0.19, 95% CI -0.03 to 0.42, P=0.09).

Full article with study links is available here: http://www.medpagetoday.com/Orthopedics/Orthopedics/47621

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