Knee Brace Reduces Damage, Pain in Osteoarthritis Patients

For the first time, a scientific study has shown that a simple slip-on knee brace reduces bone marrow lesions and pain associated with osteoarthritis. “There is a pressing need for nonsurgical interventions for knee osteoarthritis, but there are no currently approved structure-modifying treatments,” said lead investigator David Felson, MD, from Boston University.

The 126 patients with painful knee osteoarthritis were randomized to wear a knee brace for a median of 7.35 hours per day for 6 weeks, or to not wear a brace. None of the patients participated in any exercise program over the course of the study. The primary outcome measure was change in pain score on a visual analog scale (with 0 indicating no pain and 100 indicating severe pain). Pain score during activity declined about 18 points in patients wearing the brace, but there was almost no change in patients not wearing the brace (P < .001).

There was substantial improvement in the brace group on the pain subscale of the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, but no improvement in the no-brace group. Session comoderator Mary Cronin, MD, said that when patients feel better, they are more mobile and more likely to exercise. “There is not much helpful treatment out there for knee osteoarthritis patients,” she added.

Read the full summary here: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/813572

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