Journal of Orthopaedic Research Volume 38, Issue 10 p. 2262-2271

Three‐month efficacy of three knee braces in the treatment of medial knee osteoarthritis in a randomized crossover trial

Xavier Robert‐Lachaine Yoann Dessery Étienne L. Belzile Sylvie Turmel Philippe Corbeil

Immediate biomechanical and functional effects of knee braces are often reported, however, the duration and type of knee brace treatment for knee osteoarthritis (KOA) remain unclear. The objective was to evaluate usage, comfort, pain, and knee adduction moment (KAM) of three knee braces each worn 3 months by patients. Twenty‐four patients with KOA were assigned in a randomized crossover trial a valgus three‐point bending system brace (V3P‐brace), an unloader brace with valgus and external rotation functions (VER‐brace) and a stabilizing brace used after ligament injuries (ACL‐brace). Functional questionnaires and gait assessment were carried out before and after each brace wear period of 3 months. A Friedman test was applied between brace wear diary recordings. Repeated measures analyses of variance contrasted the factors brace type (ACL, V3P, and VER), time (pre and post) and wear (without and with) on comfort, pain, function, and KAM. Brace usage was similar, but the V3P‐brace was slightly less worn. Discomfort was significantly lowered with the VER‐brace. All knee braces relieved pain and symptoms from 10% to 40%. KAM angular impulse was reduced with the three braces, but the VER‐brace obtained the lowest relative reduction of 9%. The interaction between time and wear indicated that part of the KAM reduction with brace wear was maintained post treatment. All three knee braces have great benefits for pain and function among the medial KOA population. The VER‐brace offers additional advantages on daily use, comfort and KAM, which could improve compliance to brace treatment.

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