Bracing & Shoe Inserts
An unloader knee brace presses against the side of the knee and keeping the knee straighter. This reduces the pressure and stress on the side of the knee where the pain is found. Although pain usually occurs in the medial (inside) compartment of the knee, an unloader brace can also be used for pain in the lateral (or outside) compartment.
Patients generally have less pain and greater function while using it. The brace may be worn as much or as little as desired. Improvement in symptoms occurs almost immediately, but the brace is generally only effective while it is being worn. The brace is fitted by a representative from the company. If properly worn, there should be no significant risks associated with it. Any brace worn too tightly, however, has the potential to cause blood clots.
Most insurance companies cover the cost of an unloader brace.
These simple and inexpensive shoe inserts feature a small wedge in the outer aspect that tilts the foot slightly outward. Similar to the unloader brace, this change straightens the alignment of the knee and reduces pressure and stress on the medial (inside) compartment of the knee. Wedges are also available to help pain and problems in the lateral (outside) compartment.
Shoe inserts provide effective relief of pain and pressure for most patients, but some patients find the inserts bothersome in their shoes. Shoe inserts are most effective in patients with mild knee pain, but can help reduce pain even in patients with more severe pain. There is no significant risk associated with using shoe inserts.