Doctors recommend that their patients with knee osteoarthritis participate in low-impact exercise that strengthens the thigh muscles. These patients also should lose weight if they are overweight, since those excess pounds put more strain on the knees. Devices like Mueller braces and supports also are helpful for keeping the knee stable, restricting its movement to prevent twisting, and reducing the pain associated with cartilage deterioration.
Categories and Specializations
There are several categories of knee braces and supports designed for different purposes, such as braces for people recovering from an injury and those trying to prevent the recurrence of an injury in the future. Within those categories are further specializations.
For arthritis patients, some devices from a supplier such as Mueller Sports Medicine provide a great deal of support and some a more moderate amount. Some are intended for daily use for people with relatively minor but still bothersome symptoms. They might have jobs that require them to be on their feet a lot, and the supports are helpful.
Physical therapists can design an exercise program for patients with the goal of improving their symptoms. The activities can't repair the damaged cartilage, but can strengthen the thigh, the knee joint and the calves. Flexibility also can be improved through this exercise program. The therapist advises the patient on the best knee support equipment for his or her particular disorder and the severity of it.
Walking, moderate-level biking and swimming are examples of typical recommendations. Doctors and therapists generally advise these patients to avoid activities that require pivoting and jumping. That can be troubling for people who love playing racquetball, basketball and certain other sports. Some knee braces are designed to help restrict knee movement during these kinds of activities.
Developing a Plan
Developing a plan with the assistance of a doctor and a physical therapist can be very successful at limiting the progress of knee osteoarthritis and improving the person's symptoms. By the time someone is dealing with ongoing knee pain much of the time, scheduling an appointment with a doctor for an evaluation is recommended.
Knee Replacement Surgery
Eventually, the patient may need knee replacement surgery if the cartilage continues to deteriorate. Especially when people work jobs in which they stand, walk or kneel much of the time, knee arthritis can become quite severe. Some patients will be advised to wear a knee brace as they recover because they must restrict the degree of bending for the joint.