Unloader knee braces are prescribed for patients with unicompartmental osteoarthritis of the knee. These braces aim to reduce pain in patients by applying a coronal moment to the knee to unload the symptomatic knee compartment. However, existing unloading mechanisms use straps that go directly behind the knee joint, to apply the needed moment. This can impinge on the popliteal artery and peroneal nerves thereby causing discomfort to the patient. Hence, these braces cannot be worn for prolonged periods of time. This research focused on developing a new knee brace to improve comfort while unloading the osteoarthritic knee. A new knee brace was developed that uses a four-point bending approach to unload the knee. In this brace, unloading can be adjusted, and the unloading mechanism is away from the joint. The new brace was tested on a cadaver specimen to quantify its capability to unload the knee compartment. The brace was also worn by a patient with osteoarthritis who subjectively compared it to his existing unloader brace. During cadaver testing, the new brace design could reduce the force exerted on the medial condyle by 25%. Radiographic images of the patient's knee confirmed that the brace unloaded the medial condyle successfully. The patient reported that the new brace reduced pain, was significantly comfortable to wear and could be used for a longer duration in comparison to his existing brace.
New Adjustable Unloader Knee Brace and Its Effectiveness
University of Toronto,
43 Wellesley Street East,
Toronto, ON M4Y 1H1, Canada
Manuscript received November 8, 2016; final manuscript received October 16, 2017; published online November 22, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Elizabeth Hsiao-Wecksler.
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Hangalur, G., Bakker, R., Tomescu, S., and Chandrashekar, N. (November 22, 2017). "New Adjustable Unloader Knee Brace and Its Effectiveness." ASME. J. Med. Devices. March 2018; 12(1): 015001. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4038439
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