Best Knee Brace for Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint condition that affects a tremendous amount of people. As we discuss below, one of the best ways to treat osteoarthritis, especially knee osteoarthritis, is to keep moving. However, it's understandable why this can be difficult for those suffering from the pain brought on by osteoarthritis, and therefore, we would like to provide some of our top picks for the best braces for knee osteoarthritis.
Keep in mind that it's always a good idea to chat with your doctor first about any potential treatment for such conditions. If activity is recommended, these braces may be helpful in providing additional stability and pain relief while you get back on your feet, or maybe your doctor will have specific recommendations as well. In any case, these picks will provide a snapshot of the different types of braces for knee osteoarthritis, as well as how they differ in function and cost.
Below our reviews you will find more information about knee osteoarthritis in general, so feel free to check out that information if you would like to learn more.
Reviews - Best Knee Braces for Osteoarthritis
The Ultra Flex Athletics knee support is one of the best braces for knee osteoarthritis when factoring in the cost, basically meaning there's great value here. To be clear, none of these braces will actually treat or fully prevent further osteoarthritis, but they can certainly help mitigate any pain and swelling, and in the case of osteoarthritis, this is highly beneficial when trying to keep moving. Moving is on of the most recommended treatment methods for osteoarthritis, so this knee support can come in handy for lots of different individuals.
There isn't anything overly fancy about this compressive knee support, but for many individuals this can be a good thing. The lightweight and easy to use design makes it a convenient option for many different situations, it can be easily worn under clothing, and it's also way cheaper than a lot of more robust knee braces for osteoarthritis.
The compression promotes a reduction in inflammation and swelling, it can stimulate blood flow in combination of your daily movement, and the material provides thermal action without making your leg feel too hot. It's breathable textured neoprene and the anti-slip silicone will prevent annoying slippage of the knee support throughout the day.The 4-way stretch is a nice feature, as it allows for an anatomical fit on a wide variety of knee shapes and sizes, and it also leads to multiple angles of compression
Overall, we would highly recommend this knee support system for osteoarthritis if you are looking for something that just adds a little extra support and keeps the pain and swelling down throughout the day. It's very affordable, and while you don't get maximum stability or pinpoint targeted compression, it could be an ideal option for those looking for something convenient to wear throughout the day, or when engaging in physical activity, without dealing with an overly rugged design that may not be the most suitable for minor osteoarthritic pain and swelling. If you are unsure what category you fall into, we simply suggest chatting about it with your doctor first.
The Tech Ware Pro knee brace has an open patella design and is a smaller, sleeker knee brace than a knee brace with hinged support. This means that it may be more useful to someone with a less acute/serious injury requiring some stabilization (but not tons), or an injury that is further along in the recovery process.
Several customers have commented on durability of the brace, noting that the material is tough and long-lasting, but doesn’t restrict movement and natural range of motion or cause chaffing an wear to the skin below. Additionally, the bi-lateral support straps are a nice touch, as this instills confidence for a good symmetrical fit. Many knee braces of this type will come with uni-lateral support straps, which are usually fine, but when used improperly can lead to unbalanced support.
One downside is that the Tech Ware Pro only comes in two sizes – large and extra-large. While they state that the large will fit most individuals, it likely won't provide the most snug and anatomical fit for smaller, younger athletes or women.
Overall, this is a very well-liked knee brace that offers great value. While it doesn't provide the absolute support of a solid hinged knee brace, it definitely packs a punch for its size, providing a surprising amount of all-around support. This knee brace could be a great option for those with osteoarthritis looking for something with solid stability without getting anything too bulky. Again, just double-check with your doctor or physiotherapist that this is a suitable knee brace for your particular knee condition. If so, then we highly recommend it!
The WinZone osteoarhtritis knee support is very similar to the Tech Ware Pro knee brace that we reviewed above. It's made of a 100% neoprene material that doesn't get too hot or uncomfortable throughout the day, but it does provides ample support.
This knee brace is very well-reviewed by those suffering from osteoarthritis, but unfortunately, the design isn't overly friendly for those who may consider themselves big and tall (e.g. well over 6 feet and 200 lbs). It can still be worn by larger individuals, but the strapping and padding tends to bunch up on the backside of the leg in these instances.
Otherwise, this knee brace provides general compression and support that can really make a difference throughout the day, especially for those with osteoarthritis. The price range is still in the low-to-moderate range for these types of items, so it's nice on the wallet. Another convenient aspect of the WinZone knee brace is that it's really convenient to put on and take off, and it's entirely machine washable, so you can keep it clean without much hassle.
Overall, we would recommend this knee brace to those with osteoarthritis and are looking for a little added support from all directions, a relatively slim design, and something that's convenient both in terms of purchasing and managing. If you're a larger individual, it may be less effective for you, and if you have sever osteoarthritis that requires lots of stability and targeted compression you may want to look around a little bit at some other options.
Compared to other knee braces that have a more basic fabric style design, the VertaLoc Max Osteoarthritis knee brace was designed with arthritic knees in mind. It's also useful for medial meniscus tears, mild to severe ligament instabilities, and closed fractures of the patella (knee-cap).
The VertaLoc Max osteoarthritis knee brace helps people get back to an active lifestyle by offering substantial stability and easing pain throughout knee movements. This is considered to be a double vertical orthosis, and while it sounds complicated, it's pretty easy to use and can be quite comfortable.
Specifically, it's designed to stabilize and control mild to moderate levels of medial/lateral (side-to-side) movement, and its adjustable hinges allow for customized preferred range of motion. The limits for knee flexion and extension can set by yourself, or your practitioner, and your knee is free to move within those limits. The main downside is it's a little bulkier, and while the adjustment is easy, it requires an allen key to adjust the range of motion (this knee brace comes with one).
Overall, this is a great knee brace for those who really need some added stability and would like to have complete control over the range of motion, placing limits on the endpoints defined either by themselves or their practitioner. The VertaLoc Max Osteoarthritis knee brace is a little bulkier than designs that offer less stability, but this is made up for by the added control. Furthermore, it's more expensive than basic level knee supports, but obviously this should be expected when more technical manufacturing processes are involved, as well as a more specific product in general. Therefore, it still offers good value, especially for those who need solid support and defined range of motion, but it may be a bit much for some people who just need a little bit of compression or support.
DonJoy is a very reliable knee brace company that offers many different types and styles of knee braces. Their Everyday Osteoarthritis Knee Brace is arguably their easiest-to-use knee brace and is ideally suited for activities of daily living.
This is an excellent osteoarthritis knee brace, as the 3-point load system shifts compressive knee joint forces from the senstive area to the healthy compartment. The Telescoping Condyle Pad offers up to 6 degrees of correction, which allows the user to adjust the load according to their activity level.Additionally, the complicated-looking design is actually pretty easy to use, as the swiveling quick-release buckles makes it easy to put on and take off, and also accommodates leg movement.
Given this osteoarthritis knee brace provides more targeted compression than a lot of other knee braces, it's highly recommended that you have a good sense of where in your knee the osteoarthritis is occurring, especially in terms of pain. For example, if you need to offload the medial (inside) side of the knee, then the hinge should be placed on the lateral side, and vice versa.
Overall, this is arguably one of the best knee braces for osteoarthritis, as it provides very targeted compression and solid lateral support, all in a lightweight design that is actually quite slim and sleek compared to lots of other knee braces of this level. The main downside is that it's very expensive, but if this is something you and your doctor agree could be beneficial for you knee osteoarthritis, then we definitely recommend it.
What causes osteoarthritis?
The human body has many different types of joints. For example, the connection between each vertebra in the spine is a joint, the knuckles are joints, and of course, the highly injured knee is a joint. There are so many different joints in the body that there are many classifications based on what type of tissue is involved, as well as what types of movement they allow.
Osteoarthritis typically occurs in synovial joints. These joints are characterized by a joint cavity between the bones, which is filled with a nourishing and lubricating fluid called synovial fluid. The knee, which is the largest joint in the body, is an excellent example of a synovial joint. The joint cavity lies between the femur (thigh) and the tibia (shin), and is where you will find commonly known structures like the ACL and PCL, and the MCL and LCL which lie more exterior and on the sides of the knee.
The hips and knees are highly vulnerable to osteoarthritis, as they are highly mobile and carry the body’s weight on top of that. The latter is the main reason why osteoarthritis is way more common in the lower limbs than in the upper limbs.
The breakdown in articular cartilage is essentially what osteoarthritis is. Minor/early osteoarthritis can be potentially difficult to detect by the person experiencing it, as the joint pain often occurs after activity, which can be present for lots of different reasons. However, as the disease advances and more of the cartilage is broken down, the pain increases to a point where the person’s lifestyle is probably negatively affected. In the most advanced forms of osteoarthritis, the person is left with bone-on-bone contact, which can be extremely painful.
The body tries to deal with arthritis by protecting the compromised joint. This typically occurs in the increased presence of stiffness, which usually prevents people from moving the joint as often as they did before. This in turn can create a positive feedback loop.
For example, as a person’s knee becomes more and more stiff due to osteoarthritis, they may not be as willing to partake in activity, even if it is of a non-weight-bearing nature. Over time, they may lose flexibility and strength, and when combined with the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis, one can become less mobile in a relatively short amount of time.
Does everyone get osteoarthritis?
If osteoarthritis is caused by the gradual breakdown of cartilage over time, doesn’t that mean everyone should get it? Theoretically, if we all lived long enough, then I guess we would. However, aside from daily habits and general lifestyle, there are some things that can put people more at risk of developing osteoarthritis.
People who have experienced injuries to a particular joint are more likely to develop osteoarthritis further along down the road. Let’s take the knee joint for example. If some injures the structures within the knee, this can compromise the stability and function, ultimately leading to a higher risk of osteoarthritis. For example, injury to the meniscus, which is an additional fibrous pad that further helps with shock absorption and knee stability, can create a situation where there is now more stress placed on the bones of the joint, and therefore the articular cartilage.
One thing students in clinical professions often hear is if you have knee surgery, it’s not about if you will get osteoarthritis, but when. Knee surgery often required penetrating the joint capsule, for example, when surgically repairing the ACL. Furthermore, some knee surgeries simply remove structures, like that of certain injuries to the meniscus. If this is the case, then the person would definitely be more prone to osteoarthritis.
Other factors that can increase the risk of osteoarthritis include being overweight or obese, as this will place more load on the joints. Genes also play a role, placing some people at a more naturally susceptible level than others, and unfortunately, there isn’t much that can be done about this. However, for much of the population, osteoarthritis can be prevented or mitigated to a large degree.
Can you prevent or treat osteoarthritis?
Given the huge prevalence of osteoarthritis, a significant amount of money is now being put towards researching ways of further understanding, preventing, and treating osteoarthritis. Whether it be stem cell therapies or other treatments, it’s promising to know so many brilliant minds are working on it. However, for now, it’s probably safest to think of osteoarthritis as something that can’t be fully cured, but rather, the symptoms can be prevented or mitigated.
Physical activity is arguably the best way to treat osteoarthritis. However, you may recall that the effects of osteoarthritis often make it difficult for people to want to move the osteoarthritic joint. This doesn’t mean you have to partake in intense training regimes, but rather, simply keep moving. This can include things like going for walks, cycling around the neighborhood, or going to the gym and watching some TV while you ride a stationary bike or use a treadmill. Whatever you can do to keep moving without causing yourself more pain has compound effects, as you will also be preventing gaining weight, which itself is a factor in the development of osteoarthritis.
In summary, moving around is one of the best forms of treatments for osteoarthritis. If possible, strengthening the muscles around the joint (e.g. quads and hamstrings around the knee joints) will help provide further stability, and doing some stretching can help promote flexibility, which will increase your range of motion. Cardiovascular exercise, like waling or cycling, can be great not just for the joint itself, but to also keep off any unwanted weight and to keep energy levels high enough to keep you motivated and on the right track.
It’s worth mentioning that there are other treatments for osteoarthritis as well, such as medications and surgery; however, these should always be discussed with your doctor first, and therefore, we don’t feel that this is the appropriate place to be going into detail about that.