Knee Braces to Ease Osteoarthritis

Knee Braces to Ease Osteoarthritis

For those who suffer from Osteoarthritis of the knee, the stiffness, pain, and limited mobility can really affect your overall quality of life.

A knee brace for osteoarthritis can help reduce pain. It does this by moving the weight off of the affected area of your knee thus reducing discomfort during activities like walking, stair climbing/descending and participating in sports.

Wearing a knee brace can help you get around more easily whether that’s going out with family, shopping, or gardening.

Here’s why…

Osteoarthritis is known as a degenerative condition involving the entire joint. It is commonly referred to as the wear and tear type of arthritis.

However, this disease typically affects one side of your knee more than the other. In some cases, pain can present in the medial compartment (inner part the knee) and in other cases, pain can present in the lateral compartment (outer part of the knee). When one of the compartments is more affected, it changes the way you move which can make your osteoarthritis pain progress.

A knee brace can lighten the weight from the damaged area, whether it be the medial or lateral compartment, taking the pressure off and relieving the pain.

Also for those that feel like their knee could give out or buckle, a knee brace can give you added support to stand and move with confidence.

What is Osteoarthritis courtesy of BeActive Physiotherapy and Wellness. (Read the caption)

Risks of wearing knee braces

Before we get into the details of how a knee brace can help, it should be known that there are a few risks of wearing a knee brace. Make sure to address these risks with the healthcare provider who helps fit your brace. Some of the more common risks include:

Stiffness – Since the brace shifts weight off of the damaged area and limits your movement, prolonged usage can cause joint stiffness.

Skin Irritation – Some people can experience skin redness from irritation when wearing a knee brace.

Discomfort – It can be uncomfortable wearing a knee brace if it fits poorly.

What happens during a knee brace fitting?

The right fit is key in order for the knee brace to work. To ensure this Physiotherapy or an Orthotist will:

  • Examine your knee to prescribe the right knee brace.
  • Ask about the activities you plan on doing with your knee brace.
  • Assess your movement without a knee brace.
  • Take measurements of your knee for the right fit
  • Let you try on a few models to find the best knee brace for you.

Once you and your therapist decide on a knee brace then they will show you how to put it on correctly.

Facts about Knee bracing courtesy of Clearwater Physical Therapy. (Read the caption)

Types of knee braces your therapist may recommend

If you are in the process of getting a custom made brace, it usually takes a couple of weeks to get your brace made. In the meantime here are some braces that can help while you’re waiting.

Sleeve Brace – this is the most common type of brace you will find. It provides support and compression which helps relieve pain while reducing swelling. It can also provide support to your knee.

Unloader knee Brace This brace is typically made of molded plastic, foam, and steel struts to provide more stability to your knee while allowing it to fully move through it’s range of motion. It shifts weight away from the damaged part of your knee, helping reduce your pain.

Web Brace – This brace literally looks like a web. The web-like design absorbs shock and shifts load away from your knee.

Also, Physiotherapy can slow down the progression of Osteoarthritis and help manage your symptoms. Therapists do this by teaching you how to properly use your joints and by prescribing specific joint-enhancing exercises. These are usually a combination of strengthening, stretching and function-based exercises.

To find a top Physiotherapy clinic near you just use the search box on this page.

Osteoarthritis pain relief exercises courtesy of BeActive Physiotherapy and Wellness. (Read the caption)


This appointment is your opportunity to tell us what hurts and discover whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care is a good fit for you! During this session, you will talk with a physiotherapist or chiropractor on a phone call (or online) and create the right care plan specifically for your pain. There is no obligation on this session is to find out whether physiotherapy or chiropractic care can help you getting back to doing the things you love in life.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • If overweight, lose weight to take the stress off of the knee. 
  • Exercise to make your joints and muscles stronger.
  • Temporarily use a brace to support your knee.
  • Complete physiotherapy to slow down the progression of the disease and improve your function.

Yes, walking is a great exercise because it’s low impact. It can help prevent your knee from getting stiff and weak.

Only if your therapist recommends it. Otherwise, you should not because it can weaken your knee. When you wear a knee brace certain muscles around the knee are worked less so they can atrophy. However, it should be used when completing activities that typically cause your knee pain.

About Taylor Sipos

Taylor is a physiotherapist at The Orthopaedic Therapy Clinic located in Toronto, Ontario. He treats patients with various musculoskeletal conditions using patient education, exercise therapy, manual therapy and acupuncture. His treatment philosophy involves giving his patient’s the means to self-manage their injuries. He does this through reassurance, education and health promotion. Taylor uses the same principles as a patient educator at Pain Hero. He aims to provide you with high-quality, easy to understand information to teach you about your condition and how to improve it.

Medical Disclaimer:

The information presented in this blog post is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, treatment or a diagnosis, consult with a medical professional such as one suggested on this website. The Clinic Accelerator Inc. and the author of this page are not liable for the associated risks of using or acting upon the information contained in this article.

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