The unloader knee brace is one of the physical therapies to mitigate the knee pain associated with arthritis in the knee and this makes the best unloader knee brace for arthritis a vital topic to discuss.
Arthritis in the knee joint can be broadly classified into two based on the causes. Knee arthritis that results from the degeneration of the cartilage, that is, the wear and tear of the cartilage of the knee joint are referred to as osteoarthritis.
Also, there is another type of arthritis in the knee that results from the chronic disease that attacks the knee joint leading to inflammation of the synovial membrane that covers the knee joint. This type is also common and popularly referred to as the rheumatoid arthritis of the knee.
The best treatment your doctor will administer will depend on the type of arthritis you have. Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease and is common due to aging. This type cannot be cured but the pain can be effectively managed.
Furthermore, the cartilage can also get damaged due to an accident. The severity of the injury will determine if you only need the best unloader knee brace and other physical therapies or you will have to pass through surgery.
Types of Arthritis
There is a need to understand what arthritis in the knee is all about and this will be discussed in the types of arthritis. There are hundreds of knee arthritis but we will be discussing two which is the most common knee arthritis. Rheumatoid arthritis and Osteoarthritis are the most common knee arthritis.
This type of arthritis results from the immune system attacking its tissue, leading to inflammation and swelling of the tissues and ligament in the knee joints and that is why it is referred to as an autoimmune disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease and it can attack many joints in the body from the ankle, back, wrist and mostly knee joint, leading to excruciating pain in the knee and stiffness of the joint.
In summary, the immune system attacks and damages the synovial membrane which protects the cartilage, ligaments and other tissues in the knee joint. This synovial membrane also produces the fluid that acts as a lubricant in the knee joint for easy movement.
When this membrane is attacked, it swells up thereby causing pain. This swelling can damage the cartilage and ligaments that hold and keep the bones in the knee joint, thereby leading to bone-on-bone – a condition where the cartilage separating the bones degenerated, leading to the bone lying on each other with little or no cartilage separating them.
Osteoarthritis – Degenerative arthritis
Unlike rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis is more of degenerative disease as it comes due to the aging factor. Though osteoarthritis is more common to older folks, you are more susceptible if you are 50 years old or more.
However, young folks can also have osteoarthritis due to injuries, infection, overweight and hereditary. Osteoarthritis in younger folks is due to injury more than every other cause and that is why it is also most times referred to as wear and tear arthritis.
Read more about osteoarthritis from our article on the best knee brace for bone-on-bone.
Symptoms of Knee Arthritis
When the knee joint is affected by arthritis, the most common symptoms are the excruciating knee pain and inflammation of the knee joint. Arthritis due to gradual wear and tear of the cartilage will not suddenly lead to much pain; the pain will come gradually till it finally becomes severe. Other symptoms of arthritis include:
- Stiffness of the knee joint. The cartilage ensures there is no friction by separating and properly holding the knee bones in position. When there are wear and tear, the bones lie on each other, causing friction, thereby leading to an inability to bend the knee joint.
- Pain and Swelling. Arthritis causes a reduction in lubrication of the knee joint. The bones lying on each other will cause much pain and there will also be swelling around the knee joints.
- Non-weight bearing. The knee joint will become weak and you will not be able to put bodyweight on it. You might need to get mobility aids like crutches when such happens.
See also: Best crutches for non-weight bearing
Treatments of Knee Arthritis
Arthritis in the knee cannot be cured but can be effectively managed to reduce the pain. There are different treatment procedures you will likely go through for arthritis. It can be broadly classified into two:
These therapies are much more effective when the condition is still at a less severe stage. There are some physical therapies that you can go through to effectively mitigate the pain.
- Best Knee Brace for Arthritis. Getting good support for the knee joint is effective in mitigating knee pain. An unloader knee brace is capable of shifting the weight of the body way from the knee, thereby considerably reducing the pain. Other simple knee braces can also give compression and support to the knee joint.
- Regular Exercise. There are some exercises you can do to strengthen a bad knee. They will help you get back on your feet, strengthen the knee components and ultimately reduce pain resulting from arthritis in the knee. Regular exercise will also help you burn fat, thereby reducing excessive weight placed on the knee joint
- RICE (Rest, Icing, Compression and Elevation) is a physical therapy that has been proven to be very effective in relieving pain from any bone, tissues, joint, and other physical injuries.
They are devices that can be used to reduce the weight you put on the weak foot.
- The Best Unloader Knee Brace for Arthritis: these types are heavy-duty and stronger than basic brace. They give lateral and medial support to the knee, taking the weight of the body away from them. Unloader knee brace also ensures that the bones lie straight in their correct position, thereby significantly reducing the pain felt.
- Best Crutches and its alternatives: crutches and other crutches alternatives are used to reduce or take away bodyweight from the leg. Wheelchair, canes, rollator walkers are common crutches alternatives.
Surgery and Drugs
In other severe conditions, your doctor might suggest surgery and administer some pain relief drugs. Surgery is mostly opted for in extreme conditions where other remedies seem not to work. It is mostly the last option.
Some drugs can help in the treatment of arthritis. We will not be mentioning them here as we advise you to visit your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment options.
How to Choose the Best Unloader Knee Brace for Osteoarthritis
Selecting the best unloader knee brace might be complicated and confusing when you do not know what features to look out for in the knee brace. Here are some features to look out for when selecting the best unloader knee brace.
Your thigh size might probably fluctuate due to regular exercise leading to weight loss. This makes it vital for you to select a knee brace that can easily adjust to the size of your thigh. Ensure its straps can be customized and its padding interchangeable as these are important to ensure you can adjust the knee brace to fit your knee size no matter the changes in your physical body.
With an unloader knee brace, you should get the best stability for your unstable knee caused by arthritis. You will feel instability more when you walk, hiking or going up and down the stairs or hill. The unloader knee brace you should go for must give side-by-side stability to eliminate inward and outward collapsing of the knee joint. you should look more into the material used in making the knee brace as that will determine how to string nd more stability it can give the knee joint.
Top 5 Best Unloader Knee Brace for Osteoarthritis
If you need something to support your knee, especially for osteoarthritis patients, without limiting proper knee movement, then you should consider this knee brace.
The best thing about this medical device is its ergonomic features and sturdy construction combined with lightness in weight. It is built in a way that you can easily adjust its part, the fitness and the amount of support you want.
So, if you are dealing with arthritis and you need something to reduce the weight you put on the knee joint, Orthomen OA Unloading Knee Brace is good at ensuring that by giving perfect support and also helping to properly align your knee joint.
Please note that this is a lateral knee brace and cannot give you medial support – that is a push from the inside. Ensure you contact your doctor and be sure about the type of unloader knee brace you need – lateral or medial unloader knee brace.
This knee brace has its strong point at allowing the wearer to walk normally with no hindrance and reduction of pain. It is a good product and we recommend this.
This is a very effective and easy to use osteoarthritis knee brace and one of the best available. It is made in different sizes and the sizing chart is made available on the order page to allow you to choose the right and correct size.
You are also in control and can easily adjust to your fit. Its quick-release straps make it easy to put on and off. The telescoping pad applies a load across the center of the knee joint with a reaction or counter-force at the cuffs.
DonJoy OA Everyday Osteoarthritis Knee Brace does not only give the best support to the knee joint but doing it without constituting dead weight makes it stands out. It is vital to select the correct side – left or right as it is made differently for more effectiveness.
Choosing the correct size is also easy; you only have to measure the circumference of your thigh 6-inches above the knee, exactly at the mid patella. Compare your measurement with the sizing chart on the order page.
It is one of the available unloader knee braces and it is suitable for knee osteoarthritis, especially for medial compartmental osteoarthritis. You will get your perfect fit size as it is made in different sizes from x-small to xx-large for both right and left knee.
Comfort is essential as your weak knee is supported and this is taken into consideration in its construction. Through its innovative AirTech frame pads, cool airflow is permitted, leaving the skin fresh by removing excess heat and moisture.
Breg Fusion OA Plus Osteoarthritis Knee Brace is low-profile and comfortable to wear. It also will not interfere with your movement and that makes it a good unloader knee brace for arthritis.
You can also use it with a compression sleeve as that will be an added advantage, giving compression to reduce swelling around the arthritic knee. The Breg’s exclusive adjustable hinge technology also provides an effective valgus load to the knee.
The medical knee brace is commonly prescribed for folks with osteoarthritis, tear of medial meniscus, mild to severe ligament instabilities, rheumatoid arthritis, meniscal cartilage derangement, and various sprains and strains to relieve the symptoms and knee pains.
Read also: Best knee brace for a meniscus tear
HHORD Knee Brace has an adjustable hinge with rotational control for bending adjustment and security lock. This rotational control features bend adjustment to make you control how much you want it to bend when you walk.
The knee brace combines strength with lightweight to deliver well-rounded stability to the unstable knee. Its frame is made with lightweight steel with four adjustable straps to ensure customized and perfectly fit the user. We believe it is one of the best unloader knee braces for osteoarthritis.
If you need an unloader knee brace for your arthritic knee that will not interfere with your movement, especially for osteoarthritis, then you should consider this knee brace as it is one of the best unloader knee braces for arthritis.
The knee brace is capable of supporting your unstable knee, adjusting the weight of the body away from the weak knee, to reduce pain resulting from arthritis. It is not ambidextrous, so you have to purchase left and (or) right leg separately.
The OA Reliever – Unloading Osteoarthritis Adjustable Knee Brace is light in weight to allow the comfort of the user and encourage all-day wearing. It features Valgus and Varus adjustments to fit individual alignment and it is also ideal for unilateral compartment osteoarthritis knee users.
Read more about back osteoarthritis here, its causes, symptoms, and treatment suggestion
Top 10 Best Ankle Brace for Arthritis Pain and Support
The knee brace is an open patella designed knee brace for support and stability of the knee and one of the best knee braces for arthritis. It has bi-directional straps that support the knee joint in every direction, holding it in place and giving correct compression to relieve knee pain from arthritis.
Apart from using for rehabilitation purposes, it can be used to prevent knee injuries you might be susceptible to during workout, sporting activities or during work period especially for folks who work in a stressful environment.
TechWare Pro Knee Brace Support is made in different sizes to allow the buyers to choose the best fit for their knees. It is also a suitable choice for both men and women and can be worn on both the right and left knees.
It has great numbers of positive reviews and it is readily affordable. The comfort is also top-notch as it is made with breathable and moisture-wicking material that helps in the proper removal of excess heat and moisture to encourage all-day wearing
This is no doubt one of the best-hinged knee braces with huge dual hinges at both sides that encourage stable knee and also allow free movement. It is one of our choices for the best knee brace for arthritis and other weak knee conditions like ACL, LCL and meniscus tear.
It gives both lateral and medial support to the knee and that makes it suitable for a lot of knee conditions like lateral, medial and ligaments instability, minor patella instability, arthritis, and more.
Shock Doctor Maximum Support Compression Knee Brace is also made in different sizes for the perfect fitness of the user. Also, it is comfortable to use and allows you to move freely with its four-way stretch Lycra mesh and pre-curved anatomical design. it is also ambidextrous and can be used for the left and right knee.
The knee brace has been bought by a lot of people on Amazon with many having a lot of beautiful comments for its effectiveness and comfort. It is one of the best knee braces for arthritis. It is made with premium material, breathable and will not cause itching.
There are three sizes available – medium, large and x-large which have to be chosen in correlation with your knee circumference. You must check the sizing chart to correctly choose for your knee.
The knee brace supplies lateral and medial support to the knee in a very comfortable atmosphere. Its reinforced double stitching ensures durability while its strong and adjustable Velcro straps ensure stability and customized fit for the user.
EzyFit Knee Brace Support is a good one for arthritis. Its straps are bi-directional, wrapping the knee joint from all directions and angles to ensure it stays firmly in place while you move.
The knee brace is made with neoprene and it is 3.5 mm in thickness and also easy to wash for re-use without losing its strength and effectiveness.
You can also wear for a long time as it supports all-day wearing through breathable material, removing excess heat and retaining therapeutic heat. Excess moisture is also removed to keep the skin fresh all day.
This is also an open-patella knee brace engineered to relieve pain associated with arthritis, aching joints, as well as aid recovery from meniscus injuries, patella injuries, and runner’s knee. It is one of the best knee braces for arthritis.
Also, it is suitable to prevent you from getting injured as it is made with premium material and nicely constructed. It features non-slip design for ultimate comfort and support.
Neo G Knee Brace is suitable for everyday activities and sports including running, hiking, walking, skiing, tennis, football, basketball, and soccer.
The knee brace is one size fits all as it will fit almost all knee sizes. Its adjustable straps ensure you can adjust to your fit and that also ensures customized fit and compression. It can be used on both left and right knee.
It is one of the most purchased on Amazon and it is registered in international regulatory bodies such as MHRA (UK), FDA (US) and Health Canada.
Shock Doctor is among the popular orthopedic brace maker and this particular knee brace is one of the best you can get to relieve arthritic pain in the knee.
The brace is also a hinged knee brace with the open patella. You will get the best support all around the knee joint to stabilize and strengthen weak knees.
Shock Doctor 870 Knee Brace is very comfortable to use. The four-way stretch lycra mesh at the back of the knee and premium stitching assemble and patella support ensure long-lasting comfort. Its material is also latex-free so that folks who react to latex can use it comfortably.
It is made in different sizes to perfectly fit the user – small to xx-large. The adjustable straps also ensure customized fit coupled with a pre-curved anatomical design that ensures the brace snug fitted unto the knee joint.
The knee brace will retain therapeutic heat and remove excess heat that could lead to discomfort. Excess moisture is also removed through its airflow vented neoprene.
You need a knee brace that can stabilize and also give a correct proportion of compression to not only help the weak knee but also reduce swelling and inflammation which are also signs of arthritis.
The knee brace is one size fits all; however, ensure your knee falls within the range before selecting the brace. Do not consider the brace if your calf size is more than 20-inches in circumference.
EXOUS Knee Brace Support Protector is also very easy to use, its unique 4-way compression system ‘hugs’ your knee from every angle and it gives both lateral and medial support to the knee joint and that makes it a good choice and one of the best knee braces for arthritis.
The brace stays perfectly fit in place and you will not need to adjust and readjust when used. Unlike other knee braces, it has four straps for better stability and fitness. It is also built to give the best comfort to the user through its breathable material and comfort gap.
Cold and hot therapy is one of the best ways to relieve arthritic pain in the knee and getting a knee brace with allowance for gel pack will be an added advantage for knee bruises, strains, sprains, and tendonitis.
The knee brace can be very cold when freeze, so we encourage you to monitor the time you put it in a freezer and if possible, do not use it directly in your skin to prevent frostbite.
Shock Doctor ICE Pack Recovery Compression Knee Wrap Brace has its gel pack staying perfectly fit to the user. The gel pocket has flaps on both sides and when the gel pack is frozen, it stays perfectly fitted.
You can also buy different sizes and even adjust to your preferences. Customizing fitness is essential for comfort and effectiveness. It is one of the best knee braces for arthritis and other knee problems and our favorite knee brace with hot and cold therapy options.
This latex-free knee brace is also one of the best for knee arthritis. It is made with neoprene, soft and comfortable on the skin of the user. It is best for relieving knee pain and other knee injuries symptoms. Also, it aids faster recovery.
There are about six different sizes available and selecting the correct size for your knee is vital to getting the optimum effectiveness from the brace. Measure the circumference of the knee from the knee cap region while your knee joint is bent at 45-degrees. Compare your result with the sizing chart to correctly select the size.
Mcdavid Knee Brace, Knee Support & Compression for Knee Stability is not suitable for severe injury. It does not have metal side stabilizers but rigid plastic stays, so, we do not recommend it if your knee requires much external stability.
The knee brace can also be considered for protection and injury prevention when engaging in active sports like running, skiing, volleyball, basketball and other activities.
Read also: Best knee brace for basketball
The knee brace is a heavy-duty knee brace capable of supplying greater stability to the weak and unstable knee. It is one of the best knee braces you should consider for osteoarthritis for proper lateral and medial support.
Compared to other knee braces, this is more costly and that is one of the drawbacks you can face choosing the knee brace. However, it delivers great support for ligament injury protection, ACL and meniscus injuries, joint instabilities, moderate ligament, and tendon sprains, hyperextension, and patella support.
DonJoy Performance Bionic Fullstop ACL Knee Brace has some features that make its usage easier. Its anti-migration technology ensures that it stays perfectly in place without having to readjust when it’s on.
The knee brace is also built to eject excess heat that can cause overheating; this keeps the user’s skin fresh and encourages all-day wear. Its adjustable straps also ensure you can customize fitness and compression received from the brace. It is one of the best knee braces for arthritis.
This is also one of McDavid knee brace but it is built with huge hinges to give more support and stability to the user. It does well to protect against injuries from contact sport and also helps in the rehabilitation process.
Your knee joint will be fully prevented from side-to-side blowout as it fully keeps the knee straight. It, however, allows full range motion to enable you to walk without any disturbances.
McDavid Knee Brace with Polycentric Hinges is a neoprene brace, breathable and constructed to give good comfort to the user by removing excess heat and moisture.
The knee brace is low-profile and can be worn under the cloth. You can also wear it on the skin without feeling any irritation or rashes. It is one of the best knee braces for knee support, stability, and a suitable knee brace for arthritis.
Choosing the best knee brace for arthritis is vital to mitigating the excruciating pain that accompanies it. We have reviewed some of the best knee braces, the unloader knee brace is much more suited for osteoarthritis as it helps in shifting the bodyweight away from the bad knee.