Unloader Bracing for Knee Osteoarthritis: A Pilot Study of Gait and Function

Michael A. Mont, Jeffrey J. Cherian, Anil Bhave, Roland Starr, Randa K. Elmallah, Walter B. Beaver, Steven F. Harwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is increasing in the United States, and some have proposed the use of unloader bracing as an adjunct to current standard treatments. Our purpose was to evaluate outcomes of this brace for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis compared with standard non-operative treatment. Specifically, we evaluated: (1) pain relief, (2) objective functional improvement, (3) subjective functional improvement, (4) quality of life, (5) isokinetic quadriceps muscle strength, and (6) gait changes. A prospective, randomized, study was performed on 18 patients who had Kellgren-Lawrence grade 1 and 2 osteoarthritis. Patients were randomized to receive either standard treatment or an unloader brace. End points evaluated included: functional tests, Knee Society Score, Short Form 36 (SF-36) health survey, Visual Analog Scale (VAS) for pain, Lower Extremity Functional Scale, isokinetic quadriceps and hamstring muscle strength, and 3-dimensional gait analysis. There were no differences between cohorts in evaluation of pain (VAS), objective functional tests, subjective functional outcomes (Knee Society Scores and LEFS), quality of life assessment with SF-36, isokinetic quadriceps and hamstring muscle strength, and gait parameters. The use of unloader brace demonstrated similar improvements compared with standard treatments for knee osteoarthritis, and we believe that it can be a beneficial or equivalent adjunct to continuum of care for the treatment for knee osteoarthritis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-293
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical technology international
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes


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