Managing Evolving Knee Osteoarthritis

December 8th, 2023

Posted in Injury Prevention and Management, Product Spotlight by Kinemedics
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Knee osteoarthritis (OA), a common form of arthritis, is a degenerative joint disease that can cause stiffness, swelling, and pain in the knee. It’s a condition that arises when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones wears down over time, specifically affecting the knee joint.

The Evolution of Knee OA

Knee OA is not a static condition – it evolves over time. Initially, symptoms might be mild and occur only after intense activity. However, as the disease progresses, symptoms may become persistent and severely impact one’s quality of life. It’s important to understand this evolution to effectively manage the condition and mitigate its effects.

The evolution of knee osteoarthritis occurs in four stages:

  1. Minor: In this first stage, minor cartilage wear occurs with little to no discomfort, often going unnoticed.
  2. Mild: In this stage, increased cartilage wear and larger osteophytes occur, with symptoms like stiffness, tenderness after physical activity, or a crunchy joint sensation, despite normal bone spacing.
  3. Moderate: In this stage, significant cartilage damage and larger osteophytes lead to increased pain, stiffness, and difficulty with daily activities.
  4. Severe: In this stage, near-total cartilage loss leads to a “bone-on-bone” situation causing severe pain, inflammation, swelling, and drastically limiting mobility and daily activities.

This evolution, however, is subjective and can affect different persons uniquely. Regardless of how you experience its evolution, proper management is crucial to ensure continued quality of life.

Equipment for Managing Knee OA at Different Stages

Just as the symptoms and severity of knee OA can change, so too can the equipment needed to manage it. From simple aids like knee braces and walking canes in the early stages, to more advanced equipment like wheelchairs or even the necessity for surgical intervention in severe cases, understanding what tools are available and when they’re needed is crucial for those living with knee OA.

In the following sections, we will delve deeper into some products that the medical professionals at Kinemedics regularly work with to help customers deal with knee osteoarthritis, evolving with your needs.

Compression Knee Sleeves

Bauerfeind Genutrain

The GenuTrain serves as the initial treatment for mild to moderate OA, utilizing Bauerfeind® flat knit technology with 20-30mmHg compression, making it ideal for early-stage OA patients. Its modified omega pad massages the Hoffa pads and meniscus, potentially alleviating pain and inflammation.

Medi Genumedi

Genumedi is equipped with a patella silicone ring, designed to address mild to moderate symptoms of knee osteoarthritis, among others. Its massage effect silicone insert improves blood circulation, aids in the absorption of haematomas and oedemas, and enhances proprioception and muscular support for knee stabilization. Its integrated silicone patella donut with a 3D profile offers a gentle massaging effect, and a special inner border for the silicone ring provides maximum pressure relief for the patella. It also includes silicone dots for an effective grip.

DJO Genuforce

GenuForce has been crafted using German engineering techniques. It is designed with a 3D contoured knit, which is breathable for user comfort. The product features silicon-lined stays, which help to maintain the stability of the brace. Additionally, GenuForce includes a soft yarn specifically designed for popliteal comfort, as well as a silicone buttress that aids in stabilizing the patella. Its overall design is aimed at enhancing the mobility of the user, making it highly suitable in the management of knee osteoarthritis.

Hinged Knee Braces (Stabilizers)

Ossur Formfit Hinged Knee Brace

The Formfit® Hinged Knee Brace is an ideal solution for patients dealing with mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis, among other issues. Offering excellent stability and compression, this brace is made from breathable, durable materials for comfortable wear. It features malleable rigid hinge arms for a perfect fit, and an open popliteal area to reduce irritation. Available in both wrap and sleeve versions, it’s designed for easy pull-on application, making it a user-friendly option.

Medspec Gripper Hinged Knee Brace

The Gripper Hinged knee brace offers medial and lateral stability, resisting distal migration with its internal SkinLoc™ pad. The brace has reinforced hinge pockets and a wraparound anterior closure for easy application. Available in 1/8” Neoprene, 3/16” Neoprene or CoolFlex™, the Neoprene versions provide warmth and compression, while the CoolFlex is breathable and hypoallergenic, making them ideal for the management of knee osteoarthritis.

DJO Xpert Hinged Knee Brace

The GenuForce Xpert is a lightweight knitted hinged knee brace with a contoured kneecap pad and adjustable straps for added support and compression. The brace incorporates removable semi-rigid polycentric hinges and an anatomically contoured knee pad for enhanced stability. Additionally, it includes stretch zones and non-slip silicone-coated bands for breathability and secure hold. The brace is machine washable, fits both left and right knees, and is not made with natural rubber latex. Its supportive structure makes it a good option for mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis management.

Medi Stabimed Pro

The Stabimed Pro is a compact soft brace with hyperextension protection, designed primarily to manage mild to moderate osteoarthritis. It offers collateral stabilization of the knee joint and improves proprioception, enhancing the self-guidance of the knee joint while preventing hyperextension. Its special knit technology incorporated at the hollow of the knee provides comfortable wearability and exceptional breathability. Additionally, it features a polycentric hinge and hinge bars enveloped by soft material for added comfort.

Bauerfeind Genutrain S Hinged Knee Brace

The Genutrain S is a superb choice for individuals dealing with moderate to severe OA. It is based on the Genutrain design and is enhanced with two semi-rigid stays on each side for increased stability. With four additional straps that offer extra support, it is perfectly suited for handling more progressed instances of OA.

OsteoArthritis “Unloader” Braces


DJO OA Reaction Web

The OA Reaction Web Knee Brace offers an innovative solution to general anterior knee pain. Its elastomeric web design effectively disperses energy across the knee, reducing pain and absorbing shock. The brace features dual-axis hinges for added support and adjustable straps to ensure it stays in place during activities. Its open framework and mesh backing provide a comfortable, breathable fit that contours to the knee, offering enhanced proprioception and dynamic patella stabilization.

Ossur Formfit Pro OA Knee Brace

The Össur Formfit® Pro Knee is a compressive knee sleeve designed with advanced features for targeted support. It incorporates a SmartPad™ buttress for cushioning and patella realignment, making it suitable for conditions like Patella Tendinitis and Chondromalacia Patella. The 3-D MotionTech™ knit offers medical-grade compression, superior moisture wicking and breathability, ensuring your knee stays cool during wear. The sleeve also includes lightweight, removable spiral stays for an optimal fit, and patented FoldLock™ system for secure application. Its distinctive patella graphics make wearing intuitive.

Bauerfeind Genutrain OA

Designed specifically for moderate to severe knee osteoarthritis management, the Genutrain OA is a knit offloader with a streamlined design that features a single BOA dial system. This allows patients to self-adjust tension levels for optimal comfort. It’s an ideal brace for advanced OA cases, particularly when the medial or lateral compartments of the knee are predominantly affected.

Rigid Frame

Ossur Unloader One Knee Brace

The Unloader One® knee brace is designed to relieve osteoarthritis knee pain, potentially improving mobility. It uses Össur’s patented 3-point Leverage System for effective knee joint unloading. The brace includes easy-to-use Quick Fit buckles, flexible shells, breathable liners, and a tool-free SmartDosing dial for personalized pain management. Its lightweight frame offers flexibility and ventilation, comfortably fitting under clothing.

DJO Defiance OA Knee Brace

The Defiance, DonJoy’s premier Custom OA product, is designed for active patients suffering from moderate to severe osteoarthritis. This lightweight brace offers durable support with its reinforced carbon composite frame and bilateral hinge bars for ligament stability. It features a unique telescoping condyle pad for load control, allowing patient-customized comfort. Additionally, it comes in a range of colors for personalization, making it ideal for knee osteoarthritis management in both active lifestyles and athletes.

Breg Fusion OA Plus Knee Brace

The Fusion® OA Plus knee brace is designed for medial compartment off-loading in cases of unicompartmental osteoarthritis. It features Breg’s unique adjustable hinge technology for effective valgus load, easily adjustable through a thumbwheel dial without tools. The brace’s flexible polymer ensures a contoured fit, providing medial/lateral and anterior/posterior stabilization. Its AirTech® frame pads allow cooling air flow and moisture wicking, ensuring comfort and stability throughout the day.

Personalizing Your Equipment

The products and equipment that can help manage knee osteoarthritis symptoms vary from person to person. It is critical to speak to a medical professional who can evaluate your symptoms and lifestyle preferences to recommend the product that is the right fit for you, and that supports the activities you love.

If you would like to discuss your symptoms with an expert at Kinemedics and get fitted with the right product, book a consultation here.

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