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Knee. 2016 Jan;23(1):85-90. doi: 10.1016/j.knee.2015.05.006.

Effects of an unloader knee brace on knee-related symptoms and function in people with post-traumatic knee osteoarthritis after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

Author information

1
Department of Physiotherapy, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia; Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
2
School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia; School of Allied Health, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia. Electronic address: k.crossley@latrobe.edu.au.
3
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, Australia.
4
Physiotherapy Department, St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

This pilot study evaluated the immediate and four-week effects of an unloader knee brace on knee-related symptoms and performance-based function in people with knee osteoarthritis (OA) after anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR).

METHODS:

Individuals with knee OA, five to 20years post-ACLR, were recruited for two within-subject randomized studies: immediate effects (n=18) and four-week effects (n=11). Patient-reported knee-related symptoms (knee pain, perceived task difficulty, confidence, stability) were assessed during hop for distance and step-down tests, while performance-based function was assessed with hopping distance under three conditions: i) no brace; ii) unadjusted brace (sagittal plane support); and iii) adjusted brace (sagittal plane support with varus/valgus readjustment). Participants in the four-week brace effect study were randomized to wear the unadjusted or adjusted brace for four weeks after baseline (no brace) testing, and repeated tests in their allocated brace at four-week follow-up. Friedman tests evaluated differences between the three brace conditions for each variable for the immediate brace effect study (p<0.05), and Wilcoxon signed-rank tests evaluated differences between no brace and allocated brace for the four-week study (p<0.05).

RESULTS:

The adjusted and unadjusted unloader braces produced immediate improvements in knee confidence during hop for distance, and knee pain during step-down. Following the four-week brace intervention, the allocated brace improved knee confidence, perceived task difficulty and stability during hop for distance; and knee pain, perceived task difficulty, confidence, and stability during step-down.

CONCLUSIONS:

The unloader knee brace, adjusted or unadjusted, has the potential to improve knee-related symptoms associated with knee OA after ACLR.

KEYWORDS:

Function; Knee brace; Osteoarthritis; Rehabilitation; Symptoms

PMID:
26117486
DOI:
10.1016/j.knee.2015.05.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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