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Bracing Found to Help Knee OA (But Instructions Are Missing)

(OARSI 2014) A systematic review of controlled studies judging the value of a valgus knee brace has tantalizing results. Bracing appears to help, but the best way to use it remains a mystery.

A systematic review and meta-analysis supports the use of valgus knee braces in medial knee OA.

A team from London, Ontario have reviewed 38 biomechanical studies and high-quality clinical studies that assessed use of a valgus knee brace by comparing patient-reported outcomes for treatment group and a control group, assessing patient-reported outcomes. Altogether the studies included 1,098 subjects.

Biomechanical studies suggested a moderately significant decrease in the external knee adduction moment, and in knee adduction angular impulse during walking. Randomized clinical trials suggested moderate significant improvements in pain and function.

However, studies were inconsistent and unclear in reporting brace parameters influencing dosage. Gaps in the literature include optimal dosage, characteristics of those who respond best, effects on disease progression, and economic evaluations.