Introduction: Osteoarthritis (OA) of knee causes considerable pain and disability. It has been observed that symptomatic pain relief and cartilage regeneration are possible in OA joints that have been pulled apart or distracted for prolonged periods of time. The knee brace is used to modify joint loading during rest and activities.
Material and methods: The study included total of 310 patients, at Nepal Medical College Teaching Hospital, Kathmandu, Nepal from September 2009 to August 2012, with osteoarthritis of the knee of different grades (II, III and IV). The patients were followed up at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 1 year after the use of polycentric knee brace. The clinical and radiological findings were recorded, tabulated and analysed by WOMAC scoring for symptomatic improvement and deformity correction.
Results: After one year 263 (84.83%) patients were still using the brace but 37 (15.17%) patients had discontinued the use of brace after some months. There was 54% improvement in WOMAC score. It showed symptomatic relief of pain, stiffness and improved physical function in grade II and III whereas prevented further radiological deterioration in all grades of osteoarthritis knees.
Conclusion: The polycentric knee brace can be a cost effective alternative to the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knees. The treatment with a knee brace can provide significant improvement in pain, stiffness and increased physical activity levels and no radiological deterioration in early stages. But the knee bracing should not be used alone, but in addition to other therapeutic modalities for better results.
Ram K Shah, Mahesh P Shrivastava and Vijayendra Adhikari
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