Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences

Lower limb orthoses

Abstract

Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common rheumatic disease of the musculoskeletal system, with the knee as the most affected joint. The number of people with OA of the knee is likely to increase due to the ageing society and the obesity epidemic. The predominant clinical symptom of knee OA is pain, which is described as worsening by activity and relieving by rest. Knee instability has been recognized as an important clinical feature in persons with knee OA. Pain and knee instability are associated with limitations in performing daily activities. Non-pharmacological options in the management of knee OA consist of education, weight loss, exercise, braces and physical therapy. Knee bracing has been recommended by the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI). Valgus knee braces designed to decrease loads on the medial compartment of the knee for patients with varus alignment are the most common. It has been shown however, that valgus bracing may have little or no effect on pain and physical functioning, and adherence to this treatment in patients with knee OA is low.<br/><br/>Because of ease of use and access, lack of complications and low cost, soft knee braces are commonly used in persons with knee OA. However, the evidence for efficacy of soft knee bracing on pain and activity limitations in knee OA is limited. Therefore, it is important to strengthen the evidence of using a soft brace to reduce pain and activity limitations as well as to evaluate the efficacy of soft knee bracing on knee instability in persons with knee OA. There is also debate about the effectiveness of soft braces in other affected joints of the lower extremity and in conditions other than OA such as rheumatoid arthritis.<br/><br/>Objectives: The aim of the study will be to evaluate the effect of wearing a soft brace on dynamic knee instability in patients with OA of the knee.<br/><br/>Methods: Persons with knee OA and self-reported knee instability from the Amsterdam Osteoarthritis cohort participated in a single-session lab-experimental study. A within-subject design was used, comparing no brace versus brace, and comparing a non-tight versus a tight brace (standard fit). The primary outcome measure was dynamic knee instability, expressed by the Perturbation Response (PR), i.e., a biomechanics based measure reflecting deviation in the mean knee varus-valgus angle after a controlled mechanical perturbation, standardized to the mean (SD) varus-valgus angle during level walking. Linear mixed-effect model analysis was used to evaluate the effect of a brace on dynamic knee instability.<br/><br/>Results: The wearing of a soft brace reduced the knee instability significantly during perturbed walking. Results will also be presented from the literature search and from the lab-experimental study.<br/><br/>Conclusion: Wearing a soft brace reduces dynamic knee instability in patients with knee OA. However, longitudinal studies are needed to evaluate the clinical implications of wearing a soft brace.

Reference van der Esch, M. (2019). Lower limb orthoses. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 78, 54. https://doi.org/10.1136/annrheumdis-2019-eular.8607
Published by  Urban Vitality 1 January 2019

Publication date

Jan 2019

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