Valgus bracing in medial knee osteoarthritis aims to improve gait function by reducing the loading of the medial compartment. Orthosis composition and optimal adjustment is essential to achieve biomechanical and clinical effectiveness.
To investigate biomechanical functionality during gait, pain relief and compliance in patients with knee osteoarthritis using a lightweight adjustable knee unloader orthosis.
Prospective observational clinical trial.
Instrumented gait analysis in 22 patients with unilateral medial knee osteoarthritis was performed after a 2-week orthosis acclimatisation period. Kinematics and kinetics during gait as well as force transmission from the orthosis to the knee were analysed. Measurements were performed without, at individualised and at reduced orthosis setting. The assessment was supplemented by patient-related pain sensation and compliance questionnaires.
Orthosis wear significantly reduced the knee adduction moment by up to 20% depending on orthosis adjustment, whereas pain sensation was significantly reduced by 16%. A significant positive correlation was found between force transmissions and knee adduction moment as well as for frontal knee angle. Compliance was good with a main daily use of 2-6 h.
The orthosis provides significant biomechanical improvements, pain relief and good patient compliance. Patients had a biomechanical benefit for the individualised and reduced orthosis adjustments. Clinical relevance In patients with medial knee osteoarthritis, a lightweight medial unloader orthosis effectively reduced external knee adduction moment and pain sensation during daily activities. Thus, use of lightweight orthoses effectively supports conservative treatment in medial knee osteoarthritis.
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