Knowledge is power. Learn more about your osteoarthritis condition so you can make informed decisions.
What is Osteoarthritis?
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Because this disease gets worse over time, it is also known as “wear-and-tear” arthritis.
Knee osteoarthritis is caused by a breakdown of the knee joint’s articular cartilage, a fibrous tissue that covers the bones in the joint. Cartilage keeps the bones from rubbing directly against each other, enabling easy, pain free movement. When this cartilage breaks down over time, the bones begin to rub against each other (also called “bone-on-bone”). The body responds by creating bone spurs and inflammation causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint.
Osteoarthritis is known by many different names, including degenerative joint disease, ostoarthrosis, hypertrophic arthritis and degenerative arthritis.
What causes knee cartilage to break down? Even though Osteoarthritis is very common and has been around for a long time, the cause is still not completely known, and there is no cure. There are many different factors that can determine whether or not you get Osteoarthritis. This includes age, weight, a history of knee injury, a malaligned joint, overuse or heredity. Your knee Osteoarthritis could be caused by one or several of these factors.
Learn more about your knee by viewing the following video, “Learn About Knee Osteoarthritis (OA) .”
What are Osteoarthritis Symptoms?
Most people with knee osteoarthritis have pain, joint stiffness (especially in the morning), and swelling and tenderness in one or both knees. For some people, osteoarthritis can become completely debilitating.
For a correct diagnosis, it is an important to see an orthopedic doctor who will take into account your symptoms and your medical history, examine your joints and order diagnostic tests. This may include blood work, X rays, a CT scan or an MRI for a better understanding of the anatomy of your joint and its condition.
What is an Orthopedic Doctor?
Orthopedics (also spelled orthopaedics in British English), is a branch of medicine that focuses on injuries and diseases of your body’s musculoskeletal system. This includes your bones and joints, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, muscles and nerves.
An orthopedic doctor, also called an orthopedic surgeon or orthopedist, treats problems of the musculoskeletal system. This includes diagnosing your injury or condition and determining treatment options, like medication, exercises, bracing, injections or surgery. Orthopedic physicians also manage rehabilitation after surgery to control pain and restore movement, and provide prevention information to help reduce the likelihood of injury or slow the progression of a disease.
Orthopedic doctors are either medical doctors (MDs), or doctors of osteopathy (DOs). After medical school, they complete five years of residency in orthopedics at a major medical center, and one optional year of specialized education. Orthopedic surgeons may specialize in specific fields, like sports medicine, pediatrics or trauma. They may also focus on certain anatomical areas, like the foot and ankle, knee, hip or spine.
Orthopedic surgeons must meet state licensure requirements and pass examinations given by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery. They must also complete annual continuing education programs in order to stay current with their knowledge and skills.
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS), there are more than 20,400 actively practicing orthopedic surgeons in the U.S. Orthopedic doctors may work in a clinic, large hospital or sports medicine facility.
What are the Osteoarthritis Treatment Options?
Your orthopedic physician may recommend different treatment options depending on the severity of your osteoarthritis, the impact on your joints, how much pain you experience and your activity level.
Recommendations may include losing weight, nutritional supplements, injections, exercise and knee bracing.
Breg OA knee braces, including the Freestyle OA, are commonly used by individuals with unicompartmental osteoarthritis.
Before wearing any knee brace, carefully read fitting instructions and warnings prior to use to ensure proper performance of the brace. Follow all instructions. Failure to properly position the brace and fasten each strap will compromise performance and comfort. Braces are for single patient use only.
If you experience increased pain, swelling, skin irritation, or any adverse reactions while using a Breg knee brace, immediately consult your medical professional.
Breg knee braces will not prevent or reduce all injuries. Proper rehabilitation and activity modification are also an essential part of a safe treatment program. Consult with your licensed health care professional regarding safe and appropriate activity levels while wearing these devices.
When using braces bilaterally, modify activity as necessary to keep medial hinges from contacting each other.
Care and cleaning are essential to continued strength and performance. Follow the removal and cleaning process described in the “Instructions for Use” pamphlet which comes with each Breg brace. When using Breg knee braces, it is important to keep dirt and grit out of the hinge mechanisms to maintain proper hinge mobility and brace function.
The information presented is for educational purposes only. Speak to your doctor to decide if a Breg OA knee brace is appropriate for you. Individual results vary and not all patients will return to the same activity level. The lifetime of any device is limited and depends on several factors like patient weight and activity level. Ask your doctor if the Freestyle OA knee brace is right for you.