Osteoarthritis of the Knee

What causes OA?

There are tissues in a healthy knee joint that form a natural cushion between the tibia (shin bone) and femur (thigh bone). With every step, these tissues absorb and distribute body weight across the surfaces of the knee joint. A patient diagnosed with OA has generally lost some of the tissue that provides this natural cushion. Instead of the bones being separated and gliding smoothly on a cushioned surface, the bones will often grind together. This causes inflammation (joint swelling) and pain, and also contributes to the continued and progressive degeneration of the knee. Approximately 80% of patients develop medial compartment OA, which can result in an abnormal bowing of the leg. Patients with lateral compartment OA may develop abnormal valgus leg angulation that results in a knock-knee condition. Women are more likely than men to have lateral OA.

OA can routinely be diagnosed and confirmed by a series of x-rays of your knee. A weight- bearing x-ray will typically show that the joint space on one side of the knee has narrowed or is fully collapsed. Wearing an OA knee brace can help maintain normal leg alignment and reduce joint compression.

How does a knee brace help?

If you are looking for a way to reduce your knee pain and remain as physically active as possible, OA knee bracing is a treatment option you should consider.

An OA knee brace is generally prescribed as a precursor or alternative to joint replacement. The brace applies corrective force to the leg to maintain normal alignment and redistribute load away from the damaged side of the knee.

Wearing an OA knee brace can reduce your knee pain, slow down the continued degeneration of your knee joint, and potentially allow you to stay more active.

While many people with OA experience health benefits from wearing an OA knee brace, not every patient is a good candidate for a brace.  You should ask your doctor if an OA knee brace is a viable treatment option for you.

The left image illustrates a knee that has lost the natural cushion between bony surfaces in the knee joint, causing abnormal leg angulation and compression on one side of the knee.
The right image shows how an OA knee brace applies stabilizing and three point corrective forces. This helps maintain normal leg alignment and reduces joint compression.

We have a wide range of custom, custom-fitted and pre-sized OA knee braces. This our orthotist to choose the ideal style brace for each patient. Which knee brace is best for you may depend on the size and shape of your leg, your physical activity level, and the severity of your OA. The orthotist who is ordering and fitting your brace will help determine the brace design that best meets your clinical needs, body type and life-style.


Patients who are prescribed an OA knee brace will generally achieve one or all of these benefits:

  • Reduced pain, inflammation and joint stiffness
  • Reduced tissue and bone degeneration
  • Increased activity level and fitness