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One of the most common questions I get from my physiotherapy clients at Zoomers is what non-surgical knee pain treatment options exist.  Often, when discussing non-surgical knee pain treatment options, the conversation moves to whether or not a brace will help their knee pain or instability.  

There is no “one size fits all” answer to the question of whether or not bracing is a good non-surgical knee pain treatment because there are many factors that cause knee pain and many bracing options available.  I always ask myself these three questions before I help my clients decide if bracing is appropriate for them.

What is the problem?

A thorough physiotherapy evaluation of the knee can determine the root cause of their knee symptoms.  The first part of the assessment is a conversation that covers how the symptoms started and how they behave (ie: what makes them better or worse, etc).

The physical assessment includes observation of the joint for bruising/swelling; it also involves testing the mobility of the leg and the strength of the muscles in the leg.   Special tests give added information about the health of the soft tissues, including the ligaments.  

Could bracing help?

Armed with the information from the assessment, I can consider the kinds of non-surgical knee pain treatment options that are appropriate and can consider which braces might be helpful.  There are many wonderful kinds of braces on the market.  The trick is understanding which brace is most effective in each situation.  Knee braces help in two main ways:  improved comfort and/or stability.  

Some braces are designed to redirect pressure away from the painful part of the joint.  There are many versions of these braces that tend to be helpful for conditions like osteoarthritis, tendinitis and runner’s knee (kneecap pain).

Other braces limit how the knee moves and therefore protect parts of the joint from excessive stretching forces.  These are most often used after traumatic injury to the ligaments in the knee (ie: a skiing accident) and/or after surgery.

Most knee braces can be bought “off the shelf”.  However, some of the more advanced technology is in the custom braces that are “made to fit” for each person individually.  These kinds of braces are particularly helpful with moderate to advanced osteoarthritis and after full ligament tears (ie: ACL).

Is a brace a realistic solution?

Even with a diagnosis that would benefit from a brace, there are two more factors to consider before deciding if a brace is the right non-surgical knee pain treatment for a client.

The first is if it will be realistic to use the brace when needed.  Some braces can be heavy or hot and they are often a “visible” accessory to your outfit.  If it will be uncomfortable to wear for these reasons, the brace is not a good solution.

The second factor is price; braces can be expensive.  Private health insurance will often cover a portion of the cost; however, affordability needs to be considered.

Knee bracing can be a great non-surgical knee pain treatment in addition to a management plan for knee pain or instability.  Meeting with a physiotherapist can help you understand your knee symptoms and help you determine if bracing is appropriate for you.   At Zoomers, we offer bracing onsite so that you can work with your healthcare provider directly on many non-surgical knee pain treatment options, including bracing.  Even without bracing, a physiotherapist can arm you with the information you need to make the best decision possible regarding non-surgical knee pain treatment optinos and brace selection.

Book an assessment with Zoomers now!

Use our online booking tool to find a time that works for you!