Knee Braces: A Good Alternative To Surgery?
Knee surgery is becoming more and more popular in the United States. In 2009, total knee replacement was the 14th most common inpatient procedure - but is there a better way to mitigate knee pain?
If you're reading this article, you probably have knee pain. You're probably also possibly looking into getting surgery to replace your knees as a way of ending that knee pain. With more than 650,000 total knee replacements in 2010, you certainly are not alone in investigating this option. But is it the best option for your condition?
The most common form of knee pain occurs as a result of osteoarthritis. As we age, the entire knee starts to fall apart. The cartilage in the knee that is supposed to help combat wear and tear on the bones starts to slowly disappear with use. Eventually the knees begin to rub on themselves. This doesn't bode well for the knee joint. As the bones keep rubbing against each other, bits and pieces of bone break off and grind on each other. This is what causes pain.
The solution to this problem has historically been surgery. By removing the torn up knee and replacing it with an artificial ball and socket joint, the problem is technically solved. The pain is gone, though you now have to sit through a few weeks of painful recovery. And true, your knees don't hurt anymore, though they probably don't move or feel like they used to. Plus, the solution is permanent. Don't like your new knees? Too late, they have already been replaced.
So what, then, can we do for someone who has very poor knees, without putting them into surgery to have them replaced? Which solution provides relief, is inexpensive, and not permanent? We can give them an offloading brace! These braces were designed to allow the knee to function while putting the weight and pressure that the knee joint would typically experience on a brace instead of the joint itself.
The pros here are obvious. No open surgery, which means no risk for infection or loss of motion. The costs are relatively low compared to a total knee replacement. There is no time spent in recovery, no worries about choosing a surgeon or similar. Plus, the results are instant. Simply apply the brace and adjust - you will know instantly whether or not this is a solution for you.
Although knee surgery might seem like the best and most effective way to relieve your pain, it is definitely not the first solution you should try. Any type of open surgery comes with many risks. Although a total knee replacement may benefit you, you could just find relief from a simple $150 knee brace like the DonJoy OA Reaction web.
Remember to talk to your doctor to see what types of bracing options are available to you. There are hundreds of offloading braces available through both your insurance and online shops like ours! With a knee brace, there is no surgery, no risk, and no pain. Simply relief.