Arthritis has become one of the most common conditions in the world and is also one of the most debilitating. In one form or another, it affects approximately 5 million Canadians, which is a prevalence rate of around 15%. The pain and immobility associated with the disease can affect any joint in the body and can prevent you from working, being active or spending time with family and friends. In this post, we will examine how an orthopedic brace for arthritis can work to relieve the symptoms of this condition.
While arthritis can be a chronic condition that becomes a constant obstacle to enjoying life, it doesn’t have to be such a detriment. There are many ways in which to reduce the effects of arthritis, such as physiotherapy, diet, and medication. One of the most effective ways to reduce the pain of arthritis is with orthopedic braces.
Here are four major ways in which supportive braces can help reduce the negative impacts of arthritis, regardless of your age, hobbies or level of activity.
One of the key functions of an orthopedic brace is to reduce pressure on the joint. An unloader knee brace, for example, is designed to decrease the weight transmitted through the affected area. It does this by altering the joint angle. It is sometimes also equipped with special hinges designed to shift the weight towards healthier and/or more robust areas. The overall result is a reduction in the pressure and stress that normal activities put on the joint. Reducing pressure leads to reduced pain in the arthritic joint by allowing swelling and irritation to go down. There are varying unloader brace designs that are adequate for different kinds of arthritis, from mild to moderate and all the way to severe. Consult a doctor or physiotherapist to see which one is right for you.
Having arthritis often means that the joints have suffered from disuse as the disease does not allow people to be active. An orthopedic brace for arthritis offers the support that is needed for weaker, arthritic joints and reduces pain. As a result, people with arthritis can use them rebuild strength in their affected joints. Braces can also provide support for the ligaments attached to joints. By so doing, they further decrease the weight transmitted through the affected joint and therefore reduces arthritic pain. These types of braces work well for milder cases of arthritis affecting part or all of the particular joint.
Compression & Warmth
A key element of recovering from arthritis is compression and warmth. Using an orthopedic brace for arthritis will provide both in vast amounts. Warmth and compression help reduce pain and swelling in joints affected by arthritis. The compression that braces provide limits the blood flow to the affected joint. This makes it less likely that swelling will persist, which in turn reduces the likelihood and severity of pain. Warmth allows the joint to relax and protect itself against any stresses or over-exertion. Braces aimed at providing compression and warmth work best for mild arthritis affecting part or all of the joint.
Improving physical function when wearing an orthopedic brace for arthritis
It is evident by now that orthopedic braces help protect the knee and reduce pain, which leads to a more active lifestyle for those with arthritis. Instead of staying home on the couch because of arthritis pain, an orthopedic brace can allow you to go on a walk or a run. Exercise and physical activity are crucial stepping stones on the road to reducing the effects of arthritis. An orthopedic brace for arthritis will allow the wearer to be more physically active and are therefore part of a healthy cycle of recovery whereby reduced pain leads to a more active lifestyle and this lifestyle leads to even less pain. Improved physical function can also slow the progression of arthritis and is a part of preventing the condition altogether.