Knee osteoarthritis is a prominent issue in the UK with 18% of the population aged 45 or over seeking treatment.
Total knee replacement (TKR), unicompartmental knee replacement (UKR) and high tibial osteotomy (HTO) are techniques that have been used to treat unicompartmental osteoarthritis (UOA). These procedures are commonly found to be highly cost-effective. It has been well documented that UOA is caused by an increase in force through one compartment due to malalignment of the joint.
As a complementary technology to surgical intervention, patients with UOA may adopt an unloading knee brace. Biomechanically, the brace exerts a valgus or varus force dependent on the affected compartment to reposition the damaging force away from the arthritic area and reduce pain.
Therefore, the unloading brace may delay the need for a patient to undergo surgery. The Patient Episode Database for Wales (PEDW) presents mean waiting times for some local health boards of a primary TKR in excess of 8 months. Instead, adopting a knee brace may benefit the individual during the waiting period, improving stability within the knee, consequently shortening waiting list times through reduction in need for surgical intervention.
Additionally, knee braces could have positive budget impact effects and potential capacity benefits over surgeries.
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