What are assistive devices used in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA)?

Updated: Oct 12, 2020
  • Author: Carlos J Lozada, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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The use of assistive devices for ambulation and for activities of daily living (ADLs) may be indicated for patients with osteoarthritis. Braces  may also be of some use. A cane can be used in the contralateral hand for hip or knee osteoarthritis. The patient can be taught joint-protection and energy-conservation techniques.

In a randomized study of 126 patients with painful knee osteoarthritis, wearing a slip-on knee brace for a median of 7.35 hours a day for 6 weeks reduced pain and bone marrow lesions. Pain scores during activity declined about 18 points in patients using the brace, but showed almost no change in those not wearing the brace. MRIs revealed that bone marrow lesion volumes in the patellofemoral joint, which were nearly identical at baseline in both groups, had decreased by 25% after 6 weeks in patients in the brace group. [128]

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