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New Osteoarthritis Knee Brace Technology – An Alternative to Knee Surgery?

If your knee osteoarthritis has driven you to consider knee replacement surgery, keep reading. For many with moderate or severe knee osteoarthritis, surgery can seem inevitable. While knee replacement surgery is a well established and effective treatment option, reluctance to undergo the procedure is understandable. Knee replacements can be expensive and the recovery can be difficult. Fortunately, recent innovations in osteoarthritis knee brace technology may help you to reduce your consumption of painkillers and avoid or dramatically delay the need for surgery.

Tri-compartment Unloading Osteoarthritis Knee Braces

In the past, osteoarthritis knee braces were designed to help a small subset of patients whose arthritis is limited to just one side of their knee. Many patients with arthritis in other parts of their knee, did not have an effective bracing option. Because of this, many had to consider other, often more invasive treatment options. In fact, research shows that less than 6%2 of those with knee osteoarthritis have it on just one side of their knee (medial/lateral tibiofemoral osteoarthritis).

Tri-compartment unloading technology is designed to treat all other patterns of knee arthritis. The 94%2 of patients with arthritis in other parts of their knee now have a new non-surgical, non-drug option to manage their knee pain. If you experience pain when using the stairs, squatting, bending, or any activity that requires a deep knee bend, it’s likely you are one of the 94%2

It turns out that there are actually seven different patterns of knee osteoarthritis. Some of these patterns are dramatically more common than others. Most people have what is called multi-compartment knee osteoarthritis2-8. This means that you have arthritis in at least two of the three compartments in the knee. What are compartments? These are areas of the knee joint where the bones place pressure on one another. In osteoarthritis, cartilage degeneration at these sites is the main cause of pain and disability. Learn more about osteoarthritis and knee compartments

Tri-compartment unloading technology uses pneumatic liquid springs to distract (draw apart) and decompress your knee joint as it is bent. As a result, internal joint pressure decreases which can reduce pain and inflammation while increasing your joint strength and overall mobility. An osteoarthritis knee brace using tri-compartment unloading technology is designed to help 94%2 of knee arthritis patients. This is a huge leap forward for knee bracing technology. For the first time, an osteoarthritis knee brace may help you avoid or significantly delay knee surgery. 

The New Case for Osteoarthritis Knee Braces 

Wearing an osteoarthritis knee brace with tri-compartment unloading technology is like instantly losing up to 45lbs of body-weight10. How big of a difference in knee pain and function does this make? Well don’t take our word for it – watch real people just like you react as they use a tri-compartment unloading osteoarthritis knee brace for the first time. 

Whether you struggle with stairs, squatting, kneeling, lunging or really anything that involves bending your knee while bearing weight – tri-compartment unloading reduces pressure and pain. 

Instant weight loss for the knee – let’s elaborate on this concept. Weight loss has long been touted as the gold standard non-surgical option for reducing knee osteoarthritis symptoms. Less body-weight means less joint pressure which reduces pain and wear. Scientists have studied the effect of weight-loss on osteoarthritis for decades, below are some of the highlights from they have found:   

  • You can expect to increase your knee function by 9.4% for every 1% of body-fat that you lose.11
  • A 1 lb decrease in body-weight provides a 4 lb decrease in internal knee loading and pressure.12
  • Those who lose 5% of their body weight reduce their risk of osteoarthritis by 50%.12
  • Patients who lost 10% of their body weight saw an average overall improvement in knee function of 28%.14
Tri-compartment Unloading Knee Brace for Osteoarthritis

Scientists have found that during a 90-degree knee bend, tri-compartment unloading osteoarthritis knee braces unload the equivalent 45lbs of body weight from the knee joint.10 For the average American male (age 60-69) weighing 195 lbs15, this is the equivalent of losing 23% of body weight. While a 10% reduction can make a huge positive change,14 a 20% reduction in body-weight yields even greater benefit16. With strict adherence to a diet and exercise regimes, losing 45 lbs could take close to a year.  Tri-compartment unloading osteoarthritis knee braces provide a similar effect as soon as you strap on the brace. 

Knee Surgery vs. Osteoarthritis Knee Braces

Knee replacement surgery is becoming more popular and many are opting to undergo surgery at younger ages17. By 2030, it is expected that 1.3 million knee replacement surgeries will be performed annually in the United States18. While surgery is often effective, 20% of knee replacement patients remain unsatisfied with the final result of their procedure19. Furthermore, an estimated ⅓ of patients electing for surgery are not ideal candidates20. Knee surgery is not always the silver bullet and comes with risks and limitations. 

How Long Do Knee Replacements Last?
Knee Replacement Surgery Recovery Timeline
Five Tips For Recovering From Knee Surgery

Those who respond well to knee surgery can realize life-changing benefits. One study of over 5000 people found that after two years, patients who underwent total knee replacement surgery improved their knee pain and function by 36%21. While this is significant, it is comparable to the benefits seen in those who have successfully dieted and lost 10% of their body-weight14

Tri-compartment unloading osteoarthritis knee braces mimic the effect of dramatic weight loss and could be used to avoid and or delay knee surgery. Experts recommend trying conservative treatment strategies (e.g. bracing, exercise, dieting, mobility aids) for at least six months before considering any invasive surgical procedures. Next time you are talking to your doctor about possible treatment options for your knee arthritis consider bringing along information regarding tri-compartment unloading osteoarthritis knee braces. 

Managing My Knee Arthritis without Painkillers or Surgery
Choosing the Best Knee Arthritis Brace
Top Five Unloader Knee Braces

Tri-compartment unloading is an exciting new treatment for severe knee osteoarthritis. Here rather than replacing the damaged areas, they are unloaded. A new type of exoskeleton hybrid knee brace uses spring technology to provide additional support to the joint, reducing pressure by up to 64%.3 To learn more about this innovation, click the button below.

Or learn more about tri-compartment unloader braces here


  1. Heekin, R. D., & Fokin, A. A. (2014). Incidence of bicompartmental osteoarthritis in patients undergoing total and unicompartmental knee arthroplasty: is the time ripe for a less radical treatment?. The journal of knee surgery, 27(01), 077-082.
  2. Duncan, R. C., Hay, E. M., Saklatvala, J., & Croft, P. R. (2006). Prevalence of radiographic osteoarthritis—it all depends on your point of view. Rheumatology, 45(6), 757–760.doi:10.1093/rheumatology/kei270 
  3. Ledingham, J., Regan, M., Jones, A., & Doherty, M. (1993). Radiographic patterns and associations of osteoarthritis of the knee in patients referred to hospital. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 52(7), 520-526.
  4. Baker, K. R., Xu, L., Zhang, Y., Nevitt, M., Niu, J., Aliabadi, P., … & Felson, D. (2004). Quadriceps weakness and its relationship to tibiofemoral and patellofemoral knee osteoarthritis in Chinese: the Beijing osteoarthritis study .Arthritis & Rheumatism: Official Journal of the American College of Rheumatology, 50(6), 1815-1821.
  5. Mohammed, K.S. Al-Obaedi, O. Shah, M. (2018). Prevalence of Compartmental Osteoarthritis of the Knee in an Adult Patient Population: A Retrospective Observational Study. EC Orthopaedics
  6. Duncan, R., Peat, G., Thomas, E., Hay, E. M., & Croft, P. (2011). Incidence, progression and sequence of development of radiographic knee osteoarthritis in a symptomatic population. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, 70(11), 1944–1948.doi:10.1136/ard.2011.151050 
  7. McAlindon, T. E., Snow, S., Cooper, C., & Dieppe, P. A. (1992). Radiographic patterns of osteoarthritis of the knee joint in the community: the importance of the patellofemoral joint. Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 51(7), 844-849.
  8. Stefanik, J. J., Duncan, R., Felson, D. T., & Peat, G. (2017). Diagnostic Performance of Clinical Examination Measures and Pain Presentation to Identify Patellofemoral Joint Osteoarthritis. Arthritis Care & Research, 70(1), 157–161. doi:10.1002/acr.23238
  9. Spring Loaded Customer Survery. Manuscript Submitted for Peer Review (2018) 
  10. Budarick BR, Bradley ME, Fitzgerald S, Cowper-Smith CD. (2019) Design and Mechanical Evaluation of a Novel Multi-Compartment Unloader Knee Brace. Manuscript Submitted for Peer Review. 
  11. Messier SP, Mihalko SL, Legault C,Miller GD, Nicklas BJ, DeVita P, et al. Effects of intensive diet and exercise on knee joint loads, inflammation, and clinical outcomes among overweight and obese adults with knee osteoarthritis: the IDEA randomized clinical trial. JAMA2013;310:1263–73.
  12. Messier, S. P., Gutekunst, D. J., Davis, C., & DeVita, P. (2005). Weight loss reduces knee‐joint loads in overweight and obese older adults with knee osteoarthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 52(7), 2026-2032.
  13. Felson, D. T., Zhang, Y., Anthony, J. M., Naimark, A., & Anderson, J. J. (1992). Weight loss reduces the risk for symptomatic knee osteoarthritis in women: the Framingham Study. Annals of internal medicine, 116(7), 535-539.
  14. Christensen, R., Astrup, A., & Bliddal, H. (2005). Weight loss: the treatment of choice for knee osteoarthritis? A randomized trial. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 13(1), 20-27.
  15. Fryar, C. D., Gu, Q., Ogden, C. L., & Flegal, K. M. (2016). Anthropometric reference data for children and adults; United States, 2011-2014.
  16. Messier, S. P., Resnik, A. E., Beavers, D. P., Mihalko, S. L., Miller, G. D., Nicklas, B. J., … & Guermazi, A. (2018). Intentional Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis: Is More Better?. Arthritis care & research, 70(11), 1569-1575.
  17. Goudie, E. B., Robinson, C., Walmsley, P., & Brenkel, I. (2017). Changing trends in total knee replacement. European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology, 27(4), 539-544.
  18. Koechlin, F., Lorenzoni, L., & Schreyer, P. (2010). Comparing price levels of hospital services across countries.
  19. Beswick, A. D., Wylde, V., Gooberman-Hill, R., Blom, A., & Dieppe, P. (2012). What proportion of patients report long-term pain after total hip or knee replacement for osteoarthritis? A systematic review of prospective studies in unselected patients. BMJ open, 2(1), e000435.
  20. Riddle, D. L., Jiranek, W. A., & Hayes, C. W. (2014). Use of a validated algorithm to judge the appropriateness of total knee arthroplasty in the United States: a multicenter longitudinal cohort study. Arthritis & rheumatology, 66(8), 2134-2143.
  21. MacDonald, S. J., Charron, K. D., Bourne, R. B., Naudie, D. D., McCalden, R. W., & Rorabeck, C. H. (2008). The John Insall Award: gender-specific total knee replacement: prospectively collected clinical outcomes. Clinical orthopaedics and related research, 466(11), 2612-2616

PRP Shots For Knee Arthritis – Are They Effective?

PRP (platelet-rich-plasma) therapy has been gaining popularity recently owing to its promise in a number of areas such as hair regeneration, wound healing, skin rejuvenation, and slowing the progression of arthritis. A variety of high-profile athletes have also touted the benefits of PRP for the knee joint. Many claim the shots have helped them during their recovery from sport-related injury. Currently, over 80,000 athletes are treated with PRP every year.1 


How to Choose the Best Knee Brace for Arthritis

Knee bracing solutions are increasing in popularity, particularly with the advent of tri-compartment unloading technology. This recent advancement in knee bracing technology now provides all knee osteoarthritis patients the opportunity to relieve their knee pain. There are more product choices than ever before and as a consequence, more diligence is required to ensure you select the product that best fits your situation. Choosing the wrong knee brace for arthritis can lead to frustration and disappointment as it will provide only a slight benefit. Choosing the right brace could afford you with life-changing increases in mobility, reduced pain, and confidence. What brace is right for you? It all depends on the pattern of knee arthritis you have.


Knee Pain When Walking – Is It All In The Shoes?

We all take our ability to walk for granted until we are set back by crippling pain. The average American walks 7000-13000 steps per day.1 Over your lifetime, that’s a lot of steps! Each one of these strides applies pressure to our lower limbs and it all starts at the foot. The way in which the foot interacts with the ground can have a major influence on the stress applied to upstream joints, especially your knees. Consequently, the type of shoe you wear can influence any nagging knee pain when walking.


Knee Pain When Squatting? 3 Common Fixes.

Knee pain when squatting has many possible causes. Both joint inflexibility and poor muscle stability are usually contributing factors. You don’t have to be a yogi, but keeping your joints limber may help move stress away from your knees. Fortunately, it is possible to dramatically improve joint mobility in just one short stretching session. The bad news is that these mobility changes will disappear quickly if not maintained through consistent exercise. Getting into a proper routine is essential. Below are the key areas to focus on and simple exercises to try at home!


What to do if your Knee Hurts when Bending

More than a quarter of adults suffer from regular bouts of knee pain. It’s really no surprise as our knees handle a tremendous amount stress day-to-day.1-2 Scientists have found that for every pound of bodyweight, our knees are subjected to up to seven pounds of pressure when they are bent or in weight-bearing.3 If you’re here, it is because you’ve noticed that your knee hurts when bending it, is painful walking down stairs and feels uncomfortable while squatting. The fix for this really depends on the diagnosis. Below are some common causes of knee pain.  


Water on the Knee – Symptoms, Causes and Solutions

Water on the knee is characterized by the accumulation of fluid and inflammation around the knee joint. When this occurs your knee may appear puffy and larger than usual. You may also find that it feels stiff and painful when you place weight on it and is sore to the touch. All of this can cause discomfort while walking up and down stairs, kneeling, and squatting. If you are experiencing symptoms of water on the knee you should consult your doctor to determine the best course of treatment for you.


Cortisone Shots in the Knee – Do They Really Work?

Are you considering getting cortisone shots in your knee? Although cortisone (corticosteroid) injections have been used for the past fifty years, some physicians are concerned that they may have adverse long-term side effects. Despite this, many patients experience significant pain relief from corticosteroid shots – depending on your circumstances this treatment may be right for you.


Knee Pain on the Front of Your Joint? Learn Why.

If you are active and value mobility there is nothing worse than crippling knee pain. It worsens your quality of life and if not addressed properly it can become a recurring problem. Knee pain on the front of the joint (anterior knee pain) is a common complaint, particularly for those who are physically active. The first step to ridding yourself of this nagging issue is determining the underlying cause.