Human joints come in many shapes and sizes and allow us to carry out daily living. Without joints, we would be rigid and immobile. But they are often injured, causing pain and discomfort.
medi has designed an OA strategy filled with products that vary based on patient ability and condition. The goals of these soft supports and braces are to increase your mobility, provide support, and reduce your pain level. They are designed to re-distribute your weight, provide compression, and offer support.
What is osteoarthritis?
The term osteoarthritis (joint wear and tear) is used to describe one of the most common diseases of the skeletal and locomotor system.
medi® offers support for everyday patient care through the entire continuum of care, beginning at the diagnosis, while promoting patient self-management. Our portfolio includes highly effective products that promote higher compliance – for significant pain relief and better quality of life.
Joint degeneration from osteoarthritis
A joint affected by osteoarthritis wears down more than it should. This damages the protective layer, the cartilage, and sometimes the underlying bone. The condition occurs mainly in the hands, the shoulder, the knee, or the hip joints.
Osteoarthritis is a common sign of aging. Your chances of developing the disease increases significantly past the age of 60. In most cases, we have overworked our joints in our younger years. However, using your joints too little also damages them…it's a matter of getting the right balance. Once osteoarthritis has started developing, though, there are still ways to help you manage its effects.
Causes, symptoms and warning signals of OA
Genetic predisposition and obesity play a role in developing osteoarthritis.
Permanent loading due to deformities can also lead to osteoarthritis. Congenital deformity of the hip (CDH), for example, often causes osteoarthritis of the hip. Other causes are diseases or injuries that permanently deform the joint (post-traumatic osteoarthritis). Nevertheless, there are numerous factors that favor osteoarthritis: this includes overusing the joints in high-performance sports.
Joint pain can be the first sign of osteoarthritis. It is usually aggravated by cold, damp weather or loading the joint. Abrupt movements or even extended periods of sitting or standing can feel particularly unpleasant. If you have pain in these situations, this could be a sign of wear and tear of your joints, and possibly osteoarthritis.
Doctors call these initial symptoms "start-up pain,” “pain on-loading,” or “fatigue pain.” No matter what symptoms you may have, talk to your doctor about it. This will give you certainty and you can discuss your treatment options.
Even small changes in everyday habits have positive effects on the joints and relieve them noticeably.
The rule of thumb for osteoarthritis patients:
Movement - yes // Load - no
Osteoarthritis patients should feel free to move around – cycling, swimming and Nordic walking are recommended. The diseased joint still produces nutrients and lubricants during moderate sporting activity. It does not become so easily inflamed. In addition to bracing, a reduction in body weight, exercise, and balanced diet can all help in treating or reducing the effects of osteoarthritis.
This reduces the risk of further joint conditions. You should aim for a BMI (BMI = body mass index) of < 30.
Treatment of Osteoarthritis
Besides exercise, physical therapy and medication, functional treatment is an important element of success: orthoses relieve stress on the affected joint.
Effective pain relief means improved compliance and outcomes
Studies show that knee braces are effective in decreasing pain, joint stiffness, and drug dosage while improving physical function.
Avoid one-sided stress
Orthoses prevent one-sided stresses due to deformities. At the same time, supports can improve so-called proprioception, i.e. perception of your own body in space. They reduce the risk of injury, protect the joint and slow down cartilage degeneration.
Treatment with supports or orthoses should be given in combination with other treatment options. For example, physical treatment with physiotherapy and massage plays a central role. Both promote the mobility of and blood circulation in the affected joints.
Ways to treat OA coupled with soft supports/bracing: