HealthDay News — For patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA), valgus knee bracing is associated with improvements in pain, according to a meta-analysis published in Arthritis Care & Research.
Rebecca F. Moyer, PhD, from the University of Western Ontario in London, Canada, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to examine the effects of valgus knee bracing on pain and function.
Six studies that compared changes in patient-reported pain and/or function in patients with medial knee OA were included in the analyses.
The researchers observed a significant difference favoring the valgus brace group for improvement in pain (standardized mean difference [SMD], 0.33; P = 0.001) and function (SMD, 0.22; P = 0.03) overall. The effect size was moderate for pain (SMD, 0.56; P = 0.04) and function (SMD, 0.48; P = 0.04) when compared with a control group that did not use an orthosis. Only a small, significant effect for pain remained (SMD, 0.33; P = 0.01) when compared with a control group that did use a control orthosis.
There was considerable variation in instructions for brace use, and compliance varied from 45 to 100%. Minor complications with brace use were reported by up to 25% of patients.
“Meta-analysis of randomized trials suggests valgus bracing for medial knee OA results in small-to-moderate improvements in pain,” the authors write. “Effect sizes vary based on study design and warrant future research.”
Several authors disclosed financial ties to Arthrex.