An osteoarthritis (OA) brace, also called an "offloader" or "unloader" brace is a rigid or semi-rigid knee appliance designed to be worn throughout the day which unloads an affected arthritic compartment of the knee to relieve pressure on the effected area.
An OA brace uses pressure and pushes on the side of the knee that isn't in pain. This pressure forces the other side of the knee to "off load" the arthritic surfaces often resulting in immediate pain relief.
The biggest advantage of OA bracing is that it is the most conservative treatment for single compartment osteoarthritis pain. For many patients, the appliance can often provide enough pain relief to postpone surgical intervention, pain killers, nsaids, narcotics, or restorative medicine therapy.
One should always consult a medical specialist, however, the most indicative patients will have mild to moderate OA pain on a single compartment, either medical or lateral, and a willingness to wear the appliance as needed.
In the majority of cases, insurance will cover the cost of OA braces. Most insurances reimbursement and approval is based on "medical necessity, a prescription from a medical specialists, and often a "letter of medical necessity" from your provider.
A great way to get started is to contact a product representative and insurance billing specialist that can recommend a suitable provider in your area. FIND A REPRESENTATIVE. If you are outside of a representative service area, consult your family medical provider about your interest, and they can likely refer you to an appropriate provider.