Skip to content

Osteoarthritis (OA) and Unloading Knee Braces

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis in the knee. It is a degenerative, “wear-and-tear” type of arthritis that occurs most often in people 50 years of age and older, although it may occur in younger people, too.

In osteoarthritis, the cartilage in the knee joint gradually wears away. As the cartilage wears away, it becomes frayed and rough, and the protective space between the bones decreases. This can result in bone rubbing on bone and produce painful bone spurs.

Osteoarthritis usually develops slowly and the pain it causes worsens over time.

Other conditions that are treated with off-loading braces

  • Meniscal and cartilage repairs – pre and post – surgical intervention 
  • Bone bruising of either the medial or lateral compartment
  • Degenerative diseases of the knee that affect either the medial or lateral compartment.


  • Multiple compartmental OA  

Bracing to treat knee osteoarthritis (OA)

At Chin and Partners, we have a wide range of braces to choose from, ensuring that the selected brace fits comfortably and provides the required off-loading force. The mechanism used to achieve off loading or unloading can vary with some braces using a constant force directly to the knee while others use a strapping system, only offload the joint in extension, (as the knee straightens). It is crucial that you as the wearer, find the brace comfortable enough to use regularly and that you know how to apply it effectively. We ensure that you are provided clear instructions and that you are fitted with the right brace for your needs.

Unloading or off-loading knee braces reduce the forces on the affected OA compartment of the knee. The braces’ function is to decrease pain and increase the user’s mobility and activity. The brace provides an offloading force, “opening up” the affected compartment which will decrease forces acting on that compartment during load bearing activities. This unloading reduces the rate of degeneration in the affected compartment when used to treat osteoarthritis (OA). When used as a post-surgical device, for example post meniscal repairs, the brace unloads the compartment giving the injured site time to heal.

The main goals of an osteoarthritis unloading knee brace:

  • Reduce the rate of further damage to the affected compartment
  • Reduce your knee pain  
  • Reduce your need for pain medication 
  • Improve your ability to be walk and play sport  
  • Allow for a return to your activities

At Chin and Partners we supply off the shelf and CUSTOM bracing from Global bracing providers such as Ossur, DJO, Ottobock and Breg.

Unloading Knee Braces - Pre- and Post-Surgical Unloading Bracing


Rebound cartilage

The Rebound Cartilage brace is used to treat meniscal or articulating cartilage damage. The benefit of this brace is that it can be worn pre- and post- surgery. The Rebound Cartilage is a single hinged knee brace that uses a 3-point force system to unload the affected knee compartment allowing it time to heal. Hinge placement is depended on the compartment affected.

  • Easily adjustable to allow unloading during different stage of the rehabilitation process.
  • Easy to don and doff by using colour coded clips.
  • Range of movement at the knee can be adjusted depending on the rehabilitation requirements.


  • Uni-compartmental meniscal and cartilage injuries.

Mild to Moderate Uni-compartmental Unloading Knee Bracing

OA 3

DJO OA Reaction Web:

This brace is designed with its own unique silicone Web Technology. It is designed to be comfortable as well as provide a non-slip fit. The breathability and open framework improve patient compliance.


  • Mild to moderate Uni-compartmental OA

Össur Formfit OA Ease:

The Formfit OA Ease is a single hinged knee brace with a dynamic force system strap. It is used for mild-to-moderate uni-compartmental osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.

The wraparound design allows for ease of application with clear indications of where and in what order the strapping should be fastened. This easy to use, low-profile knee brace is comfortable and adapts to a variety of leg shape anatomies.


  • Mild to moderate knee OA
  • Used when a slim fit design and ease of application is required

DJO OA Nano:

The lightweight OA Nano is designed for people to stay active and move freely. The flexibility of the magnesium frame allows for an intimate fit while still unloading the desired compartment.


  • Mild to moderate knee osteoarthritis
  • Ideal for older patient due to the lightweight frame.

Moderate to Severe Uni-compartmental Unloading Knee Bracing


DJO Adjuster 3

This is a durable and functional Unloading knee brace. It provides ligament stability and is used for all levels of activity. The floating hinges allows for a contoured and personalized fit. The brace is made of Aircraft-Grade aluminium which makes it strong and lightweight. The Unloading force can be adjusted depending on the severity of the affected compartment.


  • Mild to severe OA
  • Ideal for physical activities at work or sporting activities

Össur Unloader One X      

The Unloader One X is a single hinged knee brace that uses a 3-point force system to unload the affected compartment of the knee. Hinge placement is depended on the compart affected. It is an exceptionally light weight brace, with durable rubber cuffs that allows for a contoured fit against the leg.

  • Easily adjustable to allow unloading during different types of activities.
  • Easy to don and doff by using colour coded clips.


  • Moderate to severe Uni-compartmental knee osteoarthritis
  • Degenerative meniscal tears
  • Other knee conditions that may benefit from Uni-compartmental unloading

Ottobock Agilium Reactive OA Knee Brace

The Agilium Reactive OA is a single hinged knee brace, with the hinge placed on the outer side of knee. This is a lightweight brace that can be used for all activities.

  • Easy to don and doff
  • Ideal hinge placement can be achieved


  • Mild to severe OA
  • All activity levels

Frequently Asked Questions

An effective offloading knee brace will reduce your painful symptoms, BUT they are not always the complete solution to all your knee problems. For OA knee pain, an appropriate brace, weight loss program when indicated and a prescribed strengthening program have been proven to be most effective conservative treatment combination. The knee brace helps to unload the damaged compartment, alleviating pain in varying degrees.

The goal is to:  

  • Reduce pain  
  • Reduce swelling  
  • Reducing the need for pain medication  
  • Reducing the rate of degeneration of the affected compartment  
  • Improve the individuals function and mobility

The knee brace unloads the injured site, it will not restrict movement. This allows you to use all your muscles limiting the need to compensate for pain. It therefore does not weaken the muscles, (NB it is depended on what the requirements of the knee brace is). We always recommend seeing a physiotherapist during the rehabilitation process, this should be discussed with your healthcare provider.  

This depends on the reason for the brace prescription but in most cases, it is an investment in your health as this brace will be worn for an extended period. Patients with osteoarthritis will use the brace to reduce pain and allow function potentially avoiding or delaying knee surgery/ replacement.  The brace is there for a long-term brace. Patients using the brace post-surgery, will use it full time for approximately 12 weeks and then for another 12 weeks during sporting activities or for higher impact activities. Your healthcare provider will determine the exact wearing period.

All the soft goods on these braces can be replaced and are bought separately should you require replacing them in the future.  

Contact us to see how we can help