A knee immobilization device is a tool to control the discomfort of osteoarthritis of the knee. An immobilization device can help reduce pain by shifting the weight that would normally fall on the most damaged part of the knee. Wearing an immobilization device can improve your ability to move around and help you walk more comfortably.

There are several types of immobilization devices that are used for knee arthritis. An immobilization and unloading device shifts weight off the affected part of the knee.

Why is it done

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Power Knee Stabilizer Pads

Osteoarthritis is a complex condition that affects the entire joint. It is primarily known as a type of wasting arthritis that commonly affects the knees of older people. The disease often affects one side of the knee more than the other. This uneven damage can cause your knee to misalign (misalignment), which can lead to your knees being pulled back or your legs bowed.

As the damage progresses, this misalignment worsens. A knee immobilization device can take the pressure off the part of the joint most affected by osteoarthritis and help relieve pain. If you feel your knee buckle when you add weight to it, the knee immobilization device can also help you stand and move with greater confidence.


The following are possible risks of wearing a knee brace:

  • Discomfort when using the immobilization device. A knee brace may seem heavy, bulky, and hot at first. A bad fit can cause it to slip.
  • Swelling and skin irritation. If the knee brace does not fit well, the skin underneath may become red and irritated. Some people also have swelling around the joint.
  • Absence of benefits. Studies on knee immobilization devices for patients with osteoarthritis have been scarce; and the results, varied. Some people see no benefit. Others report a decrease in pain and an increase in function.
  • Wearing a brace can cause the user to treat the knee as injured and favor the other knee, which could contribute to joint stiffness.

How to prepare

Talk to your doctor about your interest in the knee immobilization device. Together you can decide if a knee immobilization device can help you with your problem and how likely you are to use it regularly.

If you decide to try a knee immobilization device, your doctor will likely need to prescribe it and refer you to an orthopedist, a medical professional who designs, builds, and adapts braces and devices to improve function in people with orthopedic problems.

Custom knee immobilization devices can be expensive, so you may want to check with your health insurance provider to see if you have coverage for these types of devices first.

What you can expect

Some types of knee immobilization devices are already prepared in various sizes. Some designs allow you to adjust the pressure on your knee, depending on how much support you need for different activities and at different times of the day. If you find a standard immobilization device that works well for you, you may be able to buy it and take it home the same day.

Custom knee immobilization devices are designed and built to fit your measurements. But it takes time to build a custom knee immobilization device, so you may have to wait a few weeks. When you’re custom immobilization device is ready, your orthopedist will verify the fit before you take it home.

During the adjustment of the knee brace

You could get used to wearing a knee immobilization device more quickly if you start with a good fit, which is the goal of working with an orthopedist. During the fitting, the orthopedist may do the following:

  • Examine your knee
  • Asking questions about your history of knee arthritis and the symptoms that bother you the most
  • Ask yourself what activities you hope to do the most with the knee immobilization device
  • Asking you to walk a few steps to see how your knee behaves
  • Take various measurements of your leg to determine what size you need
  • Talk about the pros and cons of standard and custom-made immobilization devices
  • Explain the differences between different knee immobilization device designs
  • Have you try various knee immobilization devices to determine which style feels best and is easiest for you to use

After adjusting the Power knee stabilizer pads

With the help of your orthopedist, you will learn how to put on and take off the knee immobilization device and how to tell if it needs to be adjusted. You could walk around a bit to test the immobilization device.

Follow the instructions of the orthopedist, or your own doctor, about when to use the device. Some people use knee immobilization devices only when doing continuous activities, such as walking or playing certain sports. Other people find it helpful to wear the immobilization device most of the day.


Osteoarthritis can make you feel like your knee is about to pop out. As a result, you may automatically protect your knee and avoid putting weight on it. If used consistently, a knee immobilization device can offer some stability and increase your confidence in your knee.

There is evidence to suggest that knee immobilization devices can help reduce symptoms and improve function in people with osteoarthritis of the knee. However, more recent studies have shown fewer benefits. Many people stop using knee immobilization devices because they are not getting enough relief from knee pain or because of complications, such as a poor fit or because they do not like the way the device looks.

Weight loss and exercise, particularly exercises that strengthen the thigh muscles, are considered the best first-line treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee.



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