An 'unloader' is a device - like a brace - which changes the forces going through the knee in order to protect a damaged side.


Unloader brace

An unloader brace may be useful when the joint space has collapsed on one side - perhaps due to an inadequate meniscal shock absorber - and also where the joint on one side needs protecting, such as after cartilage repair procedures. There is also a commercially available unloader implant which goes into the tibia bone and adjustments can be made from outside the joint.

unloader brace knee joint space narrowing

Unloading protects the vulnerable joint cartilage on that side.

The Unloader One brace is made by the company Ossur. The brace should be fitted by someone trained to do so. Once unloaded, the collapsed joint space should open up as weight is taken on that compartment.  

Implantable joint-unloading prosthesis

KineSpring® have put onto the market an implantable, extra-articular, extra-capsular prosthesis intended to alleviate knee osteoarthritis symptoms by reducing medial knee compartment loading.


Orthotics and aids for knee arthritis

A overview of the simple devices that can make life easier if you have knee arthritis.

An 'interpretation' of a 2017 published medical paper about the cost-efficiency of unloader braces compared to surgical solutions for unicompartmental knee arthritis.

Video testimonials from patients trying an unloader brace for the first time.



An Update on Unloading Knee Braces in the Treatment of Unicompartmental Knee Osteoarthritis from the Last 10 Years: A Literature Review.. Mistry DA, Chandratreya A, Lee PYF. Surg J (N Y). 2018 Jul 2;4(3):e110-e118.

See also -

Knee arthritis interventions when you are too young for a total knee replacement - ebook