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