Banner - Hide this banner





Author Topic: Unloader Brace Choices - Breg X2K CounterForce or Innovation Sports OAsys?  (Read 7890 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline xisbum

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 66
  • Liked: 0
  • Tennis nut raging against reality
Background: Arthroscopic surgery to remove 20 percent of left medial meniscus last June, injured playing tennis. Recurring pain; had cortisone shot and Synvisc injections with negative results. Tried tennis again, with OS approval, but severe pain resulted. OS rebuffed my attempts to get PT and/or unloader brace. Did my part by losing 37 pounds. Decided to change OS in January.

Well, guess I'll have to describe what happened with new OS, even though it's pretty bad and I'm still trying to regain some balance.

First, he took X-rays, the first since before the surgery. He showed them to me, and pointed out the cutest little nick on my left medial femoral condyle, along with some narrowing of the medial space.

"That's dead bone tissue," he said. "Probably nicked during the surgery. I'm sure he didn't mean to, but these things happen. I wouldn't have operated so quickly, but it's done.

"There is nothing we can do about it, and it will get worse with time. You should quit playing tennis immediately and find some other physical activity, like swimming or biking."

Boom. There it is. That other doctor killed part of my femur, and a big part of my quality of life, and "these things happen."

Lose more weight? Won't help, the new doc said. Try the unloader? Waste of time. Any hope? Nope, not until it's time for total knee replacement, and even then he wouldn't let me play tennis.

I'm not the quitting type, and I got the new OS to write a script for an unloader. I'm willing to tolerate a certain level of pain if that's what it takes. If it gets me to replacement sooner, so be it. I can't just give it up like he wants me to.

Long way to the question, but here it is: I'm looking at the Breg X2K CounterForce Arthritis Knee Brace (comes in a compact version for us shorter, more muscular guys) and the Innovation OAsys Arthritis Knee Brace. Insurance company has indicated it will likely pay total cost.

I do need this for my job, too, since as a magazine editor I often have to take photographs from different angles and move quickly from position to position. Can't do that with a balky knee.

But my primary purpose is getting back on the tennis court. Should I go for a custom brace instead? The CTi II looks good and the company sales pitch says it holds up well in high impact sports.

Comments, suggestions, experiences most welcome, even if they are negative. Since the pain I feel apparently comes from the "dead zone," I'm not certain the unloader will help that much. But I'm willing to try.

Thanks to any and all.

Rob in Virginia

P.S. I'm thinking seriously about starting a league or organization for arthritic tennis players, where we can all get together and hit for a while without worrying about competing. Anything to keep hitting tennis balls.
Baby boomer and tennis nut raging against reality.

Offline pegleg78

  • SuperKNEEgeek
  • *****
  • Posts: 500
  • Liked: 0
  • slow and steady wins the race.
I wore a unloader brace for 2 years, it made a big difference in my life. I looked at all of my choices and met with reps from Donjoy, Townsend, and Innovation Sports. In the end I went with the Townsend Air reliever. It is a full shell brace and it is constructed from a cast of your leg. It was very comfortable and it gave me the abitliy to get back to a "normal life". I think that it is superior to other braces, but I am partial because I had such a good expereince. I also have a Donjoy and hate it.

I would see if you can look at these braces in person a make a decision that way. I would also spend the extra money and get a custom one instead of an "of the shelf type" it will be worth the extra money.

Good Luck
99 ACL, med, lat men repair
00 Med menisectomy, lat men repair
01 med, lat meniscus transplant, ACL rev, LR
01 chrondroplasty, manip & debrid
02 med, lat partial menisectomy
03 Arthrotomy,  LOA, LR
05 chrondroplasty, lat men repair, shrink ACL
05  med menisectomy, chrondropla
05 med PKR

Offline KnowKnees

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 67
  • Liked: 0
  • Too young for 2 total knees / revision
I ordered a BreggX2K Unloader Brace for my left knee before total replacement. 

Tried to play ball with brace, unfortuntately brace did not help my knee or mobility at all.  Too bad because brace costs approximately $1300.00.  Ouch.

Today the brace sits in my dresser drawer.  It was custom fit for my knee and I had a TKA this last year so I do not need it anymore. 

I think of trying to sell on ebay at a reduced price because it is in excellent condition.  (only worn half a dozen times!)

Good luck with your brace.  Unforunately for some injuries, nothing helps short of TKA or alternative surgeries.   :P
Knowknees - Left TKR (2005) and Left revision one year later (2006), Right knee - medial menisectomy (1977), arthroscope (2003), Right TKA scheduled November 2006

Offline xisbum

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 66
  • Liked: 0
  • Tennis nut raging against reality
Want to apologize to all for overreacting to the latest bad news. I shouldn't blame the surgeon, even though that's tempting. I had many options along the way to this point, such as maintaining a decent weight, staying in shape, researching other avenues besides surgery after the initial injury, etc. I made the decisions in each of those situations, not someone else, so my current situation is on me.

I am not the most outgoing person in the world. In fact, I am extremely introverted, painfully shy and very often insecure around most people. Some of that is illogical, I know, but that's the sum of my experience through almost 60 years. I get through almost every day by adopting different persona as the situation demands. I very seldom show people the real me - except on the tennis court. For many years it's been the only place where I can be myself, and let people judge me on what happens on the court at that particular time.

A tortured rationale, I know, for the irrational hold a simple sport has on me, but there it is. That's why I'm raging so much.

I do face reality, sometimes, and I am coming to realize that competitive tennis may be history. I'm trying to adjust to maybe getting back on the court a couple of times a week, if that, with the help of a brace. I'll get through this, but I don't know if I can find anything else I believe in so much.

Again, apologies for anything negative I've been saying about anyone, surgeons et al. That's not my nature.

Rob
Baby boomer and tennis nut raging against reality.

Offline KnowKnees

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 67
  • Liked: 0
  • Too young for 2 total knees / revision
Rob,

You know when you are an avid passionate athlete who reached end of life issues with any body part we go through this thing called GRIEF.   :'(

I used to be an avid runner, and softball player.  I played softball until I was 38 years old.  I had three kids and still the biggest thrill of my life outside of raising my kids was sports and competition.  It is in your blood if you are born with it.  If you are not born with it, it seems like there is nothing you can do to attain it.

When I found out I had to have a TKA I cried.  I cried for weeks before (not constant and not every day) but when the reality of what this surgery meant to me, I cried.  On the morning of surgery I cried when the anathesiologist was putting the needle in my back.  Not because it hurt, but because a part of my life was over as I knew it.  What I would do to hit one more homerun....what I would do to go out and run a brisk three miles....if I had known the last time I played ball or ran would be the last time, I would have enjoyed it more, paid better attention.  That is life.

It is not necessary to apologize for perceived "bitchin'" about loss.  That is why this forum is here.  Thank God this forum is here. 

I think it has saved many in terms of their sanity to have a place to go and have people understand. 

I am getting ready to have my next total knee replacement in November 2006.  This will be my third.  I had a revision one year after my left TKA in Feb 2005.  The stupid OS put a knee that was too big for my leg in.  Ha!  What a loser he was. 

Oh well.  Now I have a super OS and I am going to have  a matched set in November. ( I can still even wear sexy skirts if I want  :o )

I am glad you wrote. I didn't look at the date on your last post.  You will surely help someone else who is also grieving. 

Michale akas Knowknees
tka at 43 and 44   :P
Knowknees - Left TKR (2005) and Left revision one year later (2006), Right knee - medial menisectomy (1977), arthroscope (2003), Right TKA scheduled November 2006

Offline Chester

  • MINIgeek (20-50 posts)
  • **
  • Posts: 36
  • Liked: 0
  • User's Text
I personally have the GII Select Unloader and have been using it for a couple of years now.  This is the custom model - made from a casting and it fits great.  I am using it to avoid the inevitable knee replacement, but for the time being, it's doing it's job by keeping the pain down to a managable amount.  It's not perfect, but this model works well for me.  The main thing that my OS told me to remember is that it doesn't work when it's not on my leg.  I'm sure that is true with all of the ones that you mentioned, so if you get one and it's fairly comfortable, wear it as much as possible.

Just my two cents worth - Rob
1980 - lateral menisectomy
1983 - Clean-out scoping
1984 - Lateral release (1)
1988 - Lateral release (2)
1993 - Clean-out scoping (2)
2004 - Wonderful OA sets in

Offline xisbum

  • Regular Poster
  • ***
  • Posts: 66
  • Liked: 0
  • Tennis nut raging against reality
Thanks for the responses, folks. Been through a lot since February, including trying an unloader (Townsend) that did absolutely nothing for my knee and finding the resolve to try some tennis just to see what I could and could no do. No long stories here, so I'll just put it out there - I can play almost as well as before, with some limitations! ;D

I found ways to compensate for the knee, such as short, choppy steps. I'm always aware of the knee, because ever so often I just come down wrong and the knee says "hello", but the pain goes away quickly and I'm off to the next point. :P

I'd say I'm playing about 75 to 80 percent of previous capacity, and I'm only playing about twice a week, mostly men's and mixed doubles. Every now and then I take a short at some singles, and I can still hold my own.:D

I guess my knee isn't as far gone as the surgeons are trying to tell me, or I'm just too dumb to know the difference.  :-\

Whatever. I'll take whatever time I can get on the court now and take what comes later. They don't seem to be very enthusiastic about trying any procedures until I "age" a bit more - like may 5 years from now. I'm not one to waste time, especially 5 years worth.

I'll try to keep you guys posted on progress, regression, or whatever else happens. Meanwhile, thanks for the kind words of encouragement and experience. All of you take care of your selves - and your knees, natural or otherwise. ;)

Rob
Baby boomer and tennis nut raging against reality.