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Offline lady

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unloader brace
« on: February 18, 2009, 01:20:00 AM »
I'm being measured for an unloader brace this week. Has anyone had luck with these. Do they really do the trick. And how long do you need to wear one. My docs assistant said that he's not sure how long I will need to wear it. He said we see how it goes. I did wear brace many years ago because of a defect but stopped after I had surgery. My brace was HUGE. Are unloaders usualy large. He wants me to wear it as much as possible.

I am going to PT tomorrow. I'm concerned the brace will take away the muscle strenght so I'm glad I will be having PT even though I  do bike 5 days a week and do my own strenghting exercies. It seems my muscle is very week anyways.

Anyone wearing a unloader for OA. Is it helping. Can I hike. I love to hike. AS of right now I can't even imagine hiking but I would really like to. Will I be able to with an unloader?
dislocated patella and chopped off most of chondal 1985
chondroplasty/medial meniscus repair 1996
ACI  quater size defect-surgery failure
lateral meniscus repair2002
chondroplasty, lateral Meniscectomy2006
synvisc & orthovisc injections 2008/2009
drained and cortizone injection 2008

Offline Tailwind

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2009, 08:15:13 PM »
Lady

I have been wearing my lateral unloader brace for about a week. It has made a huge difference for me. I have been wearing it 2-7 hours a day -- a little more each day. Just the separation of the bones for the time I am wearing it appears to be giving me significant relief. It was a little uncomfortable in the beginning because it applies pressure to various parts that need to get used to it. I don't fee that discomfort any more. My doctor insisted I wear one to see if I would be a good candidate for an osteotomy. Give it a try and good luck!

10/06 - Man v. Dog Collision
12/07 - Meniscus Trim
4/08, 12/08 - Synvisc
6/09 - Diagnostic Arthroscopy
8/09 - DFO

Offline Robin M.

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2009, 10:07:49 PM »
Lady,

I also wore an unloader brace to see if I was a candidate for a high tibial osteotomy. The brace worked great. It allowed me to go to the gym and do the much needed strengthening prior to surgery. I also was able to participate in the activities we enjoyed as a family. I don't think it would be a problem hiking with an unloader brace. With the brace I was able to be much more active. However I noticed on very active days once I took off the brace at night I had quite a bit of pain due to the medial compartment going back into it's usual position. I hope it's successful. Good luck!

Robin
Lt. knee- 6/04 scope and chondroplasty of MFC,11/04 Synvisc injections, 11/05 mosaicplasty, 3/06 scope,LOA and MUA, 1/08 degeneration entire knee, 5/12/08 TKA, 7/21/08 MUA
Rt.knee- 10/06 scope,,plica removal-OA, 3/07 HTO, 9/09 hardware removal  12/7/09 TKA 1/10,3/10 MUA, 11/10 LOA,partial revision

Offline lady

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2009, 03:52:25 AM »
I will be wearing one for the lateral compartment. I hope to only wear it for a little while. I'm so shocked at how much OA is affecting me. The past year has been such a suprise with how much it is progressing. Right now we are trying to manintain the knee I have! PT, unloader and orthovisc scheduled. I hope they help. I want a few more years. Sometimes the pain is a 2 and but moslty it is 6-8, hard to imagine I will be like this for a couple of years.
Thanks.
dislocated patella and chopped off most of chondal 1985
chondroplasty/medial meniscus repair 1996
ACI  quater size defect-surgery failure
lateral meniscus repair2002
chondroplasty, lateral Meniscectomy2006
synvisc & orthovisc injections 2008/2009
drained and cortizone injection 2008

Offline Plumb

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2009, 06:03:48 AM »
I had a custom made GII unloader made for my right knee.   Lets put it this way.. If it works for you .. You will know it.. If it does not work for you..  Go back to the brace fitter and get a few adjustments.. than if it still bothers you ..   At least you tried....

Offline lady

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2009, 12:23:26 AM »
I get my brace In a week and a half. I'm am concerned a bit about it. My 1st thing I'm concerned with is wearing it all the time. And the next thing is how long do I wear it (weeks, months, years?) If it helps I will be estatic. Like I said I'm completely shocked at how much pain I am in, my mobility-lack of mobility, and lack of leg strenght. It was like 1 day I woke up a little sore and stiff and the next day I am in crazy pain lasting all day and stiff all the time. It baffles me how this 1 joint can be so junky and the rest of me is normal.

Thanks for the post Plumb. Did it work for you? I thought I read somewhere you had surgery.
dislocated patella and chopped off most of chondal 1985
chondroplasty/medial meniscus repair 1996
ACI  quater size defect-surgery failure
lateral meniscus repair2002
chondroplasty, lateral Meniscectomy2006
synvisc & orthovisc injections 2008/2009
drained and cortizone injection 2008

Offline Plumb

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2009, 03:14:27 PM »
Maybe you should try to do aqua therapy as well if your stiff and your leg is kinda puny and weak. 

 
Never give up on your knee to be pain free.   I wore mine brace all the time.  When sitting at my desk . I would take it off.

Here is the thing.   For many if the brace works..  and you get the pain relief.  Perhaps an HTO will work for you  if you do not want to be married to your brace..  If the brace is  only holding you up and in constant pain after 4-6 months. maybe its time to talk to your OS again and ask about other options.     I had my knee replaced a year later.. ..  The replacement worked out wonderful. but all the time I put so much stres on my left knee ..  It is  now going .. ..  Mostly the pain is at night.. and well if I get up from a chair.. or walk around for at least 10 minutes. 

But I can manage the pain I have right now..  I am certainly aware what the pain is like for a TKR and .. Being under 40.. the thought of having two metal knees is daunting.   So check out. for my left knee I decided two years ago no surgery.  Joint space is too narrow anyway for a scope and a scope and any procedure would make me worse off than where I am right now.   I going for cortizone again and some supartz injections.

Also be aware of how much stress you are putting on your body..   I had a kidney stone situation when my right knee made me totally inactive.   My Sugar levels have gone up there as well now.. so I am on insulin..    So make sure if you are overwhelmed and trying to take the pain ..  See your primary doctor to make sure your inner body is ok during all this knee crap pain..  It takes a toll after a few years.

Offline lady

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2009, 03:29:53 PM »
I can totaly agree with you on it taking a toll. I just can't believe the 180 it has taken since this summer. It has progressed so much. I would have thought you get used to the constent pain but you don't. I am really hoping the brace works in more ways than relieving pain. Funny how I'm dreading wearing it but yet I can't wait.
My doc says he hopes to get a couple more years. 1 more scope and then hopefully a partical not total. He hopes we can put off the scope for at least a year but more if possible. Ihate to imagine wearing a brace for a year or more but I hate surgery more. So you do what you gotta do.

Thansk for your post it is so helpful to hears others experiences and relating them to your own. I am alone in this with family and friends they can't udnerstand but here I have so many allies.
dislocated patella and chopped off most of chondal 1985
chondroplasty/medial meniscus repair 1996
ACI  quater size defect-surgery failure
lateral meniscus repair2002
chondroplasty, lateral Meniscectomy2006
synvisc & orthovisc injections 2008/2009
drained and cortizone injection 2008

Offline SuzieFrost

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2009, 08:40:34 PM »
Lady,
     I can relate to so many things you said!!!  My knees went from sore but manageable for the past 29 years, to severe pain in my left knee... it felt like it came on almost overnight!  I am still in shock at what I am facing.  I have bone-on-bone OA in my left medial knee, as well as two meniscal tears, spurs, osteoarthritis throughout; my right knee always hurt more, and now it's my good one!  It has osteoarthritis as well, spurs, but better joint space.  The recommendation from a well-respected ortho doc was a TKR, he said nothing else is going to help with the bone on bone situation.  I don't want that, of course!   :'(
     I'll be 50 in June, so this is hitting me at least ten years earlier than I expected.  I ordered an unloader brace today, new, on ebay after looking at lots of them.  I got the DonJoy OA Everyday unloader for left medial.  I hope it comes fast!  Like you, I'm not thrilled with a brace...but if it buys me time and decreases this pain, I'm all for that!!  I limp around hanging onto things, makes it pretty hard to function at my two jobs.
      I'm researching different types of knee replacement procedures, surgeons, types of hardware, as well as minimally invasive computer-assisted procedures, partial procedures, and the paste graft procedure by Dr. Stone.  I have an appt next week with a knee replacement surgeon for a consult, and after that I'm sending my X-rays to Dr. Stone in San Francisco for his opinion.  My first wish would be - a miraculous healing!!  Second would be put it off as long as possible with a brace and go for a paste graft.  Third would be a minimally invasive partial knee.  I still kind of feel naseauted and like I'm in a bad dream.  I am such a chicken about medical procedures (and I've been a nurse all my adult life, LOL!!!) that this whole things is scarey.  The surgery, the pain, the rehab, all that.
     My thoughts are with you - I hope our braces work for us both!!!  If anyone has experience with unloader braces - how successful, any tips, what kinds you liked or didn't like, and also any experiences with the paste graft procedure and Dr. Stone, I'd be very grateful!
Good luck to everyone one on this site,
Susan

Offline lady

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #9 on: March 11, 2009, 11:37:47 AM »
I got the brace 2 days ago. I must have sensory issues because all I could think about was the itchy straps. Man oh man. That and I think I'm being stubborn and a baby. When I say this thing I couldn't believe I had to wear it all day everyday. YUCKy.

So I have had some relief and I am smiling so much more and complaing so much less these last 2 days. OK I've complained a little about the ithcy brace. lol. My husband says if I don't stop saying itchy itchy itchy he is going to show me his boogys in his tissue (he has a very bad cold). So I am starting to stop that. lol

Anyways. I have noticed  that its "hurting" a bit on the "good" side that didnt' hurt but I think they have to get used to taking up the slack for the other side. So I'm excited this could help and give me some relief. I am alittle concerned this could be for a long time. Which I have been reading and hearing.

My Pt guy says I need to discuss with my doc some issues which I will be at the end of the month when I start my orthovics. I had a really bad flare up last Thursday and had to take it easy I did no physical activity for 3 days and finaly got relief and swelling went down in time to be get my brace.

So now my Pt guy and I are taking it easy and with the brace that should help. The Pt guy has really helped me in understanding stuff I didnt or didn't want to. He agrees I should be able to do stuff but explains I can't and that my we (me, him and doc) have to exhaust all ways until there is the only way. Which is great I want to do that (I just wish my brace wasn't itchy itchy itchy).

I can't do all the physical stuff I want to do. And I am so very disappointed. I feel I need a shrink seriously! I feel I should be able to ride the bike every day for 30 minutes. I feel I should be able to say "hey what a great day lets go for a walk". But I can't.  I was boxing last summer and now I can't even ride a darn bike without regret during and after.  Are there any shrinks out there!!!!!lol

Thank you all for your input. I hope your knees aren't cranky today and have a great one. jenne
dislocated patella and chopped off most of chondal 1985
chondroplasty/medial meniscus repair 1996
ACI  quater size defect-surgery failure
lateral meniscus repair2002
chondroplasty, lateral Meniscectomy2006
synvisc & orthovisc injections 2008/2009
drained and cortizone injection 2008

Offline lady

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2009, 01:19:15 PM »
It works!!! OMG does it work. I still have some minor pain but minor is the major point. It is uncomfortable to wear but I am getting used to it. I can't stand all the questions for people when they seem me but oh well and my pants don't fit over it but oh well. This thing works!! Don't want to wear it for 2 years or 2 months but I WILL.

I can do PT without being in terrible pain, and practice soccer with my team, and work with my preschoolers and not want to chop my leg off. Its so crazy how when I dont' wear it I know I should be. The pain, it doesn't move right, and I limp big time no matter how hard I try to walk right Istill limp without it. So now I wear as much as possilbe like the doc said.

The orthovics shots are not helping. 1 more to go and we'll see. When I had my 1st series it worked a few days later I knew. The 2nd series no so we'll see with this series if it doesn't work I'm done with those.

Thanks all for your insight with the unloader. I'm so happy to have this crazy contraption.
dislocated patella and chopped off most of chondal 1985
chondroplasty/medial meniscus repair 1996
ACI  quater size defect-surgery failure
lateral meniscus repair2002
chondroplasty, lateral Meniscectomy2006
synvisc & orthovisc injections 2008/2009
drained and cortizone injection 2008

Offline nikkiluv

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2009, 04:48:53 PM »
Hi lady,

Glad to hear your unloader brace is working! I had my ACI scope on March 13th and am scheduled for a distal femoral osteotomy/lateral tibial plateau ACI for May 18th. When I went for my 1 week follow-up after my scope my doctor suggested I try the unloader brace for pain relief from now until my surgery (and I'll have to wear one after surgery too). He originally suggested I try an unloader brace for a month or two before having an MRI and then surgery, but I don't want to wear a brace for the rest of my life and know that a brace won't fix my knee like surgery will, so I just opted for the MRI and biopsy surgery as soon as possible.

I got my unloader brace on Thursday and noticed IMMEDIATE relief. When I first looked at it I thought "okay, is this thing really going to work?" but it does! (I knew that it had some working value behind it, because after all why would they manufacture it if it didn't?) I have the Ossur Unloader One (off the shelf, not custom) and after a few minor adjustments it really is pretty comfortable and I can get through an entire day wearing it. In fact I lasted 8 hours on the first day. I'm also grateful it's pretty streamlined, lightweight, and smaller than other unloader braces so it fits under my pants. It only comes in grey but the brace guy said a lot of people like it because unlike black it doesn't get so hot in the summer and warmer months. Overall, I'm happy with it and it's the only brace I've had that I actually looked forward to and having thrown on a shelf after a week. Like everyone else I don't want to married to a brace because nothing beats having to wear nothing on your leg, but if it provides pain relief like it does than I'm all for it.

Nicole
03/25/05 - RK debridement
12/22/05 - RK medial meniscal repair
10/31/08 - RK partial lateral menisectomy
03/13/09 - RK ACI biopsy
05/18/09 - RK ACI/DFVO
01/06/11 - ACI failure confirmed
*Currently awaiting call for fresh Osteoarticular Allograft Transplant cadaver match & removal of femoral hardware

Offline lady

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2009, 04:24:11 PM »
Nicole, glad to hear your having success too. I agree they wouldn't make them if they didn't work but funny how they do.

I just had my last orthovisc shot today. I asked the what if question because I'm having no sign of relif with the shot. I got the most unexpected answer......Osteotomy. My doc and his PA have never discussed this with me. I've been wearing the brace for about a month and told him the only thing that has given me relief and helped me walk correctly was the brace. I have lost alot of muscle and my leg has gotten much smaller in a month(i bearly have a quad). But anyways. He said when he prescribed the brace he hoped it would work but really wasn't sure it would. The fact that it is working so well tells him that the osteotomy is a possiblity. He said call in 6 weeks if the shot has not worked and we will talk about the possiblity of a Osteotomy. I'm so shocked!

I have never even considerd this type of surgery. I have read only a few posts about it and now after reading more I'm in a tale spin. I can see how it would help. And man do I give people a ton of credit for giving it a go after reading some posts. And I'm starting to think knowldege is good but it can be bad too. lol

I wish you the best of luck and best wishes on May 18th.
dislocated patella and chopped off most of chondal 1985
chondroplasty/medial meniscus repair 1996
ACI  quater size defect-surgery failure
lateral meniscus repair2002
chondroplasty, lateral Meniscectomy2006
synvisc & orthovisc injections 2008/2009
drained and cortizone injection 2008

Offline nikkiluv

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2009, 04:38:28 PM »
Hi lady,

Yeah, I agree that the thought of an osteotomy is very scary. My primary OS referred me out to my current OS, Dr. Tom Minas at the Cartilage Repair Center in Boston, after I had surgery for a lateral torn meniscus in my right knee back in October. At this point that was my third surgery (after a debridement, a medial meniscal repair, and then the lateral partial menisectomy), and each time he noticed more and more articular cartilage damage (the last time he went in it was bone on bone). So when I went to Dr. Minas I was really only expecting to talk about ACI, not a distal femoral osteotomy as well. I was pretty shocked and definitely freaked out too when he mentioned the osteotomy part! But, after talking with Dr. Minas I agree it's only logical if I'm going to go through with the ACI to do the osteotomy as well. Since I'm slightly knock kneed, there is a great deal of pressure on my lateral compartment (where my cartilage defect is, it's on my lateral tibial plateau). If I have the ACI without the osteotomy, my ACI will have a greater chance of failing or not lasting as long because it'll just wear away again with my alignment still off. If I'm going to go through all the pain, time, and everything else associated with a long recovery from an ACI, I'm going to have the osteotomy too which will hopefully give the ACI a better chance of success.

So that's why I'm going through what I'm going through. It seems a decent amount of people have had osteotomies, and some even multiple for both legs or multiple for the same leg, for even worse alignment issues than me. What's keeping me going is the hope that after all of this, my surgery on May 18th will hopefully be my last one and will leave me pain free (something I haven't even been able to imagine until now). Being 23 I know how much of an impact this is had on my life and what I've been able to do, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to do what I want to do in life without having to factor in how my knee will handle it all.

Good luck and best wishes with everything too, lady. I hope you figure everything out and you end up pain free too. :)
03/25/05 - RK debridement
12/22/05 - RK medial meniscal repair
10/31/08 - RK partial lateral menisectomy
03/13/09 - RK ACI biopsy
05/18/09 - RK ACI/DFVO
01/06/11 - ACI failure confirmed
*Currently awaiting call for fresh Osteoarticular Allograft Transplant cadaver match & removal of femoral hardware

Offline lady

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Re: unloader brace
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2009, 05:03:59 PM »
Wow are you a lucky girl. Dr. Minas is amazing. I have heard great things about him. I contemplating going to him but at the time the wait was so long and I knew I had issues that needed to delt with sooner rather than later and found another great doc that had a less waiting time.

 My cousin had the opportunity to learn form your doc and she can't say enough about him. I believe he is a leader in the ACI surgury. I had ACI a looooong time ago. It failed for me but I feel now is the best time for anyone having it. I try to keep up on the progress of this type of surgery and it seems the people who have it now are doing so well. Good LUCK!

I agree I think the 2 surgeries with compliment each other. Maybe that was part of my ACI failure. No one will knw. But I have confidence not only in the surgery now but who you have preforming it.
dislocated patella and chopped off most of chondal 1985
chondroplasty/medial meniscus repair 1996
ACI  quater size defect-surgery failure
lateral meniscus repair2002
chondroplasty, lateral Meniscectomy2006
synvisc & orthovisc injections 2008/2009
drained and cortizone injection 2008















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