Understanding knee pain

By understanding your knee pain, you’ll be better equipped to find solutions that help you experience the adventure ahead with less pain.

Knee pain and osteoarthritis

Most people are likely to experience knee pain at some point in their lives. Playing sports or engaging in other strenuous activities can contribute to acute pain and inflammation from overuse of the knee joint. While serious injuries are relatively uncommon, chronic knee pain may progress into a more severe hindrance over time.

What is knee oa?




What is Knee OA?

A common cause of knee pain is osteoarthritis (OA), a chronic degenerative condition affecting the knee joint. As knee OA progresses from mild to severe, the natural cushioning between joints, cartilage, gets worn away and the bones start to rub and grind against each other, causing significant pain and discomfort.

At this stage, the surface of the knee cartilage is beginning to breakdown and x-rays or MRIs of knee joints may show small bone spurs, cracks or indentations forming. Patients with mild knee OA may experience pain or discomfort after a long day of walking. Wearing an ultra-lightweight knee brace like Unloader One Lite could help prevent further breakdown and while easing mild knee pain.

At this stage, the knee cartilage has broken down to the point that the bones are more frequently rubbing together. People with moderate knee OA may experience pain while walking, running, bending or using the stairs. Joint stiffness is commonly experienced after long periods of sitting or lying down. Inflammation of the joints is also reported following more strenuous activities.

Wearing our clinically proven knee brace, Unloader One, may prolong the need for total joint replacement surgery. Unloader One is a non-invasive and non-pharmacological conservative treatment option recognized by leading physicians.

Severe OA is characterized by great pain and discomfort during everyday activities. By this stage, the joint space between bones is significantly reduced because the cartilage is nearly gone, and the bones to rub and grate against each other. The synovial fluid, which provides lubrication for joints, has decreased drastically and no longer reduces friction during movement.

Knee surgery is often the only viable treatment option for people who are diagnosed with severe knee OA. However, it is important to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle in order to avoid complications during surgery. Wearing an Unloader One knee brace is clinically proven to relieve pain, helping you improve your mobility, maintain a healthy lifestyle and aid surgical outcomes.

What Causes Knee OA?

There are a number of different factors that can increase the risk of developing osteoarthritis of the knee, and also impact the rate at which knee OA progresses over time.


Age is a contributing factor in the development of osteoarthritis because the natural ability of cartilage to heal decreases as you get older.

Body weight

Extra weight can add increased pressure on knee joints and often accelerates the degenerative process of cartilage breakdown, causing osteoarthritis. Maintaining a healthy body weight is the primary way to reduce your risk of developing knee OA.

Family history

Having a family history of arthritis may increase your likelihood of developing knee OA.

Past knee injury

Injuring your knee, and specifically damaging knee ligaments, can cause cartilage degeneration to start much earlier or progress more rapidly. Those who have torn their anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), or sustained other ligament injuries, are at an increased risk of developing knee OA within the next ten years.

What Symptoms are Associated with Knee Osteoarthritis?

Listed below are the symptoms commonly reported by people who have been diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis (OA). If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, especially if you have previously injured your knee, it is important that you talk to your doctor about knee OA.

  • Pain or discomfort in knee joints that may reduce mobility, making it difficult to get up and out of chairs, use the stairs, or walk long distances.
  • Stiffness due to inflammation, especially in the morning or after sitting for a long period of time.
  • Creaking, crackly and popping sounds when the knee moves have also been reported by people suffering from knee OA.

How is Knee OA Diagnosed?

Only a trained medical professional can accurately and effectively diagnose osteoarthritis. If you are experiencing chronic knee pain and think it may be due to knee OA, it is best to speak with your doctor as soon as possible.

If you do receive a diagnosis of knee OA, do not lose hope! There are a number of options available to treat your condition, including our Unloader One knee brace, clinically proven to relieve OA knee pain.

Find a practitioner

Talk to your doctor about getting an Össur Unloader brace for your knee osteoarthritis. Once prescribed, visit an orthotist or use our search tool to find a practitioner near you who can get you fit with the right brace.