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Knee Pain and Mobility Aids: Choosing the Right Support in Singapore

This is true with logical reasoning because most people eat dinner at night and get hungry before bedtime. So it can make people end up eating extra food late at night. It’s more about the choices people make about what to eat late at night that’s a real concern. Many people tend to eat junk food while watching television during this time, which only adds empty calories. So it’s not eating late at night necessarily, but the type of food and the amount of calories taken in. This is most definitely a cause of weight gain.

This claim is often thrown around without any evidence. At the simplest level, weight management is about balancing the number of calories you take in with the number of calories you burn off. What time you do this won’t change the end result. On the other hand, people who eat late at night tend to consume significantly more calories overall. This increased calorie intake could result in weight gain if not matched with enough activity to burn them off.

Many of us have heard the idea that when you’re trying to lose weight, it’s a bad idea to eat late at night. My mother often tried to convince me to stop eating after 8 p.m. when I was a teenager, for fear the food wouldn’t be burned off and would turn into extra padding. Is there any truth to this?

Understanding Knee Pain

There may be a wide range of reasons why you are suffering from knee pain. Regardless of the cause, you’ll find the solution in one of the many knee braces that are available. The level of knee support given may vary anywhere from mildly compressive to rigid and unyielding. This will not only help to nurse an injury back to health, but it may aid those who are suffering from a permanent knee problem. But whether the injury is temporary or permanent all begins with a visit to the knee pain specialist. It is important to get a diagnosis for the cause of pain. This will help to find the most effective type of knee support and it may rule out the need for a knee brace altogether. If the pain is due to arthritis, a doctor may suggest a knee sleeve. These will provide warmth, compression, and mild support. They are generally cheap and can be purchased at most pharmacies. In more severe cases of arthritis, individuals may be given a prescription for a rigid hinged or unloader brace. These are custom-made for the individual and very expensive. Fortunately, they are covered by most insurance companies. A knee brace may be suggested no matter what the diagnosis for pain. This is because it is an effective preventative measure against further injury or damage to the knee.

Importance of Mobility Aids

Whilst there are no randomized controlled trials on the effects of mobility aids on knee pain, there have been a number of qualitative studies that have shown the subjective effectiveness of different types of mobility aids. A qualitative study on arthritis sufferers suggested that the use of a single-point cane can increase the user’s confidence in stability and reduce the threat of a fall. It is often considered the minimum requirement for those with osteoarthritis of the knee, but the study revealed that many users felt stigmatized about their age or disability. This demonstrates that the effectiveness of a mobility aid goes beyond just the physical effects and can have a significant impact on the user’s psychological well-being. Another example was a qualitative study on total knee arthroplasty patients which suggested that those using a 4-wheeled walker felt safer and were more likely to increase their amount of exercise due to decreased fear of a fall. This resulted in improved knee function and overall health.

Mobility aids are often suggested for those with knee joint disability as it can help improve the user’s mobility and vastly improve their quality of life. It reduces the load exerted on the knee and can provide stability and support. It also slows down the progression of knee joint degeneration and, in particular, taking the load off an affected knee can be beneficial in reducing the pain from osteoarthritis. While it may seem like an obvious choice to the user, the importance of mobility aids can vary greatly from one individual to another. This is largely due to the fact that knee pain has varying degrees of severity and different individuals have different lifestyle and functional needs. For these reasons, the current state of evidence for the importance of mobility aids on knee pain is limited.

Types of Mobility Aids

A variety of knee supports are available depending on the functional level of the individual and the severity of the problem. Basic sleeve type supports provide compression and warmth and may be sufficient for individuals with minor pain and swelling. These are available in a variety of materials and thicknesses. More advanced knee braces provide added stability for either the medial or lateral side of the knee and are indicated for ligament tears or osteoarthritis. Unloader or offloader braces are designed to relieve pain from the affected side of the knee in those with more significant arthritis. This is achieved by transferring the load to the other side of the knee and are indicated for those with pain on only one side of the knee, usually from unicompartmental osteoarthritis. These braces are custom fitted and require an assessment from an orthopaedic surgeon.

Knee Braces and Supports

For mild to moderate stable knees following injuries or cartilage injuries and soft tissue, the prophylactic brace is useful as it is designed to prevent an injury and is typically worn in contact sports. These braces are relatively inexpensive compared to other braces and can also be effective for patients with knee pain due to a meniscus tear. In cases of mild osteoarthritis, an “unloader” brace may shift your weight off the affected side of the knee and is used to relieve pain. These braces are indicated in instances where the patient is not a candidate for surgery and can be effective in delaying the time at which surgery is chosen.

Knee braces and supports come in various degrees of severity. They are used for different conditions depending on the severity of the condition. The selection of knee braces and supports also depends on the amount of time you are going to wear them. A knee brace can help keep your knee stable and decrease pain and swelling. An elastic brace can be worn for a longer period of time because it provides joint support without interfering with muscle function. A good knee brace should provide enough stability to decrease muscle strain, but it should not be so rigid that it interferes with muscle function.

Canes and Crutches

When no weight is to be put through the affected leg, the use of crutches or a single cane may be a suitable aid. These are particularly useful for people with acute injuries such as ligament tears.

With axillary crutches and single canes, the aim is to eliminate or reduce weightbearing on the affected limb. This is often a difficult and cumbersome task as upper body strength and coordination is required to do this safely. Weightbearing on the affected leg can result in an altered gait pattern which may exacerbate the problem or cause pain in other joints. The use of axillary crutches and single canes can also result in a Trendelenburg gait with the pelvis shifting over the affected leg, often resulting in further mechanical loading of the knee. This gait pattern can be very difficult to change and may result in long term problems.

The knee canes are not the typical wooden crooked handle canes. Knee canes have a cradle built into the handle that holds the affected leg off the ground. These are designed for people who are unable to put weight through the affected leg, but still have reasonable function in the other leg. The affected leg is placed in the cradle with the user gripping the handle and moving both the cane and affected leg through with a walking motion. This allows the user to maintain a near normal walking pattern.

Dealing with knee issues can be a difficult ordeal for many people. The pain that is associated can make daily activities exhausting and often painful. The knee joint is also among the most complex in the body, being a hinge joint that twists and rotates as well. Many factors can be associated with knee pain. Some people have knee pain as a result of an injury – such as a ligament tear. Others may be suffering from chronic knee pain due to arthritis. In any case, many people may be advised by their doctor to use a mobility aid to offload weight from the knee or to improve stability. This article outlines the available aids and will help you to decide which aid is right for you.

Walkers and Rollators

Walkers and rollators are a boon for all those who have knee pain and need to walk around without feeling severe pain. Individuals with chronic knee pain can recover mobility, freedom, and self-confidence. To choose the right walker, it’s essential to understand its use. Walkers are used primarily for users with severely reduced strength in the lower extremities and should only be used if a high level of stability and balance is present. Many elderly people who can no longer sustain their body weight on their own due to knee pain, have hips which are even worse off, can use a walker to help support their body weight and reduce the load on their affected legs. Using a walker to offload body weight from the knee can help reduce knee joint pain and increase mobility for persons with knee osteoarthritis. Canes can help improve mobility for individuals with knee pain by providing additional stability and support while decreasing load on the affected leg. Canes can help reduce the pain and joint loads experienced at the knee, and offloading one leg with a cane may provide relief for people with severe or unilateral knee osteoarthritis. When used correctly, walkers and canes are effective tools to increase the safety and mobility of persons with knee pain. Rollators are for those who have good stability but are too painful to walk around without feeling discomfort or pain. Rollators are essentially a more versatile and sophisticated cane. They typically have a brake system, a seat, and storage, and are lighter and easier to handle than a walker. Rollators offer users the ability to sit and rest when they’re too tired or experiencing too much pain, can be used indoors and outdoors, and provide a significant increase in mobility compared to a standard or wheeled walker. Rollators come in 3 or 4-wheeled models, with 3-wheeled models being more maneuverable and lighter, and 4-wheeled models offering more stability and support. A rollator would be suited to users who need a bit more support than a cane, want the ability to go for longer walks, and need to be able to sit and rest whenever required.

Factors to Consider

Knee pain may vary in severity from mild to moderate to severe. At times, knee pain may be acute, whereas at other times it may be chronic, lasting for a long period of time. The severity of your knee pain will usually affect your choice of mobility aid. If your knee pain is temporary, for example, if it is due to an injury such as a ligament tear, you may opt to use a knee brace for added support when engaging in physical activities. If your knee pain is due to gradual wearing and tearing of the cartilage in the knee joint, you may require a more long-term solution, such as using a knee unloader brace to correct the misalignment of the knee joint and reduce pressure on the affected side of the knee. For severe knee pain or pain following surgery or traumatic injury, using a knee immobilizer or a pair of crutches may be the best way to completely unweight the knee and prevent further damage to the knee joint. Another important factor to consider is your lifestyle and mobility needs. Do you require pain relief and added stability at work where you have to stand or walk a lot? Do you need an aid that can allow you to continue playing sports, or an aid that can help you maintain mobility and independence when carrying out daily activities such as climbing stairs and standing up from sitting? Depending on the nature of your work or the activities you wish to perform, you may need to seek professional advice from a knee pain specialist on the most optimal solution for your knee condition.

Severity of Knee Pain

Different aids provide different levels of support. The general rule of thumb is to match the device to the level of instability. For example, if you have very weak quadriceps (thigh muscles) and have difficulty in straightening your knee, a knee sleeve may not be enough support. A hinged sleeve or a knee brace with metal struts on either side of the knee would be more appropriate in this instance. At the more severe end of the scale, a knee cage may be necessary. This is a rigid frame that surrounds the knee, restricting movement and absorbing the load through the device rather than the knee. These are custom-made and can be very costly, but often people find they can help to avoid or delay the need for total knee replacement. A detailed list of the types of knee braces and their indications can be found here.

Lifestyle and Mobility Needs

A limp or sore knee can lead those afflicted to compensate for the pain of one knee by leaning more heavily on the other unafflicted leg to avoid using the muscles and tendons around the sore joint. This compensation can lead to pain in the opposite leg, foot, hip, and/or back from overuse of those muscles and can result in limitation of range of motion and mobility in both lower limbs. People who suffer from chronic knee pain due to arthritis can develop a limp and/or a deformity such as bowlegs or knock-knees. In some cases of severe arthritis, the leg is so deformed that an ordinary brace cannot be worn on the knee. The major objective in the treatment of knee pain is to allow moderate activity and to lessen the pain. To adequately address this issue, patients first need to understand and consider the major demands/needs of their lifestyle and then match those needs with the functioning of the particular aid. This matching of needs with aid is where knowledge of the capabilities and design of various braces is essential. The healthcare professional or specialist at the medical supply store can assist patients in finding the right brace to match the functional needs of their lifestyle. A number of patients will need to use a cane in the opposite hand to off-load weight from a painful knee. Lightly pushing a grocery cart or using a “butterfly” walker can lessen joint stress and improve mobility for people with bilateral knee arthritis.

Cost and Affordability

The decision-making process is ongoing, and the cost of and the availability for repair and maintenance of the product is important to consider over long-term use. A good equipment will last a while, but this is important for the case of replacement with the same product should it be lost or broken. This may be the case with custom-made orthoses. Prices will vary throughout a range of types and qualities; the determinant is based on cost-effectiveness to the situation, and the expected cost is likely to correlate with the expected effect on pain and function.

Should the consumer feel the need to use a specific product, price comparing will dictate from where the consumer will buy the product. This is generally done on the internet and is made easier through sites such as eBay, where one can select the price they want to pay for a certain product.

At this point, the consumer will assess the cost-to-benefit ratio of the product. This is self-explanatory; if the product is expensive and the consumer is unsure of the benefit or how long they plan to use it for, then the product may not be worth purchasing.

Pricing is always going to play a large role in a purchasing decision. Using the knee supports as an example, the use of simple sleeves or copper braces are very cheap but provide little structural support for those with severe knee instability. These can range from $10-30 and can be found in local convenience stores. A step up from this is using an elastic knee brace or simple neoprene support. These provide more support with the compression acting to slightly improve patella tracking and general knee stability. A high-quality brace of this kind, which is suitable for mild to moderate instability, can range from $30-100. Finally, there are the hinged supports and unloader braces. These range greatly depending on brace quality and the specific technology used. This can range from $100-600. Choosing a knee support is based on the severity of the knee problem and the desired effect of the support. The greater the effect and the more severe the problem, the more one would expect to pay for a knee support. This also extends to consideration of knee surgery for a knee replacement or any other surgical methods. This could lead to a temporary use of a cane, crutches, or a wheelie-walker.

This begins a broader topic that, in fact, enters a main category for many people’s decisions. Using a mobility aid is sometimes associated with old age, and one may feel reluctant to use a walking aid such as a wheelie-walker or forearm crutches due to stigma and status. As mentioned earlier, large knee pain interferes greatly with function. This is a good and bad thing. For those who are in immense pain and strive to live life as best they can, using a walking aid has a huge effect on pain levels. By reducing the load through the knee joint/tissue, one can effectively reduce pain and create a cushion for the knee.

Consultation with a Knee Pain Specialist

When deciding upon consulting a specialist, a lot of time may be spent consulting Dr. Google, and this may lead to increased anxiety if the information obtained suggests a serious cause for your knee pain. Remember, you have already diagnosed the self-reported severity of your knee pain and now have a good description of what your knee pain is stopping you from doing. It is probable that an improved diagnosis will be obtained with consultation of a specialist, and this may avoid unnecessary concern. High levels of internet-based health information-seeking behavior have been shown to be associated with increased levels of anxiety. An accurate diagnosis by a health professional is the first step in understanding the cause of your knee pain. An accurate diagnosis enables effective treatment and future prevention. By clarification of the cause of your knee pain, you will be able to determine what activities are good and bad for your knee. This information will enable effective self-management of your knee pain.

There are many healthcare professionals who can assess and treat your knee pain. In the first instance, you may choose to consult a general practitioner. They can determine the nature of your knee pain and may refer you to a specialist for further diagnosis. Physiotherapists, occupational therapists, and nurses are other health professionals who can assess and treat your knee pain. All these professionals may be able to help in the treatment of your knee pain. However, if your knee pain is due to a specific condition, then consulting a specialist in that area is the best way to get an accurate diagnosis and advice on treatment.

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