What if there is a 'leg brace' that could reduce 'knee pain' for elderly patients?

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My professor and I with few other students are trying to develop wearable walking aid device (a leg brace) which helps patients with orthopedic illness reduce pain in knee and ankle joints. I've learned that many elderly suffer from knee pain, and I thought that it would be great if elderly could benefit from the device.


Do you think it would be helpful?
I've also read that many parents refuse to use a walker. Do they also refuse to wear a leg brace or knee brace as well? What are other things that you would consider when deciding to use a walking aid device for your elderly loved ones?


Any suggestions would be very helpful for our research.
Thank you very much.

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Louise93 - good luck to you and your team. I think you have a noble idea which can also generate fortune for you.
Now for the brace - the thing with braces is they work wonders for short period of time. My understanding is that, it is difficult to keep them on for a longer period (by long I mean longer than 30 mins). The reasons - irritation caused by perspiration, skin contact, constant nerve pressing (that can lead to other complications) etc.

Arthritis is the most predominant cause of knee pain in elderly (osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and post-traumatic arthritis). Knee replacement surgery is recommended (after other solutions don't bear results) for patients. Although the success rate is high, it is still an invasive surgery, patients take time to recover (almost an year) and it costs a lot (uninsured hospitalization cost can be upwards of $40,000 in US).
If you can develop a solution (wearable, medication, permanently installed device etc) that can return patients to normal active life style within weeks and cost significantly less... then you have hit a gold mine. As the population comes of age, arthritis is going to be a significant problem.

Just remember, nothing is impossible! good luck.
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Hi Golden; thank heaven the brace works for him! I can't imagine how painful bone on bone is and have seen many people with this condition and it's so sad to see the pain on their faces when they walk. 
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A body brace was suggested for my mother when she was in so much pain. My mother looked at it and said, "No, I wouldn't wear that," -- without knowing whether/how much it might help with the pain. We did not move forward with it.

Could a senior get the brace on alone, or would this be something for those in a care facility or with a in-home caregiver? (Mom had a hard time putting socks on.)

There is a huge difference, I think, between the motivation level of a 57-year-old working man and a 79-year-old retired person. If what you mainly want to do is sit in a recliner and read or croquet or watch television, why would you want to bother with a brace? But for those who are more active and motivated, reducing pain would be an awesome reward!

Often the elderly experience some incontinence. How hard would it be to change pants/undies? Would the brace need to come off?

I think there may be some factors that impact a senior's decision to use a device like this that would be different for a younger person.
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I (am 57 year old woman) have bone on bone, Chondromalacia Patella, a severe tracking issue, and I have tried many different types of knee braces. Some help, others do not, but if I found one that definitely helped, I would use it most of the time. The issue with wearing a knee brace is that you cannot always conceal them under your pants, and sometimes have to wear them over your leggings. I find that they begin to irritate behind the knee after a while.
There are many different available on Amazon, 100's, but I agree with the others, you would need to have one specifically fitted, just for you to be affective.
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Thank you so much for every opinion! 
I have been trying to talk to as many patients as possible to understand more about their pain and how I should develop the device.

I also contacted Orthopedics surgeons and physical therapists.
I have met some and I will keep trying to talk to more experts.

I would really appreciate if you could share your knowledge!
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shane - sig other's knee is bone on bone and the brace helps a lot. A surgeon made a mistake... :(
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Not sure if a knee brace would provide much pain relief for bone on bone osteoarthritis which is unfortunately the most common etiology for knee pain in the elderly (and even we 50 something's). It may help for a floating patella or excess inflammation however.
Keep those ideas coming though. Wishing success in your future ventures!
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I want to be carried.
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Knee braces do reduce pain. They have to be fitted to each individual and may need replacing regularly if the knee changes, so it is an expensive item. My sig other wears one due to a work injury some years ago and it gets replaced every few years. It is funded by Workman's Compensation (Canada}. He is very active and it helps him. I doubt that it would be a practical solution for most seniors. He is highly motivated to wear it and to keep active.
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Dear Louise,

I think its great that you are working on a product that might be able to assist the elderly. But sometimes putting on a leg brace might be too much work for an elderly patient. And as GardenArtist suggested this is something that would need to be modified for each patient.
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