Active Knee Braces for Medial Knee Osteoarthritis

Anthony Anderson
Dylan Reinsdorf

Unloader braces are a conservative treatment option for unicompartmental knee osteoarthritis; they are intended to unload the damaged compartment through application of an external abduction moment in the frontal plane. Patient response to bracing is highly variable: some experience improvements in pain and function, while others receive little to no benefit. Patient brace rejection is common.

Passive braces are the current standard of brace care, where the brace abduction moment is not modulated during the gait cycle. We aim to explore how active bracing could be used as a treatment option for medial knee osteoarthritis. To this end, we are developing a system that can control the abduction moment magnitude during the gait cycle.

Our system utilizes an off-the-shelf knee brace, modified with a custom mechanism and load cell to allow for abduction moment modulation and measurement. The brace is actuated via an off-board motor and controller. We will compare the effects of our active brace system to a passive brace on multiple subjects diagnosed with medial knee osteoarthritis, using subjective measures and biomechanical outcomes.

Mentored by:

Patrick Aubin