7 Best Unloader Knee Brace for Osteoarthritis 2022

best unloader knee brace for osteoarthritis

Knee osteoarthritis can be a painful and scary experience; you may notice that knee pain will limit your ability to steer, work, and participate totally in recreational activity.

Did you know the fact — knee pain affects approximately 25% of adults.

The prevalence of knee pain has increased by nearly sixty-five percent over the past twenty years, accounting for nearly 4 million primary care visits annually.

According to the arthritis foundation, more than 30 million adults in the United States have osteoarthritis.

If you are one of them, you may require a physical therapist to help improve range of motion and decrease pain. If you have osteoarthritis in your knee, you may wonder if an unloader knee brace is the right device for you.

What kind of knee brace is best for arthritis?

A recent study shows that unloader braces are an economical and effective treatment for unicompartmental knee osteoarthritis and they can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life and potentially delay the need for surgery.

How do unloader knee braces work?

Unloader knee brace is mainly designed for unloading the pressure of a knee joint while doing physical activities. 

An unloader knee braces are prescribed for people who have unicompartmental knee osteoarthritis, which is the condition characterized by abnormal articular cartilage in the medial or lateral part of the knee joint.

It reduces the load on the damaged area by transferring the load to un-affective parts of the knee. It is done by simply adjusting the unloading hinges.

What are the best unloader knee braces for osteoarthritis?

What We Like

Light weight, low profile, and easy to use design.
Silicone gripped liners and strap pads to help prevent migration.
Condyle pads for increased comfort, stability and pain control.

What We Don't Like

Bulky under clothing – but not quite as cumbersome.

Osteoarthritis— the most common painful chronic (long-lasting) joint condition.—affects more than 30 million Americans. Many people find that orthotic unloading knee brace, like the Orthomen OA Unloader brace, can help.

Specifically designed for unicompartmental Osteoarthritis of the knee, these knee brace features unique varus/valgus angle adjustment to provide compartmental off-loading and optimize pain relief.

The Orthomen OA Unloader is a comfortable, lightweight, low-profile brace with 3 points of leverage for reducing pressure outside the knee joint. It’s universal; fitting a wide variety of patients easily. The strapping system allows for full adjustment, but also features quick snaps for quick and easy application.

Do knee supports work for osteoarthritis?

OA also known as degenerative joint disease is the most prevalent type of arthritis. It’s characterized by joint pain swelling and stiffness due to the breakdown and loss of cartilage in the joints.

Most cases some form of pain reliever or anti-inflammatory drug physical therapy and knee braces can help reduce symptoms.

In many cases a knee brace is recommended for joint stabilization knee alignment correction and pain really if you’re suffering from knee OA, Orthomen is a leading global provider of high-quality orthopedic devices, has a range of braces and sleeves that can help support your knee and relieve your symptoms and slow the degenerative process.

What We Like

Light weight.
Breathable padding coated with silicone that virtually eliminates slipping or rotation.
The buckle and strapping design makes it easier to apply and remove the brace

What We Don't Like


For those who don’t know– Ossur has a long history of providing some of the most effective, non-invasive mobility solutions on the market today, and the Unloader one OTC isn’t here to tell a different story. The Unloader One brace has 30-50% more unloading power than the original Unloader, with only HALF the weight.

The Unloader One is so easy, convenient to use. It will take a day or two of adjustments to get it perfect for you knee, but once everything is set, and you follow the instructions exactly, it works as it says it will. It took the pain from the medial side and shifted the load to the lateral (less affected side) of the knee.

This brace is pricey, but compared to everything else in the market, it was well worth it. However, people say little irritation to their sensitive skins, but wearing under sleeve help you to avoid skin irritation. Very easy to put on and take off. Once you have the settings figured out, it takes less than 30 seconds to put it on and off –you go walking without pain.

Does knee braces help with arthritis pain?

The answer is YES, 

Dr. Matthew Lawless is an orthopedic surgeon in Centerville– he says “Knee bracing can help in some cases limit the symptoms of patients with knee arthritis, have no brace or any other motility has been shown to limit the progression or slow the progression of osteoarthritis.”

What We Like

Lightweight - only 19 oz.
Quick release buckles for easier fitting.
Swiveling straps & Sili-grip style padding eliminates slippage.
Comfortable to wear.

What We Don't Like


Don Joy OA Everyday knee brace is for those looking to have the world’s lightest functional OA knee brace available in the market. Its ergonomic sweeping medial thigh/calf frame is low profile and comfortable to wear.

It doesn’t come cheap though. This behemoth of an unloader brace will make your pockets lighter by over $400!

In all fairness, this unloader knee brace does offer an awful lot for the price! The DonJoy OA Everyday Knee Brace provides the ultimate in pain relief and comfort by opening the medial (inner) or lateral (outer) side of your knee where mild to moderate degenerative changes have occurred.

With the brace you can relax your leg muscles while walking. You do not have to be afraid that you make a wrong move with your knee that will hurt. The only problem is finding pants wide enough. No good for skinny jeans!

It’s easy to apply and ideal for activities of daily living or sedentary patients. Its single upright design accommodates a wide range of leg shapes and is a great choice for those wanting a lighter and slimmer brace option.

Are DonJoy brace good for osteoarthritis?

Unloader knee braces can mitigate the pain and discomfort caused by Osteoarthritis because they minimize the stress and load of the knee.

The Donjoy OA Everyday brace is an off-the-shelf alternative that properly aligns the joint to relieve pain and is clinically proven to effectively redistribute weight across the knee.

What We Like

Pivot point strap pads.
Thumbwheel dial hinge –Easy for adjustment process
Comfortable to wear.

What We Don't Like

Bulky under clothing.

If you’re looking for a medial unloader knee brace that can help you to avoid knee replacement surgery & if you have unicompartmental (only on one side) osteoarthritis, the Breg Fusion OA Plus Osteoarthritic Knee Brace is a good choice.

The Breg Fusion OA plus features an exclusive adjustable hinge technology, which provides an effective valgus load to the knee. The hinge utilizes Breg’s thumbwheel dial design that allows patients to easily adjust the level of offloading without using a tool.

What does an unloader knee brace do?

Studies show that unloader knee braces is generally considered a cost-effective treatment that offers pain relief without side effects.

it’s designed for people with osteoarthritis(OA) of the knee, you’ll be wearing either the fusion OA plus brace if you have pain on the medial or inside part of your knee, or the fusion lateral OA plus if your OA is on the lateral or outside part of your knee.

Now let me explain why the fusion OA plus brace was recommended for you. It is designed to provide the right amount of force to aid the alignment of your knee to help support activities of daily living also important is the overall comfort of the brace, but they can’t prevent or reduce all possible knee injuries your doctor will talk to you about your OA treatment program and whether you need to change your activity level.

Can you wash a Breg knee brace?

You will need to clean your fusion OA plus brace periodically depending on how active you are and how much you perspire. To clean your brace remove the frame pads, condyle pads, straps, and strap pads. Hand-wash brace parts in cold water with mild soap; rinse and air dry.

Occasionally you may want to apply a dry lubricant to the hinges especially if you’ve worn your brace in water. Don’t use wd-40 or other solvent based products oil or grease since they can attract dirt to the hinge.

What We Like

Comfortable and provide better support

What We Don't Like


Most of the unloading knee braces are expensive. But if you don’t want to spend an arm and a leg or have to go through insurance, you should still be able to get a good unloading knee brace.

That’s where the Z1 K2 knee Brace comes in. This unloading brace helps secure and support your knee when you walk, run or even hiking.

The Z1 K2 is a very sturdy and well-constructed knee brace. So, if you are looking for an unloader brace for mild- osteoarthritis or ligament injuries (ACL), this Z1 K2 was worth a try.

It features a silicon coated frame liner and strap pads that provide the best grip and promote brace suspension. And the flexible plastic thigh & calf frame confirm to body anatomy.

Some users say it took a few days to get the hang of putting this brace on, but once they got it right, this brace is great.

 It’s very light but very strong and has much better support than other braces available on the market. However, be sure to check your size, because many users disappointed with sizing.

What is the best knee brace after ACL surgery?

After knee surgery like a meniscus repair or an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair, an unloader knee brace help you to stabilize the joint.

These Z1 K2 knee brace is specifically designed for provide assistance with ligament injuries, sports injuries and mild osteoarthritis. If you are looking for an unloader knee brace after ACL surgery, the Z-One K2 knee brace is a better option for you.

What We Like

Water proof
Best for ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL, and CI.

What We Don't Like


If you’re struggling with knee pain during your workday, an offloading knee brace can help relieve some of the pressure on your knee so can focus on the task in front of you.

The DonJoy Legend SE-4 knee brace provide the ultimate combination of stabilization and protection of the knee joint. This brace specifically designed for reducing knee pain caused by ACL injury of the knee and often helps delay the need for surgery.

It features a low-profile design, and is recommended for use in all contact sports and activities. This knee support brace is ideal for moderate to severe anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and Combined Instabilities (CI), PCL, MCL, LCL.

The DonJoy Legend SE-4 knee support brace designed with a patented 4-point dynamic leverage system technology that helps prevent knee subluxations.

Are DonJoy knee braces waterproof?

It is constructed from strong, aircraft grade aluminium and is coated with Kraton, a substance that does not chip, rust, or corrode; so it’s also safe for salt and fresh water activities.

What We Like

Anti-migration and adjustable strap to keep the brace in place

What We Don't Like

Not made for heavy muscled legs.

Studies have shown that Unloader braces are an economical and effective treatment for unicompartmental knee osteoarthritis. However, some types of knee braces are uncomfortable or don’t bring enough support. That isn’t the case with Shock Doctor’s knee brace. 

In all fairness, this knee brace does offer an awful lot for the price! It provides support for many types of knee instabilities and ultimate body-in-motion performance.

The Shock Doctor’s Knee Brace provides the ultimate in pain relief and comfort for patients suffering from moderate to severe osteoarthritis pain. The Shock Doctor’s adjuster is an off-the-shelf alternative that properly aligns the joint relieves pain and is clinically proven to effectively redistribute weight across the knee.

It fits like a glove to your knees — of course you have to make sure the measurement is correct. If anyone is looking for a knee brace for running or playing with bad knees, Shock Doctor BIO-Logix is the better option for you. Make sure you have correct measurement according to the instruction. It includes additional pads to add onto the knee brace so that it can fit perfectly. It fits so well that you can wear it all day long.

Should I wear a knee brace all the time?

It depends on the condition of your knee and type of knee brace you choose. The Braceit K2 knee brace is uncomfortable while sleep, so they not perfect for all day wear.

But, Shock Doctor BIO-Logix is comfortable for all day wearing. It includes additional pads to add onto the knee brace so that it can fit perfectly. It fits so well that you can wear it all day long. However, if you’re in doubt about whether your condition is complicated discuss with your doctor before wear it.

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1 thought on “What are the best Unloader Knee Brace for Osteoarthritis – 2022”

  1. HiHi I have osteoarthritis in my left knee with bone on bone on the inside . the outside is quite good. I am trying to avoid surgery until I lose weight as I am v overweight at present. It is painful only when I walk , please can you advise which brace to buy. My consultant has suggested a Donjoy which looks horrible and is v expensive but perhaps itis best??? Thank you for your help R

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