Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Engineering Science


Mechanical and Materials Engineering


Dr. Thomas Jenkyn


A common conservative treatment for knee osteoarthritis is the use of an ‘unloader’ brace. Although many studies have been conducted on unloader braces, the actual effect of the brace on internal knee joint loading remains unclear.

This study examined the internal effects of a custom-fit and an off-the-shelf unloader brace on the reduction of loading within the affected compartment of an Osteoarthritic knee joint using three-dimensional (3D) gait analysis and a novel 3D, mathematical model of the knee joint.

The loading results were compared to evaluate differences between the braced and the unbraced conditions. No conditioning effect was seen in patient gait with a one-week familiarization period. Also, the braces were found to decrease loading within the affected compartment of the knee compared to wearing no brace, with greater reductions seen for the custom-fit brace. These results provide a further understanding of the loading changes brought on by unloader braces.



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