Are Age and OA Stage a Valid Parameter?

The short answer: No.

So who qualifies for an unloading knee brace?

Patients with varus or valgus knee OA with clinically relevant knee pain affecting activities of daily living. Also, patients indicated for total knee replacement (TKR) who do not yet want a TKR — or TKR is contraindicated.

It is especially important to use an unloading knee brace on patients who meet the above criteria and are receiving an injection– whether it be viscosupplementation or a regenerative medicine injection.

Age and OA stage are not valid parameter to select the right patients for an unloader brace. Patients of many different ages and OA stages have the potential to benefit greatly from this type of brace.

Wearing an unloader brace has also been shown to slow furtherdegeneration in a joint. It is actually considered most ideal(whenever possible) to brace a patient before they reach a severestage of OA, with the goal of preventing the condition fromprogressing to a more severe stage.

To consider an unloader brace medically necessary for a patient, one of the following criteria would need to apply and be documented:

1. Knee Instability, with an objective description of Joint Laxity

2. Osteoarthritis

3. Knee Pain

4. After Knee Surgery

The reason for Medical Necessity should then be justified with at least one of the following, and also documented in the notes:

  • X-Ray Showing Osteoarthritis
  • Ligament Instability as per Exam Findings
  • Positive Knee Compression Test
  • Positive Distraction Test
  • Varus/Valgus Mal-alignment
  • Patellofemoral ROM/+/- Apprehension Test
  • Positive Adduction Varus Stress Test
  • Positive Lachman’s Test
  • Positive McMurray’s Test
  • Positive abduction valgus stress test
  • Laxity/Tissue instability, ant/post drawer


A patient should begin to feel relief within a 48 hour period if the brace has been adjusted and fit correctly.

For assistance with your DME program or to place an order, contact us at Azon Medical.

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