Combining Irving, CA-based VQ OrthoCare’s BioniCare transcutaneous electrical joint stimulator with an unloading knee brace improves OA symptoms significantly more than electrical stimulation alone, according to a multicenter study published in October in The American Journal of Orthopedics.
Practitioners at 16 US clinics randomized patients with knee OA to best medical therapy, including weight loss, knee-strengthening exercises, and analgesics, plus either the BioniCare device alone (n = 289) or the device and an unloading brace (n = 255). (The stimulator fits in a neoprene sleeve worn inside the brace.)
At one-, three-, six-, and 12-month evaluations, patients treated with stimulation plus bracing had significantly greater reductions (at least 20% greater) in pain and related symptoms than those receiving stimulation alone. Study authors suggested the stimulator-brace combination might help patients defer knee replacement surgery.