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What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace?
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I’m 59 and have articular cartilage damage in one of my knees. I am a life-long runner and completed an Ironman in each of the last 11 years. I have not been able to run for four months and I’m desperate. I got an Ossur unloaded brace today and am wondering what to expect.


Last edited by: imsparticus: Jan 10, 19 4:35
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [imsparticus] [ In reply to ]
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no experience of the brace, but please keep us updated ;-)
I've been looking at the unloaders speculatively.

same same, cartilage damage in L knee, off running for a couple of months now and climbing the walls..
40min of PT exercises every day instead, really isn't a replacement for running.

PT and my reading suggest at least 6 months 'at our age' to recover. If lucky.
'recover' here means the injury scars over so you can't feel it much. Cartilage doesn't heal so there isn't a true recovery, just a temporary stay of execution.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/...eatment/drc-20354823
"Many other tears that aren't associated with locking or a block to knee motion will become less painful over time, so they also don't require surgery."
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [imsparticus] [ In reply to ]
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Did a doctor prescribe the unloader brace? Did you ask the doctor?

Unloaders push your knee inward or outward, making you slightly more knock-kneed or bow-legged, to "unload" one side of your knee by putting more weight on the other side. They don't work for everyone, and aren't very comfortable even when they do. I can't imagine running with an unloader, but I've never tried.

For $10 I'd sooner try a heel wedge in my shoe. (Not that they usually work either, but they're $10.)
Last edited by: jstonebarger: Jan 9, 19 14:06
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [jstonebarger] [ In reply to ]
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A doctor prescribed it, after I asked him to prescribe it. I realize the brace will push my knee inward, thereby hopefully reducing the pressure on the inside of the knee (where the cartilage is damaged).

I tried Cortizone shots, they did nothing.

I had three euflexxa shots, they did nothing.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. I’ll try anything.
Last edited by: imsparticus: Jan 9, 19 15:39
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [imsparticus] [ In reply to ]
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Have you tried hyaluronic acid injections? They worked for me for about 4 years.

About a year ago I had stem cell treatment and it's really helped with my arthritis/lack of cartilage. I still get the hyaluronic acid injections twice a year, but I don't think I'll need them when I'm due next.
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [GhiaGirl] [ In reply to ]
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 I had one series of three euflexxa shots. Did nothing.
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [imsparticus] [ In reply to ]
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I would not recommend wearing an unloader brace based on what happened to me, here is a very brief overview, back in 2008 I had micro fracture surgery on my left knee at Kerlan and Jobe in LA, I was given an unloader brace to help it was custom made for my leg. I tried it but it was just too uncomfortable, so I didn't wear it very much although I did try for a few weeks. I used to go down to the see the surgeon every so often for Synvisc shots in my knee, in 2011 I was there and they told me they had some new straps being retrofitted for the unloader brace so I took it down had the new straps fitted and tried it for a few times walking and running but it really didn't help and it was so tight at the back of my knee to keep it up but this time foolishly I did try it for a couple of months at least.

In early February 2012 after lots of tests I was diagnosed with a very bad case of pulmonary embolism in both lungs had I not been so fit I would have died according to the doctors. I also had a blood clot in my left leg from the groin to the foot which I had surgically removed, it was then discovered the vein at the back of the left knee was damaged, right where the unloader brace straps went across the back of the knee and as you know if you have one of these braces when you flex your leg out it pushed very hard on the strap at the back of the knee, so it was 99% probably that the unloader brace caused the initial blood clot which has lead me down to hundreds to doctors appointments since then as the hospital at the time also installed an IVC filter which ruptured in the vena cava and caused me horrendous issues these past 6 years.

So to answer your question, I wouldn't go near one of those braces even if I had to limp around and believe me I have filled up 20 pages of a journey with the history I have had to go through since that time. Hope this helps. Cheers LA Rob
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [GhiaGirl] [ In reply to ]
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What is the cost on stem cell treatment. Told insurance will not cover
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [Kenney] [ In reply to ]
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I had both knees done for $6500 for amniotic stem cells. I did a lot of research and found no reason to go to the big name clinics (the guys that all claim they were the original docs using stem cells). Now, I wouldn't go cheap, but what matters most is that it's a reputable place and the type of stem cells they use. It's very common now that it's hardly leading edge medicine so I didn't buy into the hype of the big clinics.

Yes, it's pricey. No it's not covered by insurance, but I'm in my 40s and was looking at 2 knee replacement surgeries in the next 5 years, The price tag was very worth it for me.
Last edited by: GhiaGirl: Jan 9, 19 16:35
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [GhiaGirl] [ In reply to ]
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Thank You...…...have been managing the pain for a couple years. Timing of shots ect. Told I could only get those fluid shots once a year. On those how long for till the take effect and how long they last?
The first couple cortisone lasted for 3 months with the fourth month the pain getting more pronounced. Had my third shot a couple months ago and it just did not do as much. I am attempting the Telluride Mountain 38 miler in August and 3 weeks later Run Rabbit Run 100. So I am trying to determine when to get the fluid shots. They said I can get in combination of cortisone. They asked about knee replacements but I am going to hold off as long as possible. Thnk You
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [Kenney] [ In reply to ]
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The hyaluronic acid shots take about 4-6 weeks to fully feel the effects. Mine lasted 5 ish months
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [GhiaGirl] [ In reply to ]
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Race end Aug and Sept 14.
Recommend starting the shots in May? For you, still good for Sept.?

Really appreciate your time
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [Kenney] [ In reply to ]
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I was. FWIW, I also changed to Hoka's and my first long run in them I was so happy because there was no knee pain during the run or the next few days.
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [GhiaGirl] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks......if running on the road I might try them. On trail, the felt weird, unstable, I know a lot of people said the were not. Maybe I will revisit it
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [hercules] [ In reply to ]
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Very sorry to hear about your terrible experience. That’s scary.
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [imsparticus] [ In reply to ]
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imsparticus wrote:
I’m 59 and have articular cartilage damage in one of my knees. I am a life-long runner and completed an Ironman in each of the last 11 years. I have not been able to run for four months and I’m desperate. I got an Ossur unloaded brace today and am wondering what to expect.

I have an ossur , but I dont run long with it however.. 10k max. Yeah it's not super comfy and kinda warm after awhile. I use the medial left version.
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [imsparticus] [ In reply to ]
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sorry but my experience wont be encouraging...


I had surgery for my meniscus tears in my left knee....

I had also had the surgery for my right knee a couple years before...

my right knee recovered, my left never did...I had arthritis and close to bone on bone on the inside of my left knee....I tried to grit my teeth and run anyway...just couldn't get it done....

got an uploader brace to try and open up the gap on the inside of my knee and allow me to run....

....tried and failed....

I ran a 4 mile run race with my brace running gritting out a pace 2 minutes a mile slower than I did just 1.5 years earlier (I am guessing the changes in my gait due to my knee problems was very inefficient)....I knew then I was done....33 years of triathlon came to an end.....

I got a left knee replacement on Halloween 2018 when it was obvious I was not ever going to be able to run again...I am still on the mend 10 weeks later.....once I am healed I might try very limited running (2-3 miles twice a week on grass)....or not.....not sure now.

About to start a thread "Running with a knee replacement"......but I have resigned myself (and ok with) Biking (Mt biking, road), swimming, xc skiing, hiking, etc....I am ok with that outcome.
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [Steve-oH!] [ In reply to ]
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Father Time is undefeated. All we can do is go down swinging - which it sounds like you’re doing. Good luck and thanks for sharing.
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [imsparticus] [ In reply to ]
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I had an unloader brace following a knee surgery 2 years ago (meniscus tear and plateau fracture). Was not comfortable to walk in, couldn't imagine running in it. Now I have early onset arthritis in the facet joints in my back that can get quite painful. Only 51 (it's all relative), so likely brought on by a cycling accident several years back where I broke several bones in my back, though not the spine. You're absolutely right, no one is getting out of here alive:) Good luck.


I wanna go fast!
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [GhiaGirl] [ In reply to ]
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$ to six weeks from first shot or third (last)? You get one a week for three weeks correct?

My two main races, (events, I aint good enough to race) 38 miler, Aug 24, 100, Sept 13. ..Want as much training benefit but want to still be in good shape for those dates......any advice appreciated
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [Kenney] [ In reply to ]
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No. The shots I get are one shot. It’s called Synvase One. But there is a type where you get 3 shots series.

I don’t know the cost because I get mine at the VA
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [GhiaGirl] [ In reply to ]
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I am not service connected injury so I doubt they will do for me.
Anyhow, thank you for your service.
Think last shot About mid May? Still should be fine mid Sept?
I know everyone different....but is that the timing that would of worked for you?
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [Kenney] [ In reply to ]
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that’s about the time frame for me.
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [GhiaGirl] [ In reply to ]
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Thank you
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Re: What can you tell me about running in an unloader brace? [imsparticus] [ In reply to ]
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I’m bone on bone in my right knee from couple of meniscus tears and running a lot for 10+ years. As my knee pain and swelling was getting worse, I used an Ossur Unloader to get me thru the run of IMAZ in 2015 (I was 40yo at the time). I wore a Lycra sleeve underneath it, sprayed my leg with anti-perspirant, kept it very tight, and still had to stop every 8mi or so to re-tighten and adjust.

I saw the benefit as I don’t believe there was any way I could have ran a marathon without it. Definitely not the most comfortable thing to wear, but it was worth it.

That said, I’ve pretty much stopped running the past 3yrs as I just don’t want to do further damage to my knee as it’s more important that I can play with my kids than run at this point in my life.

Best of luck to you.
Last edited by: sailnfast: Feb 17, 19 22:00
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