Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is a serious health issue that reduces physical activity and quality of life for patients around the world. OA involves degeneration of the knee joint and is considered part of the aging process. OA can also develop earlier in life due to injuries or surgeries.
While many patients eventually have total knee replacement surgery, knee bracing is a conservative treatment option, prior to surgery, to reduce inflammation and pain. OA braces enable patients to continue their routine physical activities. This type of corrective brace can also improve overall health by reducing the risk of weight gain, loss of muscle strength, and/or the development of other medical conditions. Despite these numerous benefits, only a fraction of patients who have moderate to severe knee OA are prescribed a brace.
Townsend has been a leading manufacturer and advocate for OA bracing since 1995. The company has developed a diverse range of corrective braces that improve leg alignment and shift loading forces away from the damaged side of the knee. In recent years, Townsend has increased its focus on patient compliance by developing comfortable, conformable, less structurally-significant OA braces, as physicians sometimes question whether their patients will routinely use the braces they prescribe. Townsend encourages medical professionals to carefully consider the patient’s clinical needs, mobility goals, age, weight and lifestyle when choosing which brace to order.
Townsend is also working with the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association to fund clinical studies that prove the efficacy of OA braces, and to advocate on behalf of patients who have mobility challenges. These efforts help to ensure patients have access to qualified providers and advanced technology that is reimbursed by the government and private insurers.
In a recent interview with SmartBrief, Rick Riley, CEO of Townsend Design, provides his perspectives on the evolution of bracing technology over the past 20 years. He also shares information about reimbursement policies that influence the prescribing and dispensing of OA braces.
Click here to read the full interview.