New research has confirmed that applying elastic bandages firmly around arthritic knees can help relieve joint pain and improve stability. This is according to a study published in the current issue of the Annals of Rheumatic Disease (2002; 61: 24-28).
Researchers from the University of Nottingham, performed a cross over, within-subject study examining whether a standard sized elastic bandage or S-bandage, secured around the knee of an osteoarthritis patient would promote short term pain relief, improve knee joint proprioception, and decrease postural sway in comparison with a typically looser L-bandage.
The trial enrolled 68 participants, 49 women and 19 men with an average age of 67 years, and symptomatic and radiographic knee osteoarthritis. Patients were randomly assigned either the S-bandage or the L-bandage for two weeks. At the end of that period, patients were assessed for pain relief, knee proprioception, and postural sway. Assessments were performed at baseline, again after wearing the bandage for 20 minutes, and once more immediately after bandage removal. The patients were then switched over to the opposite bandage, and were assessed once more after a 2 week period.
The results showed that the S-bandage did not have any significant effect on reducing knee pain, proprioception, or improving postural sway. However the L-bandage showed much more promise.
“The L bandage reduced knee pain significantly, improved static postural sway, but had no significant influence on knee proprioception,” the reseachers said.
The scientists did note however, that the effectiveness of the bandage to relieve knee pain and improve stability depended upon the size of the bandage applied.