Effect of Germanium-Embedded Knee Sleeve on Osteoarthritis of the Knee.

Author(s) Marino, K.; Lee, R.; Lee, P.
Journal Orthop J Sports Med
Date Published 2019 Oct

Background: Knee osteoarthritis (OA) affects an estimated 1 in 5 individuals older than 45 years of age in the United Kingdom. Previous studies have suggested that germanium-infused garments may provide improved clinical outcomes in OA. Germanium-embedded (GE) knee sleeves embrace this fabric technology.

Purpose: To assess the outcomes of GE knee sleeves for patients with knee OA.

Study Design: Cohort study; Level of evidence, 2.

Methods: This study was undertaken at a hospital in the United Kingdom. Patients who had radiographic features of OA, experienced knee pain for at least 6 months, and opted for nonsurgical intervention were included. Patients were recruited over 3 months. The University of California, Los Angeles activity score, Lysholm score, visual analog scale (VAS) score, and Oxford Knee Score (OKS) were collected at monthly intervals for 6 months. Patients were followed to determine their compliance with wearing the knee sleeves at all times, as advised, and whether any adverse effects had occurred.

Results: A total of 50 participants were recruited for the study; 4 participants were excluded due to pain and were converted to surgical management. Therefore, 46 patients were analyzed and placed into 2 groups according to severity of OA, as classified by the Kellgren-Lawrence system: group A had grade 1 or 2 OA, and group B had grade 3 or 4 OA. There were 25 patients in group A and 21 in group B. Improvements were seen in OKS, VAS, and Lysholm scores in both groups. Clinically significant improvements were seen in group A only for OKS (mean increase, 14), VAS (mean decrease, 4.1), and Lysholm (mean increase, 17.2) scores. These results were also statistically significant (OKS, = 5.8 × 10; VAS, = 7.7 × 10; Lysholm, = 4.2 × 10). The data from this study demonstrated that GE knee sleeves gave better outcomes for patients with grades 1 and 2 OA compared with patients with more advanced disease, which is consistent with previous studies. A total of 3 patients reported skin irritation, which resolved with simple skin ointment application. No patients reported infection, deep vein thrombosis, or circulation problems.

Conclusion: GE knee sleeves could play an important role in optimizing nonsurgical management of patients with knee OA, especially patients with grades 1 and 2 OA, as demonstrated by the clinically significant improvements.

DOI 10.1177/2325967119879124
ISSN 2325-9671
Citation Marino K, Lee R, Lee P. Effect of Germanium-Embedded Knee Sleeve on Osteoarthritis of the Knee. Orthop J Sports Med. 2019;7(10):2325967119879124.