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KO (Knee Orthosis)

A Knee Orthosis is a device that extends from approximately mid calf to mid thigh level. There are different types of KOs, metal designs, as well as plastic and metal designs. The metal design consists of a metal structure shaped to the limb and upholstered with leather at the points where the device makes contact with the person’s body. The plastic and metal design is more frequently used, and is usually a plastic device, custom molded to the body, using metal components in key structural areas only. The reason for the increased use of the plastic and metal design is that it is lighter in weight, and is considered to be more cosmetic.


Since there are many different reasons to use a KO, there are many different designs. Each design has special features and its own specific way to be worn properly. The orthotist providing the device will instruct the patient on the proper way to wear the KO, making best use of the design features of the device. It is also important to refer to the instruction pamphlet that is supplied with the device.

Care and Maintenance

Spraying the inside with rubbing alcohol, and wiping it dry in order to remove body oils and residue can clean the brace. Wiping it out with a damp towel and anti-bacterial soap, or anti-bacterial moist towelettes may also clean it. Be sure to remove any excess soap, as this can cause irritation to the skin.

Many KO’s are designed for use in or out of water. Check with the manufacturer’s instructions to see if water is harmful to the device. Keep the KO away from excessive heat to prevent damage to the plastic.

Tips and Problem Solving

KO’s can be worn directly against the skin for better suspension, or over a cotton or neoprene sleeve for greater comfort.
Usually, the back straps just below the knee provide the most suspension on the calf. Be sure these straps are kept tight. If there are any problems, questions, or concerns, contact the orthotist.

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