Second biomechanical study of a tri-compartment offloader

Research Summary

Second biomechanical study of a tri-compartment offloader

Biomechanical study of a tricompartmental offloader brace for patellofemoral or multicompartment knee osteoarthritis

McGibbon, C.A., Brandon, S., Bishop, E.L., Cowper-Smith, C.D., and Biden, E. (2020). Frontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology. doi:10.3389/fbioe.2020.604860

Key Findings

Multiple Forces Reduced

Each TCO brace model significantly reduced PF, TF, PC ligament, PT and QT forces during a deep knee bend test.

Reduced Joint Load

Each TCO brace model significantly reduced knee joint loads by at least 32% when compared to the non-braced condition.

Replicates & Extends Previous Research

Results corroborate the knee joint offloading capabilities of a TCO, as demonstrated in a previous study (Budarick et al. 2020).

This study replicates and extends the findings of Budarick et al. 1– Budarick, A.R. et al. 2020. J. Biomech. Eng. 142., which demonstrated that a Spring Loaded knee brace can reduce knee joint loads to a level that would be achieved by losing 45 lb of bodyweight. In the present work, the authors used a validated biomechanical model to demonstrate that a tri-compartment offloader brace (TCO) can significantly reduce patellofemoral (PF) and tibiofemoral (TF) joint contact forces, as well as patellar tendon (PT), quadriceps tendon (QT), and posterior cruciate (PC) ligament forces during a deep knee bend from 30 to 100 degrees of joint flexion. To determine the potential of a TCO such as a Spring Loaded knee brace to offload knee joint forces, the offloading effects of three simulated TCO models (a squat, plateau, and general model) were compared to a non-braced condition. For all TCO models, knee joint loads were reduced by between 30-50% (Figure 1).

Figure 1

Reduction of tibiofemoral, patellofemoral and quadriceps tendon forces during a deep knee bend test. The blue line represents joint forces observed without a brace, while the green line represents joint forces observed with the TCO squat model. The shaded regions are areas of statistical uncertainty.


Dr. Chris A. McGibbon

University of New Brunswick

Dr. McGibbon is a professor and senior researcher whose expertise covers the broad spectrum of human movement sciences, primarily focused on mobility and balance disorders in seniors and people with neurological and orthopedic disorders.

Dr. Scott Brandon

University of Guelph

Although not affiliated with Spring Loaded, Dr. Brandon provided modeling expertise to this study. His research areas include braces, exoskeletons, knee biomechanics, and simulation of cartilage, muscle, and ligament loading during dynamic movement.

Dr. Emily L. Bishop

University of Calgary

Dr. Bishop is a postdoctoral fellow and clinical research associate for Spring Loaded. Based out of the McCaig Institute of Joint and Bone Health, she works closely with patients and conducts both clinical and biomechanical research on the Levitation knee brace.

Partner Institutions

University of New Brunswick

We worked with researchers at the University of New Brunswick to evaluate the design of Levitation, and continue to collaborate on projects to measure and quantify the capability of our tri-compartment offloader knee brace to offload all three knee compartments.

University of Guelph

Researchers at the University of Guelph are evaluating the potential of our tri-compartment offloader knee brace, Levitation, to offload the patellofemoral and tibiofemoral knee compartments. The insights gained from this research are helping us to validate the quality and efficacy of our product.


The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada funds visionaries, explorers and innovators who are searching for the scientific and technical breakthroughs that will benefit our country. They are Canada’s largest supporter of discovery and innovation.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

As the Government of Canada's health research investment agency, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) supports excellence across all four pillars of health research: biomedical; clinical; health systems services; and population health.