From everyday activities like walking and climbing stairs to more strenuous exercises like running or playing sports, your knees are under constant stress. For this reason, it’s important to give your knees the support they need with the right type of brace. Whether you are searching for ways to stabilize the knee joint or are looking for ways to prevent injuries, wearing the correct type of knee brace may make a big difference.
When is a Knee Brace Necessary?
To determine when you should use a knee brace, consider your goals. Are you looking to prevent an injury? Are you recovering from an injury and trying to protect your knee joint? Or are you dealing with chronic pain or instability? The purpose of a knee brace is to stabilize the knee joint. This may be helpful in several scenarios:
If you are looking to prevent injuries, a knee brace may be beneficial. Knee braces can help to support the knee joint and reduce stress on the ligaments. For those involved in high-impact activities or sports, wearing a knee brace may help to reduce the risk of injuries.
Recovering From an Injury
If you have already suffered an injury, such as a torn ACL or MCL, wearing a knee brace may stabilize the joint and protect it from further damage. In most cases, knee braces are also used after knee surgery to assist with the recovery process. By keeping the knee joint stable, the brace aims to prevent re-injury and promote faster healing.
Chronic Pain or Instability
Occasionally, chronic pain or instability in the knee joint can be caused by conditions such as arthritis. In these cases, a knee brace may be suggested to help relieve symptoms and improve quality of life. Consistent knee joint instability brings a high risk of further injury. By wearing a knee brace, you may be able to avoid this.
A sports medicine doctor can assess your risk for a knee injury and recommend the type of brace that may be best for you. They may also help you identify when it is appropriate to wear the brace. For example, you may be told to only wear the brace during high-impact activities or when participating in a sport. It is critical to follow your doctor’s instructions when using a knee brace.
Types of Knee Braces
There are many different types of knee braces. Each type of knee brace is designed to provide different levels of support and offers distinct advantages. Therefore, the type of brace you need will largely depend on your individual needs. Common types of knee braces include:
Prophylactic Knee Braces
Prophylactic knee braces are often used to provide compression and support for the knee joint. These braces are usually made from neoprene or other stretchy materials and can be easily slipped on and off. Furthermore, a prophylactic knee brace allows for more mobility than other types of braces and is usually used as a preventative measure rather than after an injury. This type of brace also helps the knee stay warm during activities. Keeping the knee joint warm is essential for maintaining flexibility and preventing injuries.
Functional Knee Braces
Knee pain and instability are often caused by excessive force on the knee joint and overuse. If you suffer from a knee injury, a functional brace may be recommended. This brace is designed to stabilize the knee and aid in recovering from an injury. Functional braces are usually made from metal or plastic and fit snugly around the leg. Typically with functional braces, the front of the knee is exposed, and the hinges on the side of the brace are used to allow for bending. Moreover, a functional knee brace limits lateral movement. This helps prevent further damage to the knee and may accelerate the internal healing process.
Unloading Knee Braces
If you have arthritis, you may be recommended an unloading knee brace. Arthritis is a condition that causes inflammation and pain in the joints. This condition may damage the cartilage that cushions the knee joint, eventually leading to bone-on-bone contact. This brace helps take the weight off the joint and supports the muscles and tendons around the knee. Unloading braces are usually made from lightweight materials and have a hinge on the side to allow for some movement.
Improve Knee Function at the Performance Sports Medicine Institute
Whether you are seeking to prevent a knee injury or recovering from one, visiting a sports medicine doctor can help you choose the right type of knee brace for your needs. The team at Performance Sports Medicine Institute will work with you to maximize your knee function and help you get back to the active lifestyle you are accustomed to. Don’t let a knee injury sideline you. Instead, contact Performance Sports Medicine Institute today to book an appointment.