The Four Types Of Knee Braces
It bends, straightens and rotates slightly. Sometimes it creaks, and when the situation is bad, it gives way. Such are the workings of the knee joint. The knee is formed by the articulation of the femur and tibia and is encased in the joint capsule. It contains an assortment of ligaments and tendons, which provide the structural framework for the joint. Since the knee absorbs 80% of our body weight while standing, it is at a high risk for injury, especially in individuals who participate in sports and other vigorous activities.
There are many causes of knee injuries, including bursitis, tendonitis, ligament tears, worn-out cartilages, arthritis, muscle sprains, muscle strains and a host of other problems. Postural misalignment such as knock-knees or bow-legs may also predispose a person to future knee injuries. Many people, from athletes to people with arthritis and other knee problems, turn to knee braces for support or pain relief.
Knee braces support the knee joints to prevent further injury, while also reducing pain and swelling. Knee supports are great for surgery recovery and rehabilitation of the knee joints as well. Knee braces fall into four general categories, these including Prophylactic, Functional, Rehabilitative, and Unloader/Offloader knee braces. Learn about the difference between each category, and in what circumstances you would need a brace falling under that category.
What Is Your Size
Your size and gender will also determine what type of brace you should purchase. As mentioned earlier, people with thinner legs, thighs, in particular, do not have as much success with knee braces. If you have a more proportionate thigh with something for the brace to hug, then you’ll find more support.
Also, comfort matters. If;the brace causes intense discomfort, you’ll find yourself tossing the brace to the side and trying to go without it more often.
Because their thighs tend to be thicker, women find braces more uncomfortable than men do. You need to find a brace with the most support and least discomfort for your condition. After all, you’re trying to be more comfortable with the brace on.;
Often you can have your knee pre-measured so you have the right size of a knee brace. Pay close attention to the specifications of whatever knee brace you’re considering. Knowing your measurements will help you pick the best type of knee brace for your condition.
When Should You Use A Knee Brace
The rule of thumb is to use knee braces when youre experiencing knee pain or would like to prevent injuries during running.
Knee braces can also be used for rehabilitative goals, for example, following an ACL injury.
When its the case, a brace may limit movement of joint while allowing the patient to slow recovery and regain their range of motion.
Keep in mind: Use a knee brace under the guidance of your doctor or therapist, who can help you pinpoint the exact culprit behind your knee pain.
Dont fall for the hype.
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Hinged Knee Brace Vs Compression Sleeve
A hinged knee brace can support and stabilize an injured knee, limiting movement while your knee heals. Hinges on each side of the knee help prevent hyperextension of the knee and offers protection of ligament injuries. It may also reduce pain and pressure if you have arthritis in your knee. Hinged knee braces are best for knees that need extra support.
Hinged knee braces come in two forms: rigid hinged and soft hinged. A soft hinged knee brace provides mild to moderate support whereas a rigid hinged knee braces provide moderate to maximum support and offer better protection and stability for contact-sports.
For General Knee Pain
The type of brace will depend on the cause of knee pain. But, we usually recommend wearing sleeves for pain relief.
They wrap around your knee, providing support and compression.
Most people that wear a knee brace for pain relief tend to feel less knee pain. Yet, this depends entirely on the cause of the symptoms.
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Best Knee Brace For Meniscus Injury
- Pro: An unloader brace may prevent an injury from worsening.
- Con: Restricted movement could lead to stiffness.
Consider this an alternative to an unloader brace. An unloader brace from a reputable company can run $350 or more, and can sometimes restrict movement beyond whats comfortable, so it might be best to try a slightly less technical brace first.
A typical hinged brace, like this one from Pro-Tec, provides dual-axis hinges for enhanced stability while still allowing for full range of motion.
It comes in two sizes, medium and large. Customers on Amazon report less pain and ease of use. Some customers felt it was too heavy duty and resulted in an uncomfortable wear.
Knee Support For Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome
Especially common in athletes, patellofemoral pain syndrome occurs when the cartilage under the kneecap is damaged as a result of injury or overuse.
Generally, this issue does not require a rigid or overly supportive brace, Minnis says. An open patellar brace, a wraparound brace, or a knee sleeve may help a person with this issue.
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What Kinds Of Knee Braces Are There What Do They Do
There are four main kinds of knee braces:
Prophylactic braces. These are designed to protect knees from injuries during contact sports like football.
Functional braces. These give support to knees that have already been injured.
Rehabilitative braces. These limit harmful knee movement while a knee is healing after an injury or surgery.
Patellofemoral braces. These help the kneecap move smoothly over the knee joint.
Should I Buy In A Pharmacy Or A Specialised Store
Pharmacies are limited when it comes to brand options but their products are reliable. On the other hand, specialised stores offer more options, have more sizes available and often a larger range of advanced products. Its up to you to pick the most suitable product for your needs, so make sure you focus on that.
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Know That Braces Are Made For Specific Conditions
Generally, there are four main types of knee braces: prophylactic, functional braces, rehabilitative and patellofemoral braces. Propylactic braces are made to protect knees from injuries during intensive activities such as football while functional braces are use to support already injured knees.
Rehabilitative braces are designed to limit the knees from harmful movements after injury or surgery. Patellofemoral brace are use for patellofemoral pain syndrome to help the kneecap move with better flexibility over the joints.
What Is A Knee Brace
A knee brace is a catch-all term for a variety of specific devices designed to provide extra support to the knee joint and relieve pain and/or speed up recovery post-injury.
Knee braces are usually made from a mix of foam, metal, plastic, or elastic straps and materials and come in many colors, designs, and sizes.
There are various types of knee braces, such as knee sleeves, motion control brace, and several more , which offer a range of knee joint support levels.
So do knee braces work?
The best answer I can come up with is a definite maybe.
Companies that make these devices claimand often overexaggeratethe many benefits of their products.
Its marketing, after all. Who could blame them?
But scientific research is still in the woods.
Heres my best advice.
If youre thinking about using a knee brace either because of knee pain from running or have a history of a knee injury, consult your doctor about your options.
Dont let the marketing lure you in.
Only and your doctor can decide if and when you should use a knee brace for knee pain while runningand the decision should be made based on the condition of your knee.
Now that we got the medical warning out of the way, lets get more into the specifics.
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What Type Of Knee Brace Is Right For Me
Does your knee bother you when youre working outside in the yard, taking a walk or playing tennis? Knee pain can affect your daily activities, especially if youre an active person or on your feet a lot. If you suffer from knee pain, youre probably looking for something to help ease your discomfort and answer the question- what type of knee brace is right for me?
Common causes of knee pain include arthritis, runners knees, ligament or cartilage injuries, tendinitis and other knee instability conditions. The purpose of any knee brace should be to work together with the structures of your knee to reduce pain and promote stability without loss of normal knee function. Knee braces can help ease your pain, while providing the support that is needed.
With so many different types of braces and supports available online, at your local drugstore and many sporting goods stores, choosing the right brace can be a daunting task. The type of knee brace that is right for you depends on your knee condition and the severity of your pain. Your health care provider can recommend the right brace for your knee condition or injury.
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Before purchasing a knee brace, talk to your doctor for suggestions on which brace is recommended for your type of pain and condition. Purchasing the wrong type of brace can delay your recovery and cause you to have more pain, rather than less.
Designed For Athletes Suffering From Knee Pain
Designed by orthopedic surgeons for athletes. The DonJoy Reaction WEB knee brace is one of our best solutions to help with knee pain. It allows active individuals to stay moving despite having knee pain and can be worn for everyday activities, contact sports, or water sports.
This knee brace features an innovative webbing design much different than average sleeve-like braces. Its elastic webbed design paired together with flexible hinges work to provide stability for the knee by absorbing shock and off-loading weight away from the painful area so you can continue the activities you love. Best of all, its breathable and comfortable.
The Reaction WEB helps stabilize the knee and patella for walking, running, golf, hiking, tennis, soccer, volleyball and more. The Reaction WEB is even worn by professional snowboarders, volleyball, football players, and the US Ski Team.
*Limited Edition US Ski Team version features the US Ski Team logo and a red and white undersleeve
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Identify What You Are Trying To Achieve
Why are you getting a knee pain brace in the first place? Is it for protection against injury or as a part of your pain management or rehabilitation process? ;If it is post-surgery pain, you will are likely to get recommendation from your doctor to go to a physical therapist for diagnosis and evaluation about the right knee brace for your condition.
Are Knee Straps Right For Me
People with pain at the front of the knee may feel relief wearing a patella band. The most common causes of this type of pain include:
- Patellar tendonitis.
- Jumpers knee.
- Osgood-Schlatter disease.
A strap may not be enough if you have some instability, pain, and/or swelling. In these cases, wearing a sleeve will be a better option.
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Knee Braces: Choosing The Best Knee Brace For You
Knee injuries can be some of the most debilitating injuries one can deal with. Whether you have a recent injury or if youve been having persistent knee pain, you know exactly how tough it can be to get from one place to another with this type of injury. Although knee injuries come in many forms, there are some key things that you can do to help recover and get back on your feet. Physiotherapy and rehabilitation are definitely recommended, however, if your pain is too intense it may limit what exercises and protocols you are able to follow. This is why many rehabilitation centers recommend knee braces for their patients. Whether you have a serious injury such as an ACL tear or a less severe injury such as a knee sprain a brace can help get you on the road to recovery. Below we will explore the many aspects to take into account when finding the perfect knee brace for you.
How Do I Choose A Knee Brace
The best way to choose a knee brace is to consult a healthcare professional and have them advise you on what would work best for you. As a general rule of thumb hinged braces are for more severe injuries such as meniscal tears and ligamentous injuries, whereas slip-on knee braces are better for chronic pain and mild-moderate injuries. Custom knee braces are your best option for serious injuries as they are designed specifically for you. Open Patella braces and wrap around braces are best used to service patellar injuries. Now that you have a better understanding of what knee brace may be for you, make sure to discuss it with your doctor and/or therapist to ensure best results.
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Donjoy Reaction Web Instructions
The brace should be snug and comfortable. Do not over tighten.
- Pull on sleeve until patella is centered in the hour glass shaped opening
- Lay web over top of knee joint and center by aligning opening with patella
- Thread tabs on one side of back pad through inside openings on web and loop tabs to back pad and attach with velcro.
- Complete for all tabs
- Once all tabs are affixed to assure proper tightness, lift and pull both lower tags until snug
- Repeat for top tabs
- The entire brace can be hand washed with mild soap in lukewarm water
- Rinse thoroughly
Take the measurement of your thigh 6″ above your kneecap using a flexible type tape measure. Use the circumference to choose your size.
Note: This product runs small. If you measure between sizes we recommend going up one size for optimum comfort and fit
Theres A Lot To Consider When Deciding Whether To Use A Brace For Extra Support In Knee Arthritis
It seems like a simple solution: a brace that will offload pressure from your knee and make it easier to move around. Although knee braces are most often medically indicated for rehabilitation after injury, many arthritis patients with both osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis also attested to their usefulness. I find it does help gives a bit of support and warmth, Stephen B. told us on Facebook. I mostly put it on when I start to feel a continuous strain or pain in my knees.
Unfortunately, the science backing up knee braces effectiveness for arthritis patients has been mixed, with no clear indication that they will work for everyone. Still, using a knee brace might be worth trying, but only in conjunction with physical therapy and a regular exercise plan, and only under your doctors and physical therapists supervision.
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Signs You Could Benefit From A Knee Brace
If you often feel like your knee if about to buckle or give way, you might benefit from a knee brace, as this is a sign of instability, says Gillanders. Another indication is if you have frequent pain or swelling in the knee. In these cases, you could test drive a brace to see if it helps.
I encourage patients to register how frequently thats happening and then we have an easy benchmark to say, for example, it was happening five times a day and now its happening once, so were seeing the influence of exercise and the knee bracing, he says.
Your chances of benefitting from a knee brace may depend on your specific case. Braces seem to work best in people with milder arthritis or arthritis only in one part of the knee, Dr. Hogan says.
They work particularly well when the knee is no longer straight, either varus or valgus in orientation. Your success may also be affected by your build, as she says people with heavier legs tend to have less relief from wearing a knee brace.
Choosing The Right Brace
If you are feeling a bit lost, start by thinking about what level of support you are looking for from a knee brace. If you aren’t sure, have a look at the basic braces and see if they sound about right. If not, move onto the advanced and then the elite level braces. That way you are sure to come across a brace that is right for you.
Where knee braces come in more than one size, it is important to get the right one otherwise they wont work effectively and may be very uncomfortable. If your knee size falls between two sizes, it is usually best to go for the larger size for a better fit. You can find size guides for all the braces we review at the bottom of each page.
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For Acl Tear Or Ligament Sprain
The ACL is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee. The injury usually happens during activities or sports with sudden changes in direction, like football or soccer.
Depending on the severity of the injury, we might recommend:
- A hinged sleeve for mild tears on the knee, to prevent worsening them.
- A hinged brace, if the tear is moderate or severe.
- A brace that restricts the range of motion, if you had ligament surgery.