A healthy knee can flex, bend, and straighten easily without pain. However in case of a injured knee, simple functions like walking, running, kicking, and sitting can become challenging. Athletes and sports people are more prone to knee injuries, most of which are likely to cause a disability. People with arthritis often experience more significant pain in the knees than in other joints. Knee related conditions or disorders can have a vast array of severity such as a simple sprain, dislocated joint, and torn tendon, muscle, or nerve.
In such cases, a knee support brace ensures perfect safety and functioning of your knees. Therefore, they not only help alleviate the pain, but also aid in faster recovery from an injury. They also improve the alignment and movement of the knee joint in case of a disability. They are available in various types that are designed specifically for certain kinds of knee problems such as torn ligaments, injured kneecaps, or arthritis pain.
Prophylactic Knee Braces
These braces are generally used to protect knees from injuries while participating in contact sports such as football and lacrosse. They are designed to protect uninjured knees and are not recommended for regular use. These braces are generally inexpensive and readily available almost everywhere. Though they have been proven to help reduce the number of injuries from contact sports each year, none of the studies have been conclusive to support their effectiveness.
Hinged Knee Braces
Generally, these kinds of braces are prescribed by orthopedic surgeons or sports physicians for athletes with ligament damage to increase the stability and protect the ligament after surgery. Unlike the other braces, this is the only type of support that should be worn until advised to be removed either by your surgeon or physiotherapist. These braces are a great choice for running; however, they are not recommended for most other sports due to the metal parts of the support.
Functional Knee Braces
These braces were designed to help those with existing injuries. People with ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), MCL (medial collateral ligament), or PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) damage are recommended to use functional braces. These are lightweight, durable braces which are used to stabilize the knee when rotational, anterior, or posterior forces are used to help in rehabilitation of the injured ligaments.
Arthritic Knee Braces
These braces, also known as unloader braces, were designed specifically for people with arthritis. Their main function is to promote stability and reduce pain. They can minimize the chances of having a surgery. There are soft and rigid versions of this brace available to help provide support and reduce excessive weight or load on a damaged knee joint. The sleeve option in this brace offers warmth to the affected area, thereby reducing the radiating pain, and promoting faster healing and better functioning during everyday life.
A knee support should not be used for prolonged period since this might weaken the muscles, making one dependent on the support. They should be used as a temporary measure to manage the knee discomfort until professional advice is sought. Therefore, you can enjoy the comfort of a good knee brace while playing, walking, running, working, etc., since it protects from injury or relieves pain. However, the best way to manage your knee discomfort is to seek prescribed physical therapy and perform knee exercises.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.