Doctors in the US alone encounters 20 million cases of knee related problems and injuries each year. All these injuries which are documented and reported lead to the increased need of people for knee support in order to protect themselves from possible knee injuries. The process of choosing which one suit you best can be very difficult as the increased demand for such items in turn lead to the increase in numbers of knee support products in the market.
Knee brace is another common term used to refer to knee supports. These items are used not only to protect the knees form possible injuries but are also widely used as part of knee treatments in the medical field. People who actively participate in sports are usually seen donning these supports as they are needed to provide knee stability to players who are subject to various motion ranges and are at high risk of knee injuries. Medical therapies also used these braces as part of their therapy as supports provide great stability to weakened joints and help knee injuries heal faster.
There are five types of knee supports, namely, prophylactic braces, functional braces, rehabilitative braces, unloader braces and knee sleeves. The first type is the prophylactic brace made from bars, hinges and adhesive straps which is used in contact sports such as football and basketball as to protect the knees from damage. On the other hand, we have the functional braces which are used to treat knee related injuries and are mostly prescribed by doctors as part of the knee rehabilitation program of the patient. This type is further divided into various forms to match a specific knee condition.
Rehabilitative brace is the third kind of knee support and works the same way as functional braces. What differentiated this from the second type is that this can limit the person’s movements in order to avoid making further damages. It also has foam liners that surround the calf, thigh, and knee, along with full-length rigid bars on both sides with hinges at the knee that are adjustable which are useful in treating the knee problem faster. For people with osteoarthritis, the common type of knee support used is the unloader brace which helps bend the knee away from the most painful part. Finally we have the knee sleeve which is the usual type worn by runners. This is also the cheapest among the group.
Choosing the right type of knee support can be very difficult given the variety of models in the market. One of the things to consider when choosing a knee brace is the level of instability of the knees. Instability can be measured by the level of pain one encounters. Superior knee supports are recommended to sever knee injuries such as ACL or MCL. For mild pains, elastic knee braces made of neoprene or drytex will do. Also, do not forget to check the different features of the braces such as the adjustable straps, stretch nylon, and trimmed, smooth edges to ensure a comfortable fit, prevent chafing and easy wear and removal. In case you are still unsure of the state of your knees and the type of knee support to choose, consulting you physician is the way to go as a medical diagnosis will help you determine it.
Keeping our knees healthy and injury free is a must and thus the use of the ever reliable knee support is also a must.
Christian Cavallari is a runner who suffered a knee injury in 2010. Despite not being able to run as frequent as before, Christian manages to participate in running activities through the help of a knee support (Gelenk-Kniestuetze).