The knees are the part of our body that are critical for mobility and are extremely sensitive to pain. Today we have a tool known as a knee brace to ease the process of healing and avoid hurting the knee. After all, knees are essential too.
What are Knee Braces?
Knee braces are tools that help manage the pain and discomfort arising in the knee. The knee braces help cover the knee and restrict its movement in the area it could cause pain. Not only this, sometimes knee support braces are used to slip heat into the knee. Knee braces are a support and therapeutic tool that you can use with or without the recommendation of a doctor.
How Does a Knee Brace Work?
A knee brace shifts the weight of the most damaged part of your knee. Sometimes it also depends on the type of the brace to know how they might work. Depending on the type of brace, it allows compression to reach the knee. The ligaments and muscles in the knee are supported by this compression. When a person places weight on their knees while utilising their legs, the knee muscles are stretched. While this isn't a concern for people who have healthy knees, it can be dangerous for persons who have wounded knees. Knee braces are used to fill the gap between complete immobility and excessive strain. They allow a person to move around without having to bare their entire weight on their knee.
When weight is put on the knee, the brace is stiff enough to restrict its range of motion, preventing further damage.
Difference Between Knee Brace and Knee Sleeves
Knee sleeves provide strain or compression by slipping right over your knee, covering it entirely. It helps in reducing the pain and minimizing the swelling. The advantage of knee sleeves is that they are discreet and can be easily worn under your clothing providing light support to the knee. While it provides proper mobility, you cannot use knee sleeves in case of severe injury.
Knee support braces are used to protect the knee from getting hurt further and curtail previous damage. Knee braces restrict the motion in certain ways and put a lot of pressure on the knee. It provides limited mobility while allowing it to heal gradually.
Different Uses of Knee Braces
- Knee braces are used to better heal and support osteoarthritis knee. Osteoarthritis is the wearing down of protective cartilage at the end of the bones. A variety of knee support braces are used depending on the level of osteoarthritis.
- Knee support braces are used for patellofemoral pain syndrome. PFPS is caused by vigorous physical activities that cause repeated strain on the knee.
- Knee support braces are used for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) sprain. The ACL joins your femur to your tibia and aids in knee joint stability. ACL injuries are common in sports like football, cricket, and tennis.
Patella Tendonitis happens when the tissue connecting the kneecap to the shinbone gets strained. It often happens with athletes who run and jump so much. A strap-style brace helps minimize the pain and damage caused.
- Torn Meniscus often happens when the knee is twisted bearing weight. Knee braces help in restricting the movement of the knee and making it stable to heal better.
Types of Knee Braces
Knee sleeves: Knee sleeves are not technically braces but yet come in their ambit. These are, as the name suggests, in form of a sleeve; covering the knee and providing mild support.
Prophylactic knee braces: These braces are made up of hinges, bars, and straps. These are designed to not severely restrict the motion and yet provide stiff support. Used on injured knees.
Functional knee braces: Functional knee braces are used as protection to not damage the knee further. They are often used in the healing of injured ACL.
Postoperative braces: These braces are used in case of severe injury, restricting the mobility of the knee, while it is being healed.
Unloader braces: These braces put pressure on the femur to take out the stress from the affected knee joint. It is often used in healing osteoarthritis.
Choosing the Correct Knee Brace
The first and foremost thing to look at while choosing a knee support brace is the restriction of movement it comes with it. A knee support brace should never cause you way beyond discomfort. It should provide proper support without being too heavy. You have to remember that every knee injury does not require knee support braces, some can also heal with time just by avoiding heavy workouts. Different types of knee braces are designed to suit a wide range of needs. You won’t wear a wraparound brace in case of heavy injury. Look for what suits your needs at that time. Also, consult a doctor in case of severe long-term injuries.
Nowadays, more and more individuals enjoy sports such as running, jogging, trekking, football, baseball, etc resulting in an increase in knee injuries. The knee is the body's largest functioning joint, making it subject to damage during athletic and sporting activity. Knee braces are a significant boon to several people. While some scientists and doctors may not agree with its benefits but people have experienced its usefulness and often gave testimonies as to how beneficial knee braces were to them.