What are knee braces?
The purpose of a knee brace is to protect your knee from being injured when you are playing sports and doing other types of physical activity such as working around the house, walking the dog, etc. They can also offer protection if you have already injured your knee or have gone through some type of knee surgery.
What are the types of knee braces available?
There are several types of knee braces that you can purchase depending on your injury or other support goals:
- Knee bands – If you have pain just below the kneecap (in the patellar tendon), you might be able to relieve most of the pain with a simple knee band (also known as patellar stabilizing brace). The purpose of the band is to relieve the stress on the tendon, which should reduce some of the pain. These bands have been known to relieve pain from Osgood Schlatter’s disease, Runner’s Knee and tendinitis as well.
- Knee sleeves – Technically this one is not a brace; however it is often referred as one. They are normally made of flexible material such as neoprene and are mainly used to support your knees during general daily activities and also to prevent previous minor injuries from re-occurring.
- Hinged– These typically consist of hinges, bars and straps and are generally used to protect the knee from injury during contact sports (e.g.: football, basketball, etc.), while still providing mobility. Also known as prophylactic knee braces.
- Functional – The purpose of this type of brace is to reduce knee instability after an injury to a ligament. They can also lower the risk of additional injuries during physical activities. They come in various forms, such as hinge-post-strap or hinge-post-shell. They are often recommended for people who have already injured themselves and want to continue to play sports. Also recommended for physical activities that require a lot of jumping, pivoting and rapid direction changes.
- Post op – Designed to limit the movement of the knee during the healing process following an injury and/or surgery. They typically consist of a foam liner or shell that surrounds the thigh, knee and calf, with full-length steel bars on both sides with hinges at the knee level.
- Unloader – Designed specifically for people suffering from knee arthritis. They are designed to take the load (stress) from the knee and redirect it to the thigh bone to provide relief. They are typically made of formed plastic, foam and steel. Some doctors may recommend this type of brace to people preparing for knee replacement surgery.
Disclaimer – I am not a doctor and I am not qualified to provide medical advice. This article was posted for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice.