Through all the ups and downs of life, unfortunately injury may sometimes prove unpreventable. No matter whether your knees hurt due to overuse, strain, or arthritis, doctors will often prescribe a brace to help aid in your recovery. However, there are quite a few types of medical braces available and this may seem daunting to people whom may not be familiar in the field. This guide was written to help you choose the right knee brace for your condition.
When to Wear a Knee Brace
Most commonly knee braces are worn during recovery or rehabilitation, but they can also be used to prevent injuries. Runners, or sports players often put a lot of stress on their knees and may choose to wear braces during off-season. Even old age can cause issues in the joints, such as arthritis. The brace is intended to restrict your range of motion and allow the area to heal. Your doctor can help you decide if a knee brace may benefit you.
Types of Knee Braces
1. Knee Sleeve – Although knee sleeves offer the least protection, they also happen to be the most comfortable. These work quite well for mild knee pain or arthritus, but aren’t well suited for serious injuries. These have the added benefit of fitting under clothing.
2. Dual-Wrap Braces – These are suitable for moderate knee pain provide quite a bit more support then sleeves. These are quick to put on or remove and are often used during training to help prevent injury. These are probably the most commonly worn knee brace and they lack the weight of the bulkier hinged braces.
3. Hinged Knee Braces – Doctors often recommend these after surgery. These braces are designed to maintain proper knee alignment and keep motion to a minimum. Some people may find these heavy or cumbersome but they provide the most protection.
4. Knee Strap – Popular among runners or athletes, these braces are often worn to alleviate impact related damage or pain. Wearing this sort of brace applies compression to your patellar tendon to prevent injury. These fit under clothes and are a breeze to remove.
5. Open Patella Braces – Braces with an open patella (a hole in the center) allow for the alleviation of knee pressure and provide support without limiting mobility as much. Alternatively, a closed patella brace offers a higher level of compression and support. Your doctor can tell you which option is better suited to your situation.
How Tight Should the Brace Be?
Wearing a knee brace should feel comfortable, but it’s also important to keep a little compression at the knee if you want proper support.
It should never feel like you’re losing circulation.
If your brace is making you go numb, then you should either loosen the straps or acquire a larger sized brace.
Choosing the Right Brace
Choosing the right knee brace for your situation is dependent on several factors such as the type of injury, your recovery level, and mobility concerns.
If you are still unsure which knee brace is right for you, then your doctor can help you make the right decision.