Knee braces have a wide variety of uses. Some people use them to deal with knee pain and some use them to assist in the recovery process after a serious injury or surgery. Certain knee braces are designed to be worn to prevent injury, particularly in individuals whose knees may be vulnerable to injury during exercise or athletic activity.
Knee braces are a great solution for the people who truly need them. Some people may not actually require the support a knee brace provides. It is always best to consult with a medical professional about whether or not a knee brace is a valuable solution for you.
Who Needs a Knee Brace?
More often times than not, the best candidates for knee braces are people who put a lot of wear and tear on their knees. This includes weightlifters, athletes and people who often run or jog. Knee braces are sometimes used as physical therapy devices for people in recovery.
Anyone could need a knee brace for any number of reasons. Whether the injury was related to athleticism, personal fitness, an accident, an injury or the simple reality of wear and tear on the joints over time.
Talking To Your Specialist About Knee Braces
Before you purchase a knee brace, you’ll need to consult with the doctor or specialist who is treating you for your knee issues. Opting for a boxed knee brace you have purchased from the store may be unwise – these are general fit braces that do not take your personal needs into account and they may not fit properly. A medical professional will let you know if you need a customized solution.
A doctor will be able to tell you whether or not you need a knee brace. If you do need a knee brace, you’ll be able to determine the specific kind of brace that you need. In addition to receiving a knee brace, your medical professional may encourage you to engage in some sort of stretching or exercise routine that will either heal an injured knee or prevent future injury.
Knee braces are intended to be a temporary solution in most cases. You might want to discuss with your doctor what may be best if a knee brace doesn’t handle the issue in its entirety. You may need a surgical procedure at a later point.
The Different Types of Knee Braces
Different knee braces are designed to address different issues. There is no one size fits all method to knee braces. You need to be wearing a brace designed to treat your specific problem or you might be taking a risk that the problem will worsen.
Prophylactic braces are designed to be preventative. If you play a sport that may be hard on the knees like soccer or football a prophylactic brace is intended to keep you safe. Some weightlifters use prophylactic braces while training.
Unloader braces are made to redistribute weight. Patients with arthritis or chronic joint pain use unloaders to relocate pressure to a stronger area that is less vulnerable to injury. More or less, unloader braces serve as a workaround.
Sleeve style braces are not actually braces – they’re compression devices that provide pressure around the kneecap. This compression can reduce swelling and provide extra support for the knee, which may ultimately reduce knee pain. These are always for short term use.
Rehabilitative braces are the next step after surgery or a major injury. In some ways, they work like a cast. They limit or restrict motion of the knee while the area is recovering. Certain doctors may recommend patients to use these kinds of braces for several weeks.
Using a Knee Brace
Every knee brace is intended to be used differently. Your medical professional will tell you when and where you should wear your knee brace, as well as for how long. Improperly using knee braces can actually worsen an injury, so be sure to heed the advice of your doctor. It’s better to ask questions than it is to assume you’re making the right decision.
What to Think About Before Getting a Knee Brace
A knee brace all by itself may not be a valuable solution to your problem. While it may help, it’s generally only part of a healing or strengthening process. Using a knee brace involves making other lifestyle changes, such as switching exercise routines or limiting high intensity activity that may put stress on your joints.
Before you obtain a knee brace, be sure that you’re ready to follow through with every part of your doctor’s plan to help your body heal. Your brace is only a complement to your actual solution.