Injuries are part and parcel of life. Whether it’s a small or big one, an injury gives a setback to our goals. Knee injuries of all the injuries are the most difficult to manage because they obstruct our daily activities and restrict our mobility. If you are someone who has injured their knee recently or has persistent knee pain, you know the amount of effort it requires in mobility. To avoid these unwanted setbacks, it is smart to offer them the attention and care.
When it comes to knee safety, knee braces are a reliable & affordable solution to protect, prevent and recover from potential knee injuries or pain. You must have seen a lot of sports person wearing different kinds of knee braces and they all do so to safeguard their knees from any possible injury. There are studies that suggest wearing a knee brace can help reduce knee pain and instability. However, they are case-specific and for that reason, knee braces work effectively in different ways for different cases. To measure the effectiveness of knee braces, it is vital to consider the type of knee brace in question.
There are five general categories of knee braces: prophylactic braces, functional braces, rehabilitative braces, unloader braces, and knee sleeves.
Prophylactic Knee Braces:
These knee braces are basically used to prevent knee injuries. These knee braces are typically worn by high end professional athletes or sportspeople involved in contact sports. There are studies which show evidence of the effectiveness of prophylactic knee braces in order to deal with MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) injuries by further preventing knee strain and stiffness and tackle re-injury in the case of previous MCL injuries.
Functional Knee Braces:
Functional braces are used to support the knees that have encountered a knee injury and are undergoing recovery. They are ideal to prevent knee instability and are used as a precaution to prevent any unexpected injury to other parts of the knee. In fact, there are several kinds of functional knee braces designed to cater to knee injuries like MCL, ACL, PCL, LCL, etc. Each type applies force to the area of the knee affected by ligament injury.
Rehabilitative Knee Braces:
As the name itself suggests, rehabilitative knee braces are used to prevent potential knee injuries and movement when a person is recovering from a previous knee injury or surgery. It can be said that these knee braces help in fastening the recovery process after a knee injury. They are usually worn for a period of two to eight weeks and provide the required space for swelling and movement.
Unloader Knee Braces:
Unloader knee braces help to relieve the stress on the knee that causes injury and pain. These are worn by people suffering from osteoarthritis. Unloader braces come in handy in reducing the extra stress on the knee when you walk. They are a safe option for people with arthritis and for those who want to avoid knee surgery for a temporary period.
As evident from the name, knee sleeves are not actually knee braces but a kind of knee support equipment which is often worn by average athletes, casual joggers, and walkers. They are used for compression and support around the knee area and are made from suitable fabrics like neoprene, which is ideal for knee stability and maintaining proper knee balance.
The effectiveness of knee braces may differ from person to person and depends majorly on the type of knee brace being worn, its duration, and the reason for its use. In today’s era, knee braces have become a standard option for millions of people, as they are less expensive and less invasive than knee surgery. Hence wearing a knee brace is definitely worth a try for relieving knee pain and other related injuries.