In the United States, twenty million visits to doctors each year are made due to knee related problems and injuries. Knee problems, as research shows are the most common conditions suffered by individuals not only in the US but also in most countries around the world. These resulted to the increased need for knee supports which help individuals protect their knees form injuries as well as help in treating knee related conditions. Due to the increase in demand, more and more companies are manufacturing such products which make choosing the best one a very tedious and daunting task.
Knee injuries and knee related problems can be avoided and treated using knee supports which many also refers to as knee braces. These knee braces are used to provide stability to the knees especially to athletes who almost always participate in diverse competitions which subjects them to wide range of motions that can affect the knees. The range of motions faced by sports people increases their risk of knee injuries which on the other hand are lessened by using supports. Other than their usefulness in sports, knee braces are also great in assisting medical professionals in treating different kinds of knee problems.
There are five types of knee supports, namely, prophylactic braces, functional braces, rehabilitative braces, unloader braces and knee sleeves. The first type is the prophylactic brace made from bars, hinges and adhesive straps which is used in contact sports such as football and basketball as to protect the knees from damage. On the other hand, we have the functional braces which are used to treat knee related injuries and are mostly prescribed by doctors as part of the knee rehabilitation program of the patient. This type is further divided into various forms to match a specific knee condition.
The third type of knee support is the rehabilitative brace which like the second type is also used for knee injuries. This however limits the movements the movements of the knee to avoid further damage. This type usually consists of foam liners that surround the calf, thigh, and knee, along with full-length rigid bars on both sides with hinges at the knee that are adjustable. The unloader brace is the fourth type of knee support commonly prescribed to those with knee osteoarthritis in order to bend the knee away from the painful area. Lastly, we have the knee sleeves which are worn by common athletes as well as more casual exercisers. These provide compression around the knee joint and some knee stability and are the least expensive type of support.
Different kinds of knee supports are already available in the market which can make choosing difficult. Before buying though, make sure that you have carefully checked the level of pain you feel on the knee part as this will help you identify the knee brace you will need. Severe pain may need superior knee supports while mild pains can use elastic braces made of neoprene or drytex. Make sure that you also check the braces’ support like its straps, its nylon parts and the edges which should be trimmed and smooth. Proper fit and ease of use should also be considered. If you still can’t decide, what you need to do ask for advice from your physician. The doctor will definitely have at least one or tow suggestions you can use.
Wearing knee supports should not be taken for granted as this can make or break your knees, literally.
Christian Cavallari is a runner who suffered a knee injury in 2010. Despite not being able to run as frequent as before, Christian manages to participate in running activities through the help of a knee support (Gelenk-Kniestuetze).