Knee braces and supports are medical aids used to control and limit
movement, reduce weight bearing on the knee joint, rehabilitate from
fracture, ease pain and assist movement in one direction. These devices are
manufactured using the basics of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics,
engineering and patho-physiology to successfully rehabilitate a patient.
Knee braces are also known as knee orthosis or KO products and are
worn to support and align the knee. Certain neurological and muscular
conditions may cause instability during flexion and extension at the knee
joint and wearing a knee brace can significantly stabilize the joint. In
case ligaments and cartilages surrounding the knee are affected, a knee
brace can perform the functions of these parts to stabilize the knee. Knee braces can also relieve pressure and pain from the
joints during arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Types of Knee Braces
Knee Braces are of four types:
1. Functional Braces - This type of a knee brace is usually worn after an
injury to the knee and it provides support till the knee is healed.
Injuries to different ligaments of the knee require a different kind of
2. Prophylactic Braces - This type of knee brace is usually worn while
playing contact sports like football, hockey and basketball. Prophylactic
knee braces intend to prevent injury to the medial collateral ligament
(MCL) of the knee.
3. Rehabilitative Braces - This kind of knee brace intends to reduce the
movement at the knee joint to promote healing. They're usually used in
combination with crutches to reduce the weight bearing impact on the knee
4. Unloader Braces - These knee braces are usually recommended for people
having medial knee osteoarthritis. These are also recommended before a knee
replacement surgery is performed.
Knee Sleeves also reduce pain, increase stability and provide support. They
provide compression and stability to the knee joint. Hinged knee caps
provide comfort to painful knees, arthritis, sprain and strains.
HOW TO CHOOSE A KNEE SUPPORT
Choosing a knee support requires understanding of the type of
injury, the type of support required, affect on patella and the ligaments
involved. Common types of knee support are:
1. Hinged Knee Support - These are usually prescribed for
use by orthopedic surgeons and sports physiotherapists after a ligament has
been repaired and requires extended support
2. Closed Patellar Knee Support-This knee support is used
for mild swelling and is usually worn during brisk walking and jogging. The
use of these knee supports is not recommended while climbing stairs and
squatting as it can compress the patellar bone causing its degeneration
3. Open Patellar Knee Support - This can be worn for
activities that require bending the knee at an angle of more than 45
degrees and doesn't compress the patellar bone.
4. Patellar Tendon Support - This knee support is useful
for people having pain over the patellar tendon. It dissipates the strain
over the patellar tendon to ease pain
5. Adjustable Stabilizing Knee Support - These are
adjustable and metal free and usually recommended after a ligament injury
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