Knee Braces and Supports
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 functional brace.
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 joint.
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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