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Knee Braces

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The knee is yet another one of the more abused joints in the body. Injuries involving the knees can get complicated as this is composed of three important bones – the femur, tibia, and patella. All these three work together in perfect harmony which is responsible for our normal-based gait.

If you have seen a diagram of the knee anatomy, you are going to notice the shape of the bony articulation is quite complex which literally translates to inherent stability. Do you know what makes the knee as stable as it is to make you walk, run, and sprint without falling down? It is the ligaments that are more responsible for proper function and these ligaments are called anterior cruciate ligament or ACL, posterior cruciate ligament or PCL, and lateral collateral ligament or LCL.

The knee is further protected by the meniscus that acts as the shock absorber should an injury or trauma take place while the front part of the knee is covered by patella or more commonly referred to as the kneecap which also protects the knee from outside forces. If you have experienced a knee injury or have someone close to you experienced one, you probably have heard tears of the various ligaments and knee parts that we have mentioned above.

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The Most Common Knee Injuries

Are you aware that more than 10 million patients seek the help of doctors for various knee injuries on a yearly basis? In fact, a survey that was recently done indicates that knee injury or problem is one of the most common patient complaints today.

Given the complexity of the knee and its many components, it is definitely vulnerable to many injuries such as dislocations, sprains, fractures, and ligament tears. Depending on the severity of the knee injury, treatment can range from simple measures such as bracing, splinting, and rehabilitation exercises to as complex as surgeries.

To give you a rundown, here are the most common knee injuries, how it happens, how to avoid it and how it is often treated:

  1. Bursitis

Bursae are the cavities of synovial tissue that lines up the bony prominence around the knee. This most commonly becomes inflamed from chronic irritation as a result of repetitive trauma either from overuse or accidents. There could also be fluid buildup inside which may warrant aspiration.

This is more commonly referred in the emergency room as housemaid’s knee. This is also common among runners and the usual treatment would be icing the area and taking anti-inflammatories and wearing splints or braces. For severe cases, aspiration may be recommended.

  1. Patella and/or Quadriceps Tendinitis

Tendinitis comes from the word tendon and inflammation. Therefore, it means inflammation of the tendon along the patella and/or the quadriceps. This is a common injury resulting from overuse and repetitive trauma as is commonly seen among volleyball and basketball players.

Symptoms for patellar and/or quadriceps tendinitis are pain in front of the knee right over where the patella tendon is located and limited flexion with or without swelling present. Treatment is usually to rest the area until it heals along with ice and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories or NSAIDs. However, if the doctor deems that it can heal faster using a splint or a brace, it will be recommended.

  1. Patellofemoral and chodromalacia Patella Pain

Usually manifested by pain in the front of the knee, this is quite tricky without the necessary diagnostic tests since the pain could be coming from a lot of sources including patella malaligment, osteoarthritis, chondromalacia, osteochondral fractures, bursitis, synovial plica, patella instability, and tendinitis.

If it is malalignment due to repetitive trauma, the knee would have to be rested with activity modification, ice, NSAIDs, splints, braces, and exercise program probably later on once it has been corrected and pain has subsided.

  1. Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries

This is probably the most famous knee problem today with more and more people suffering from it. You have heard famous athletes and showbiz personalities suffered from this. Do you remember what happened to Kobe Bryant and how this injury sidelined him for months?

This injury to the knee is an extremely painful one given that the ligament is literally torn when the knee twists suddenly in a different direction from where the foot is planted on. You will feel a sudden pop that will probably bring you down due to pain and instability.

ACL tears, however, differ in the sense that some require operation while others do not. The use of a knee brace is highly needed especially for non-operative cases. Depending on the severity of the tear, full recovery is possible within six to eight weeks with proper approach. For severe cases, graft could be done with reconstructive surgery.

  1. Meniscal Tears

This is usually a result of a twisting injury as the medial meniscus is less mobile and thus easily gets trapped between the femur and tibia. Once there is pressure from a sudden twisting movement, a tear could take place. This is commonly diagnosed by MRI and treated with activity modification with proper braces. If the tear is severe, surgical arthroscopy could be considered. 

Getting to Know Knee Braces by Leveling

There are quite a number of options of how to protect your knees from injuries or prevent another injury from happening again. Braces could be used in so many ways. It can be rehabilitative, functional, and also as preventative measure for those who know they are at higher risk for developing knee problems.

To help you better understand knee braces, let us discuss them first by their support level:

  1. Basic Level

These are the elastic knee braces and supports that are quite simple and easy to use. They are relatively inexpensive yet provide the basic degree of support and warmth that is helpful to the knee.

Knee braces that belong to this level can be used both for short term and long term use. They are great for minor injuries, sprains, and strains. They are also suitable for those with ongoing knee conditions suffering from mild to moderate pain.

Conditions that will benefit from basic elastic knee braces are sprains, arthritis, cartilage irritation, bursitis, patellar tendonitis, Runners Knee, chondromalacia patella, Osgood Schlatters, and knee swelling.

  1. Advanced Knee Braces

These provide relief, moderate support, and protection for the most common causes of knee pain today. They also are easy to use with either pull-up sleeves or Velcro straps to provide more comfort with the right level of support and compression.

These are ideal for short-term use after minor injuries and long-term use for those with ongoing knee conditions who still suffer from mild to moderate pain. Advanced knee braces usually fit snugly to provide some level of compression which supports the soft tissues, muscles, and ligaments. In addition, they are commonly able to retain heat which increases circulation within the area which should promote faster healing.

  1. Elite Orthopedic Knee Braces

This is the level that can give maximum support and protection for moderate to severe pain and even instabilities. These are highly recommended after serious knee injuries and following certain types of knee surgeries.

If you want the best protection for your knees, this would be the best there is as it offers comfort, support, sideways stability, and prevents the knee from hyperextending that could potentially cause more problems especially in an already problematic knee.

This is recommended to those who have had moderate to severe knee problems namely moderate to severe arthritis, cartilage tears, chronic weakness, ligament injuries, and those who are recovering after knee surgeries especially ACL tears.

Understanding Knee Braces

With the increasing number of knee injuries all over the world today, more and more knee braces manufacturers continue to make and produce various styles as they deem necessary. You can say it is knee brace innovation at its finest but to those who are experiencing knee problems, they are just thankful that there are now more choices.

  1. Knee Pull-Up Sleeves

This is the simplest type of knee brace that offers compression, warmth, and support at a very modest price. They are easy to use, come in a variety of sizes, and styles as well.

  • Open Sleeves – This usually have a hole in front of the knee which acts to reduce pressure through the kneecap and give some room for the knee to breathe.
  • Closed Sleeves – This fully supports the whole knee which naturally paves way for more heat retention.
  • Inbuilt Stabilisers – These are ideal for those who need extra support for the knee ligaments given that it has side stabilisers.
  1. Wrap-Around Knee Supports

Depending on the material used and the capacity, these can provide basic and/or advanced support and protection for almost all the most common knee problems. They are extremely easy to use as well yet provide just the right amount of compression and support.

The most common material used for this style is Velcro which makes it comfortable and adjustable. Because of this, they are ideal for those with swollen knees.

  1. McDavid 422 Knee Brace Support with Dual Disk Hinges

    McDavid 422 Knee Brace Support with Dual Disk Hinges

    Hinged Knee Braces

This is one of the easiest ways to help knee instability and at the same time reduce pain. This type offers much more protection for the knee than wraparounds or pull-up sleeves. They offer sideway stability and prevent the knees from hyperextending.

These are known to be extremely helpful during the early stages of the recovery from severe knee injury and even surgery. However, these remain to be a great choice even for everyday use and even high-demand physical activities because of the maximum strength and protection it offers.

  1. Magnetic Knee Brace From Dr. Bakst MagneticsMagnetic Knee Braces

This is the latest invention with the knee brace itself having magnets around the knee joint region, most especially around the kneecap to reduce pain. Given that magnets have long been believed to be a great alternative for treating pain non-invasively and diminishing swelling, manufacturers thought it would be great for magnetic braces.

These are supposed to increase blood flow which should help facilitate healing process, decrease pain, and in general promote a better well-being.

Knee braces have a lot of advantages. They are used prophylactically, functionally, and for rehabilitation. As per medical experts, the functional and rehabilitative ones have proven to be the most effective. However, this would still depend on your injury and its severity.