If you want to provide some support or relief to your aching knees, knee braces can help. Many practitioners prescribe knee braces for their patients to treat a wide range of conditions as well as post-op for individuals that have had surgical procedures.
But when are knee braces helpful to wear? Typically, knee braces are most helpful for support and pain relief. Here is what you need to know:
Knee Braces Worn for Support
If you sustain an injury to your knee—like an ACL tear- your doctor will likely recommend and prescribe a knee brace. These provide the structural support needed for the knee to heal and recover. These types of braces help make the knee more stable and positions the knee in the right position to prevent re-injury.
Your provider may recommend one of three knee braces for patients that need this support:
Functional braces are knee braces that offer protection to the knee and that prevent it from being further injured. These braces keep the knee in a stable position that helps the knee recover after an injury or operation. Your doctor may recommend or prescribe a functional knee brace.
Rehabilitative braces restrict the movement that you have in your knee. These are often used immediately after a surgical procedure or after you have sustained an injury to the knee. The aim of rehabilitative braces is to keep the knee in one position, impeding certain movement, to expedite healing and recovery.
Prophylactic braces are often worn during team or contact sports. A prophylactic brace prevents and defends against possible injury- so they are worn by individuals that may or may not have compromised or painful knees.
Thinking about wearing a knee brace or sleeve for additional support, either during fitness or not? Here are some criteria to assess the best brace for you:
Some things that point to the best brace for your distinct knee situation include the precise area of the knee that is injured, as well as what kind of rehab or PT you will be engaging in. Another consideration is the kind of sports that you play if you are an athlete.
Knee Braces for Pain Relief
A lot of patients suffering with chronic pain from conditions like arthritis may find that a knee brace is an effective way to find relief. Osteoarthritis and pain from an injury are common reasons why someone may choose to wear a knee brace.
Unloader braces are popular for those seeking pain relief as they alleviate stress from arthritis which is deep in the knee.
Exercise, Working-out, and Knee Braces
If you plan on engaging in rigorous or physically demanding activity, like workouts or sports, a prophylactic knee brace makes a lot of sense. Wearing a brace can protect you from injury during strenuous workouts- and your trainer may recommend that you use one regularly.
Individuals that are overweight and that have more pressure on their knee joints may also choose a prophylactic knee brace to support their strained knees. Always stretch, too, before and after your workout.
Benefits of Knee Braces
Let’s break down the many holistic benefits of wearing a knee brace:
- Knee braces reduce swelling, inflammation, and discomfort in joints from Arthritis, Osteoarthritis or Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Knee braces keep the knee in a therapeutic position that allows for it to heal properly.
- Knee braces provide greater range of motion for those that are impacted by medical issues or injuries.
- Since a brace constricts movement, you will be less likely to further injure the knee joint.
- Knee braces are easy to clean and usually do fine in a regular washing machine with a little bit of detergent. Make sure to air dry; do not throw knee braces in a dryer for best results.
- Knee braces help facilitate proper blood flow to injured areas of the knee for faster healing and recovery. This means you will feel better, quicker.
Think a knee brace might work for you? Check out your options online and talk to your practitioners if you have questions or concerns.
Final Notes about Knee Braces
Always seek out knee braces made from breathable and high-quality materials, that are easy to clean, and that are made in the US. Since the fit is critical to the therapeutic effects of the knee brace, go ahead and measure the circumference of your leg and knee to make sure you get the right size. Adjustable knee braces and sleeves provide versatility and size flexibility, plus you may be able to wear the same knee brace over or under clothing.
Frequently Asked Questions about Knee Braces (FAQs)
Are there side effects of wearing a knee brace?
Some knee braces may cause swelling of the area or irritation- particularly if they do not fit properly. Stiffness and redness may also be side effects of prolonged wear.
Are knee braces better than sleeves?
Kneebraces are typically more supportive than knee sleeves. Braces are considered more effective, but sleeves offer more support and stability than without wearing any- plus, they are comfortable. Some specialty braces must be custom-made and prescribed by a doctor, such as in the case of those living with arthritis or other medical issues afflicting the knees.
Should you wear a knee brace all day?
The answer to whether you should wear a knee brace all day or for prolonged periods depends on why you are wearing it. Some people wear their knee sleeves or brace all the time- even when they sleep. Talk to your provider to find out more- and determine how long you should wear your knee brace.
What should buyers look for in a knee brace?
Depending on why you are wearing a brace, there are some distinctive features of braces to suit different wearers. For instance, sleeves are easy to wear, wash, and offer light support; low-profile support braces utilize Velcro straps for adjustable sizing. Unloader braces take weight and pressure off compromised knees- there are varied braces, sleeves, and objectives.
As you can see, there are many advantages to wearing a knee brace, particularly if you have a condition like arthritis or if you have recently had knee surgery. The support and pain relief are compelling reasons to look closer at how a knee brace may help you therapeutically, and as always, talk to your provider or physician to learn more.