A Detailed Guide on How to Choose the Perfect Knee Brace in 2018
If you are reading this article, you probably have a knee injury or a knee related problem. There are currently over hundreds of knee brace varieties for various knee problems ranging from LCL to ACL instabilities to arthritis pain to patella. Knee injuries, if not treated properly, will sideline your daily activities and training. Using the right braces will quicken your recovery process and prevent any further injuries to your knee whether it is for daily functions, sports, post-surgery or pain reduction.
Finding the perfect knee braces for you can be quite a challenge considering the overwhelming options available in the market. Different braces varieties offer different support levels and come in varying styles, material and quality.
You need something that fits your preferences and needs. Here are some important factors to consider before making your purchase. Understanding how it is categorized based on their purpose, support level and style will make it easier for you to find one that is best suited for your condition.
Specialized Knee Braces for Your Condition
1. Arthritis Braces
If you are suffering from arthritis, you need a knee brace that is designed to reduce the force in those parts of the knee that are affected by arthritis. Such types of braces are designed to reduce the level of pain, provide support and improve the stability of the knee.
2. ACL Braces
ACL (anterior cruciate ligament braces) have been designed to target an ACL injury. Such types of braces are designed to provide protection and stability. It is ideal for use after a ligament tear or a reconstructive knee surgery.
Knee Braces According to Support Level
1. Basic Level
If you have a knee condition that requires only a low level of support, this is the right choice for you. They are comfortable, affordable, easy to wear and offer you flexibility.
2. Advanced Level
If you have a knee condition that requires a moderate level of support, this is the right choice for you. Braces like these reduce the forces going through the knee and are quite adjustable for comfort and fit.
3. Elite Level
If you have a knee condition that requires maximum stability, this is the right choice for you. It will prevent your knees from giving away especially if it buckles a lot. This type of knee support is commonly recommended after knee surgery.
4. Knee Pads
If you are somebody who spends a lot of time on activities that require you to be on your knees, knee pads are a perfect choice. It will also effectively reduce the pain in your knees.
Knee Braces According to Style
Hinged Knee braces are commonly used after a knee surgery. It is for athletes or patients requiring a high level of support and protection. Using this kind of braces will ensure that your knee is perfectly aligned when you bend. It speeds up the healing process and prevents any further injuries. A hinged keen is recommended by doctors right after a surgery but when you have reached the healing process they will recommend you another type of braces. Hinge braces come in both soft and rigid forms. The soft ones are for lesser severe conditions as it offers less support.
2. Knee Sleeves
Knee sleeves are available in a variety of sizes. With the right size, you can easily slip them right over the knees. If you have a lot of pain and swelling, this will help control it with the compression. It works wonderfully well for people who are suffering from mild pain in the knee and it even minimizes arthritis. Knee sleeves are quite comfortable for daily wear and it gives a snug fit under your clothing.
Wraparounds, also known as dual-wrap braces provide a higher level of support compared to sleeves. It is commonly used by athletes who are experiencing knee pain ranging from mild to moderate. You can easily put it on and take it off. It is widely used during training because it does not have the heaviness and the bulk of hinged braces.
4. Knee Strap
Knee straps are great for knee conditions like patella tracking, jumper’s knee (patellar tendonitis), or Osgood-Schlatter disease. You can put it on and off easily and it fits well under clothing. Wearing a knee strap will go a long way in minimizing the level of pain in your knees because it applies compression in your patellar tendon and even helps in preventing further patella injuries.
5. Closed and Open Patella Knee Braces
There are two types of patella knee braces. One is open, aka open patella which has a hole right in the middle of the braces. The second one is closed, aka closed patella which has no holes. Open patellas with holes in the centre allow relief from the pressure of the knees. The extra knee cap will lend the right amount of support for tracking and movement. On the other hand, closed patellas provide compression to the cap of the knee by applying the same amount of pressure like the rest of the surrounding knee. It also provides additional support.
6. Magnetic Knee Braces
When it comes to magnetic knee braces, there are contradicting opinions but many users have attested to its benefits. It combines the benefits of magnetic therapy and the support of knee braces. The magnets are strategically placed in order to surround the region of the knee joint. It reduces inflammation and pain, increases blood flow and promotes a general well being.
7. Neoprene Braces
Neoprene braces are very popular in the market these days. Neoprene is made of synthetic rubber that is used to make wetsuits. An added advantage to this neoprene material is that it helps in retaining heat and insulation that speeds up the healing process and reduces pain and swelling. It also protects the joints and muscles when exercising because it keeps the affected area warm even when you are inactive.
Shopping for knee braces can make you feel lost because of the endless array of varieties it comes in. Start by deciding what kind of a knee condition you have. Whether you are recovering from a knee surgery or have knee related conditions like arthritis. Consider the level of support you need and how much movement your knee requires. All knee brace varieties come in different sizes. It is crucial to pick the right size otherwise it won’t be as effective or comfortable.