It is common for athletes to wear knee supports before, during, and after events. Knee bracing is not limited to athletics, although supports are often sold by professionals with backgrounds in sports medicine. For instance, Mueller braces and supports are used by athletes as well as patients suffering from a range of knee injuries and diseases. Supports are common because knees are at risk for damage due to their limited range of motion. They also carry the body’s weight and are easily injured by twisting and turning. There are various types of supports available, and doctors should recommend the best option for each patient.
Bracing Knees Helps Prevent and Heal Injuries
Knee supports are recommended for a range of conditions. Rehabilitative braces are worn after surgery or injuries. They stabilize the knee and limit movement. Prophylactic braces protect knees from injuries and are common in contact sports like football. Arthritis patients often use unloader braces designed to relieve pain by shifting weight from damaged to stronger areas.
Medical Professionals Should Choose Knee Supports
Many people with knee pain or injuries diagnose themselves and buy their own support devices. However, choosing the wrong knee braces and supports can do more harm than good. If the braces do not provide enough support, injuries can get worse. Too much support may weaken the knee’s native support system. A medical professional can suggest the ideal product for each patient’s needs.
Braces and Sleeves Offer Different Benefits
The term “knee brace” is used to describe both specially designed, complex braces and simple supports. Products designated as braces typically include metal, elastic, and neoprene materials. They are complex and designed for maximum support. There are also simple knit knee supports that can be slipped on. Also known as sleeves, they provide minimal support as well as compression that reduces swelling and pain.
Knee Braces Will Vary
In general, there are three types of braces recommended for patients with knee injuries.
Hinged knee braces usually have metal reinforcements that increase stability and support. They can include a variety of hinges ranging from basic to elaborate. Some have stop pins to regulate knee movement. Hinged braces are often used after moderate to serious knee joint damage.
Stabilized knee braces do not include metal hinges but usually provide more support than knee sleeves. Some have openings that keep the knee in place and provide heat and compression. They may have flexible steel springs or elastic straps and may be recommended to patients with arthritis, patella problems, or tendinitis.
Wrap-around supports are very simple but provide adjustable compression and are often worn after sprains.
Millions of people wear supports to protect their knees and help them heal after injuries. Some use simple sleeves that reduce pain and swelling. Doctors usually recommend more complex braces for patients with serious knee injuries.