A knee brace function is to help an injured knee heal and to protect it from further injury. Your doctor should recommend these braces after treating your knee injury. Doctors prescribe the best knee brace to stabilize your knee while it heals, and you go about your usual activities. But some athletes use knee braces and sleeves as a fashion statement.
Yes, there are various knee braces from multiple companies. Each company also claims theirs is the best. Most of them are fashionably made to go with the trendy lifestyles. But when a doctor does not recommend a knee brace, you might be harming yourself in the name of fashion.
There are various types of knee braces according to their uses.
#1. Functional Knee Braces
These are meant to stabilize an athlete’s knee that has a prior injury. It is used to control motion to prevent further damage. They are recommended for use by doctors after a significant injury has healed.
Knee injuries generally occur around the knee ligaments. The ligaments either get torn or damaged during exercise.
Functional knee braces are made in such a way that the front of the pair is open and exposes the knee. The side hinges of the brace are flexible and allow front and back movement but limit side to side movement. The prop, therefore, prevents future tear and damage to the knee by limiting side to side movement. It also gives room for the knee to heal faster.
#2. Rehabilitative Knee Braces
Immediately after knee surgery, a doctor may recommend these types of braces for the patient. These braces are supposed to stabilize the knee while allowing limited movement during the knee’s healing process.
The Knee braces help limit the knee’s potentially harmful movements during the healing process after a surgery or injury. Their function is to protect the just repaired or reconstructed knee ligaments, therefore, allowing the knee motion early in the healing stage.
The rehabilitative knee braces are an excellent way to protect the knee joints and ligaments from further damage and prevent any future injury.
However, some doctors don’t see the benefits of rehabilitative knee braces. But still, these braces are recommended by most doctors and therapy institutions.
#3. Unloader Knee Braces
These types of braces are mostly used by people who have arthritis developing in their knees. They are specifically meant for persons who suffer from knee osteoarthritis. Their primary purpose is to shift weight or “unload” the pressure from the damaged joint to a more durable part, such as the thigh bone. The knee is then forced to bend away from the painful area.
The unloader knee braces are also suitable for individuals waiting to undergo knee replacement surgeries. And most especially if they are looking to take the pressure off their knees and do not want to lay down as they wait.
#4. Prophylactic Knee Braces
Their purpose is primarily to protect the knee from injury during contact sports such as football, hockey, long jump, and even high jump. They are the most popularly used knee braces in the athlete world.
These knee braces protect the MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) against knee valgus. At the same time, it protects the joints in your knee against further injury. The braces are excellent for athletes who are at a high risk of MCL injury and those who previously suffered MCL type injuries.
#5. Knee Sleeves
It is good to note that knee sleeves are not knee braces. But sleeves are the most commonly used knee support. They provide compression around the knee joint, thus giving the knee the proper support required. They can also control pain and swelling.
Check our blog for the compression knee sleeves reviews to help you choose the best sleeves for your knee.
The knee sleeves are meant to protect your knee from injury, when injured, and to avoid further damage. The warmth and compression applied to the knee increase blood flow enabling the athlete to have a more stable and controlled movement.
All types of athletes use knee sleeves. However, various thicknesses are recommended for different kinds of sports. For example, the 3mm knee sleeves are meant for runners as they are looking for more grip and stability in their run. The 7mm sleeve is for weight lifters who are after extra knee support while the 5mm is for any other sporting activities.
Knee sleeves come with no doctor’s recommendation, unlike knee braces. The sleeves can be bought at any athlete shop near you. But both knee sleeves and braces provide support to the knee.
The knee is very susceptible to injury because it bears most of the body weight. During sport, it is the most likely place to suffer damage. It is, therefore, best to give it as much support as possible to prevent frequent injury.