Doctors have varying opinions on the use of knee braces. Some doctors say it will make the condition worse, while others recommend wearing it to help ease the pain. Even science has not given any proof of the effectiveness of the knee brace. This article enumerates the ways how knee brace helps as proven by users and promised by manufacturers.
Knee braces are designed to support or align the knee are made from any combinations of the following: foam, plastic, metal, straps, and elastic material. It comes in different designs, sizes, and colors. Doctors recommend it to patients to help relieve knee pain or as a structural support.
How knee brace helps according to each kind
There are different kinds of knee brace and each one has its specific function. How does each kind help?
1. Rehabilitative brace
The rehabilitative brace keeps the knee stable and allows for limited knee movement. It is worn for few weeks after an injury or surgery while the knee is healing. However, some doctors have not seen it work and therefore they no longer advise it to their patients.
2. Functional brace
When a knee has been injured in the past, the functional brace is worn. It keeps the knee stable by controlling its motion to prevent another injury. It is usually worn by athletes especially when an injury has healed.
3. Prophylactic brace
Prophylactic brace is worn to protect knees from injuries while playing football and other contact sports. Although there is no any research yet to prove its effectiveness, most athletes use a prophylactic brace to prevent injuries.
4. Unloader brace
The unloader brace is worn by people who suffer from arthritis or other pain in the knee. As the name implies, the unloader brace shifts the weight from the aching part of the knee to a stronger part.
5. Knee sleeves
Another popular type of knee support is the knee sleeves. It is not a type of knee brace but it compresses the area around the knee joint to provide support and helps regulate redness and pain.
How to maximize knee brace benefits?
Among the specific functions of each kind of knee brace, there are more advantages in wearing one. Wear a good quality kind of knee brace to help you stay active regardless of the injury you had recently or in the past. Here are ways to maximize the benefits of a knee brace to keep you active and on the move:
- Wear a knee brace especially when doing a simple, warm up exercises. A low impact workout such as stepping up and down to warm up the heart and leg muscles will be easy with a knee brace.
- When suffering from knee pain, the best exercise is walking. Ask your doctor which kind of knee brace best suits your body type to help you do walking and other low impact exercises.
- It is important to wear a good pair of shoes as well. Otherwise, you might be worsening the condition of your knees and leg muscles. Wear the knee brace together with a good pair of shoes to ensure that you’re addressing the knee problem properly.
- A good knee brace helps in improving your posture. Yes, it does even though it is not obvious at first since it can impact your back. It helps align your head on the center over your shoulders and your shoulders on the center of your pelvis and abdomen.
- Wear the knee brace properly or as directed by the doctor. Doctors may suggest wearing it all the time or only when doing physical activities.
- Regularly check the position of your knee brace while doing activities. Make sure that it stays in place and hasn’t moved.
- Regularly wash the knee brace with soap and water. Also, check for any damage or wear and tear; conceal any exposed metal to prevent it from hurting you or someone else.
- Change the intensity or the activity in your workout little by little to reduce knee stress. Ask your therapist or doctor about an exercise plan that suits your condition.
Although there is no research yet to prove the effectiveness of knee braces, many people say that these braces ease their knee pain. Each kind of knee brace has its own function to heal or ease pain caused by different injuries or activities. Make sure that you regularly clean it or check for any damage to ensure its effectiveness and prevent scratches caused by exposed metals.