Knee braces are becoming an increasingly common treatment for a variety of conditions affecting the knees and legs. Orthopedists often recommend knee supports in addition to physical therapy, either to assist a patient with rehabilitation or to help protect the patient from further injury. There are four different types of knee braces, each designed to assist the wearer in different ways.
Prophylactic Knee Braces
Prophylactic braces are intended to prevent injury, and they’re most often worn by athletes. They were first employed widely in the National Football League (NFL) to protect football players from tears of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and other supportive ligaments during stress to the knee. Subsequently many athletes have adopted the practice of using protective braces to prevent injuries. Prophylactic braces are most often recommended for serious athletes in sports that put significant strain on the knee. In addition, knee braces are especially indicated for athletes who have suffered prior knee injuries.
Functional Knee Braces
Functional braces are recommended for patients who have recently suffered an injury. The brace is open across the bend of the knee, allowing the knee to bend, but it prohibits lateral motion in order to protect recovering ligaments. Limiting motion helps ligaments to rest and heal. Some functional braces also promote blood circulation around the knee, which speeds the healing process.
Rehabilitative Knee Braces
Rehabilitative braces are designed to be used by patients recovering from knee surgery, typically for a 2 to 8-week period. These are the most restrictive braces, with foam surrounding the calf, rigid side bars, and an adjustable hinge to more strictly control the range of motion. A rehabilitative brace is open, allowing for swelling, and can easily be removed. Post-surgery patients wear a rehabilitative brace during the period while they are using crutches after an operation.
Unloader Knee Braces
These knee braces are made for patients with arthritis, and they help to relieve both pain and inflammation in the knee. They work by unloading pressure from the knee and transferring it to the thigh bone, allowing arthritis sufferers to remain active with less pain. To learn more about knee braces and other types of joint supports, visit https://www.muellersportsmed.com/sports-medicine-product/braces-supports/omniforce.html.