This has been a controversial topic for a very long time. On one hand, knee braces can be used and are suggested by most orthopedic surgeons to help in a variety of conditions and problems, but there’s still the question of “Do they really help?”; which needs to be answered.
Functional Knee Braces
Patients who are already suffering from a ligament injury are the ones concerned about the effectiveness of knee braces. In such cases, they are usually interested in the functional knee brace type, because they are specially designed to support a torn knee ligament. This means the knee braces can prove beneficial if the patient’s already suffering from a ligament injury, as further confirmed by a number of studies done on the subject.
In summary; functional knee braces are fully able to provide at least some protection to the knee, particularly when force is applied. The studies done, further examined that the knee with the brace is more stable as compared to without it.
Prophylactic Knee Braces
Specifically designed to prevent knee injuries from happening in healthy athletes, these knee braces were first made available and highly popularized in the late 1970s when they were tried and tested by NFL players. Since then, use of prophylactic knee braces has only increased with the positive results shown by several studies, regarding the injury rate of athletes wearing the braces as compared those who don’t.
Although the difference isn’t questionably large, they do show that athletes of certain sports such as football; have a much lower rate of contracting an MCL injury, when wearing the brace. Some important factors however, should be taken into account as well when determining the likelihood of injury, such as;
- The sport played
- The position of the player
- The conditioning of the player
- The size and weight of the player
At first; there was a huge concern with regard to usage of prophylactic knee braces. It was said that they could potentially alter the force on the knee which could very well become problematic. This isn’t the case at all, because when fitted and worn properly, they have shown to decrease the rate of ankle injuries.
OSPI offers bracing for clients for both types. This includes braces that are either custom made or potentially “off the shelf”. Insurance often covers them. Call OSPI today at (480) 899-4333.