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Types of Knee Braces: A Guide to Finding the Right Knee Brace

knee-brace

Knee Bracing can be used for prevention, post-injury, or rehabilitation.

Knee pain is a very common ailment affecting a wide range of people.  A variety of knee braces from many well-known manufacturers such as DonJoy, Breg, Ossur, McDavid, and Cho-Pat are available to help alleviate the pain associated with different knee injuries.  Patellar, or kneecap pain associated with poor tracking, subluxation, dislocation, or tendonitis can be treated with sleeve type braces or Cho-Pat Straps, while ligamentous knee injuries to the ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL or cartilaginous injuries to the meniscus can be treated with a variety of hinged braces.  With the help of a medical professional, finding the right brace for a specific injury can be easy.

Knee sleeves and knee straps are the most commonly used types of knee braces used for athletes and the physically active person.  Neoprene knee sleeves are used to give the knee and patella additional support and stability. They are elastic, easy to apply, and provide compression and heat to the knee.  They are great for athletes or patients with arthritis, patellofemoral pain, or chronic inflammation or swelling.  Sleeves with a supportive doughnut around the patella, such as the DonJoy Deluxe Elastic Knee Sleeve or the DonJoy Lateral J Support Knee Sleeve are used to help with patellofemoral pain, patella subluxation, or lateral patella tracking.  Knee straps, such as the Cho-Pat Knee Strap are used for athletes, running, or patients suffering from patellar tendonitis or runner’s knee.

Hinged knee braces are most commonly used for athletes or patients who are suffering from injuries to the ligaments of the knee.  Whether the injury to the ligaments is mild or requires surgical intervention, a hinged knee brace will provide support and stability to the knee during the rehabilitation process and eventual progression back into activity. There are a wide variety of hinged braces specifically designed for the different ligament injuries that can occur in the knee, and provide a varying degree of support to correspond with the severity of the injury.  Design of the braces also varies for patient comfort and use, with the DonJoy Playmaker Hinged Knee Brace in the knee sleeve style or the DonJoy Playmaker Wraparound Hinged Knee Brace in a style that Velcro’s around the knee instead of having to pull the brace on, while still providing similar knee support.  Custom braces are also available to fit specific injury needs. When choosing a knee brace it is important that all aspects of the injury are properly supported, and sometimes a custom brace is necessary.  Custom bracing is usually expensive and made to fit your specific leg.  For proper sizing of a custom brace, measurements are taken by a doctor or trained professional, and the brace is then made to your specific body specifications.

It is important to talk to a medical professional before deciding on a brace.  They can help guide you to the right type of brace for a specific injury and also help with the correct sizing.  If the sizing is incorrect, the brace may not be effective or support the knee and its structures properly.  Always make sure to wear the knee brace during the times and activities it is prescribed by the medical professional.  When they are used safely and correctly, knee braces are very effective tools at reducing knee pain and adding additional support.  For more information on the different types of knee braces, please visit http://www.hat-trick-sports.com/shop/knee-brace-support.

About the author

Megan Goodrich MA, ATC

Megan Goodrich, ATC is a contributing author and staff member of Hat Trick Sports. Megan graduated from Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Sports Medicine and received a Masters of Arts degree in Exercise and Sport Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she worked with the Division 1 field hockey and track and field teams. Megan has also worked as an Assistant Athletic Trainer at Kent State University, and more recently as the Head Athletic Trainer at Villa Maria Academy in Erie, PA. Megan brings her love of sports and knowledge of sports medicine to all of her articles, as well as when working with customers at Hat Trick Sports.

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