They’re everywhere, from professional athletes to family members who have suffered from knee injuries, you know them.
Can a knee brace or band with a knee support actually reduce joint stress and relieve pain? Here are the facts.
What is a Knee Support Brace?
A knee band, also known as a knee brace, is a support device that is worn on the knee and provides stability, support, or pain relief.
There are many options for knee braces. They can be worn on the skin or under clothing.
Some knee support braces can be purchased over-the-counter in specialty shops and pharmacies, but others must be fitted by a certified orthotist.
In general, knee braces fall under one of the following categories:
Sleeves are typically made from neoprene, or a combination latex, nylon and spandex. They are frequently used by athletes and everyday recreationalists.
According to David Jeter, MPT and COMT of Acceleration Physical Therapy, Spokane, WA, sleeves are easy to find and affordable.
They provide little stability or support.
Jeter says that a knee sleeve can keep the knee warm, provide some compression and feel like it is supporting the knee. “The problem is that your body weight will be pushing through the knee, and the Neoprene can almost not resist that movement.
Because they are often equipped with adjustable straps, support stays and hinges, hinged braces offer greater support for the knee than sleeve.
A hinged brace’s ability to provide support depends on its construction, rigidity, and size.
Jeter explains that a hinged brace is used most often after a ligament injury, surgery such as ACL (anterior Cruciate ligament) reconstruction.
The brace helps to limit or restrict side-toside and front-to back motion while the soft tissues heal.
What are Knee Bands?
The patellar tendon straps are also called knee bands and are very popular with runners, weightlifters, and walkers.
A knee band is a thinner version of the standard knee support brace. It consists of a thin strip of material that wraps around your leg below the kneecap.
Many models have adjustable Velcro closures, while others include straps that reach above the kneecap.
These knee bands can be worn while engaging in physical activity.
Jeter explains that the strap placed under the patella is designed to exert pressure directly on the tendon. This may reduce tendon strain.
While this might temporarily relieve some pain, it doesn’t address the root cause.
Jeter says, “I like to see the leg as a whole. I can determine which parts aren’t performing their jobs so that the patellar tendon is under more stress.” “Fixing the root problem is the solution.”
There are pros and cons to wearing a knee support brace or band
A knee brace or bandage may be helpful if you have knee pain, or are recovering from surgery or injury.
It is important to discuss your options with your doctor in order to decide which type of treatment is best for your knee pain.
These are some of the potential benefits and pitfalls of wearing a brace or knee band.
A hinged brace is a device that can immobilize the knee joint after surgery or injury so that damaged tissues can heal.
The effectiveness of wearing a brace on the knees after ACL surgery remains to be debated.
CON: False sense security
A hinged brace can be used to support a healing injury but it is not meant to replace a fully functioning, healthy joint.
Even the strongest hinge brace won’t stop rotational movement completely.
Jeter explains, “Because it is on the outside leg, there are a tremendous amount soft tissue between brace and bone.”
Jeter says that a combination of rotational motion and side-to-side movement could lead to an ACL injury.
A knee support brace, especially one that is soft and sleeved, can help people with knee pain, osteoarthritis or who have had a history of injuries to their knees feel more confident in their movements.
CON: Treating the symptom
Although a knee brace or band can help with pain, it will not address the root cause.
It can help to reduce pain so you might delay seeking treatment for a injury to your knee. This could lead to further complications.
Jeter states that a knee brace can help the knee feel better. It will not weaken the knee and is not harmful to wear. If someone feels better wearing one, it’s worth it.
It’s important to see a doctor to determine the root cause of your knee pain.
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