A knee brace is an orthopedic device designed to support or immobilize the knee joint. Braces come in many styles but are generally made of an elastic material that wraps around the knee and may include metal or hard plastic as well. They are most often used to treat pain or an injury, but some people also use them to prevent injuries while exercising or playing a sport. A knee brace can be beneficial in several ways.
Healing From An Injury
When a person has had an injury or is recovering from surgery of the knee, a Mueller knee brace can help to keep the knee immobilized while the bone and tendons are healing. In the case of a torn ligament, a brace can often be used as an alternative to surgery. As the knee begins to heal, the range of motion allowed by the brace can be controlled and gradually increased.
Supporting A Weak Joint
Someone who had a knee injury in the past or who suffers from arthritis of the knee can benefit from a brace. Arthritis can weaken the cartilage around the knee, and a brace can be very effective in keeping the joint correctly aligned. In one study, a group of patients who used a brace while exercising reported a 40% decrease in pain after several weeks. A brace can make a big difference in a person’s overall health if it allows him or her to be more physically active.
Many athletes use knee braces prophylactically, to prevent injuries before they happen. Runners, in particular, seem to benefit from the extra support, as do football and soccer players. High-impact activities, and especially any that involve twisting or turning, can put undue strain on the knee joint. Though the current body of research is limited, it seems that a brace can help to reduce strain on the ACL ligament.
An orthopedist specializes in diseases and injuries to the bones and joints, and he or she can provide the best guidance in choosing the right orthopedic support for knee pain. In addition to a brace, a doctor may recommend other treatments including ice, elevation, rest, and light exercise.