There’s more to being healthy than exercise and watching what you eat and drink. You want to ensure your body gets the support it needs from health aids like a knee brace.
A knee brace can provide relief from discomfort / pain as well as protect you from further injuring your knee or another area of the body. A brace can often benefit more than just your knees, but your posture, hips and lower back. Considering that many private insurance companies can make a knee brace either free or very affordable, access to the equipment you need may be easier than you thought.
First, let's take a look at the four types of knee braces available, your doctor will know which one is right for you:
- Rehabilitative knee braces are worn to limit movement in patients recovering from surgery or a severe injury.
- Prophylactic braces help the user to prevent injury, especially during contact sports.
- Functional knee braces are usually worn by those who have suffered a previous injury and have most likely transitioned out of their rehabilitative brace.
- Unloader or Offloader braces help to relieve pain and give extra support to those with arthritis in the knees.
Once your doctor has recommended a brace, and you’ve learned how to properly wear it, you may start to see and feel other perks to wearing a knee brace.
Benefits of a Knee Brace
- Improving your stride: Walking is one of the best ways to relieve knee pain, your brace will help with that. As the brace helps you walk, you’re also rebuilding strength in the area. Walking has several other benefits that will improve your quality of life, you can learn more in this great article.
- Protecting your other leg: Having support on your weaker / injured side allows your weight to be more evenly distributed, so you’re not wearing out your good knee.
- Correcting your posture: Ideally, your head should be centered over your shoulders, with your shoulders directly over your pelvis. A weak or injured knee impacts posture in ways we don’t usually recognize ourselves.
- Reducing back pain: When we’re not able to stand or walk properly, back pain (especially in the lower back) is inevitable. Restoring strength to the knee with a brace is often the best way to eliminate or at least reduce the pain.
- Scale down hip pain: Similar to back pain, your hips can be affected by weak knees. The additional walking you’re able to do with a knee brace on will also help keep your hips strong.
There is a chance that a knee brace isn’t the best option for you. Some medical conditions such as peripheral neuropathy make you susceptible to adverse effects from using one. You also need to keep cognisant of when to STOP wearing your knee brace. Wearing the brace too long can cause skin abrasion, it can also lead to muscle atrophy or joint stiffness. For these reasons, it's important you wear your brace correctly and that you continue to communicate with your doctor or physical therapist about your evolving condition so you can get the maximum benefit from wearing a knee brace.