Braces can be prescribed for many reasons, depending on a patient’s symptoms or recovery point after injury. The following is a summary of braces prescribed, and ways that braces can assist the knee in performing regular activity.
- Sleeve or Wrap-Around Braces: These usually slide up the leg like a sock or wrap around the leg with Velcro. They fit snuggly around the lower thigh to the mid-calf. They are used to provide minimal stability and are mainly used to control swelling at the knee. These are usually sold in drug stores and do not require a physician prescription.
- Hinged Knee Brace: These braces usually have 2 types of fasteners. It can be held on by strong Velcro or with plastic buckles. They provide a moderate amount of support and help prevent with knee buckling. They will all have a metal support hinge on the inside and outside of the knee. They can be administered by a physician, or found at medical supply stores.
- Arthritis Brace: These braces are made of a rigid tough plastic and are held in place with straps. They are used to “unload” an arthritic area of the knee that may have significant more wear and tear than the other side. This may be beneficial in prolonging the need for surgery while increasing stability, and allowing more weight bearing with less pain. These braces are prescribed by a physician, and a trained professional will come to fit a custom brace for your knee.
- Stability Braces: These braces are used to protect the knee after ligament or tendon repairs. They are also made of a hard plastic, and fit snugly to the leg with straps. They are mainly used in the return to sporting and high level activity after surgery. They need to be custom fitted to an individual, and require a physician prescription.
Written by Chris Athos MPT, COMT
Preferred Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/ Ambro