Author: Rosemary Buckle, M.D.
Why wear a knee brace?
Whether you’re a high performance athlete, weekend warrior, or simply want to walk with more stability and comfort… a pain-relieving knee brace may be right for you. When used appropriately, a knee brace can provide increased comfort, stability and support. In athletes, knee braces can protect an injured joint or potentially reduce the risk of injury. In adults with osteoarthritis, a knee brace can reduce pain and make it easier to get around. (Learn more about knee braces for osteoarthritis.)
What types of knee braces exist?
- Functional braces support injured knees.
- Prophylactic braces protect knees from injury during contact sports (e.g. football, soccer, etc.).
- Rehabilitative braces prevent an already injured knee from making certain movements as it heals.
- Unloader/offloader braces help patients with osteoarthritis get relief.
What style of knee brace do I need?
Broadly speaking, there are four styles of knee braces. Hinged braces are usually recommended for athletes who need excellent protection and stabilization after knee surgery. Compression braces (sleeves) can help redistribute weight and decrease daily pain; they are easily worn under your everyday clothes. Wraparounds are simple braces usually used by athletes who have mild to moderate pain. Bands and straps are used for runner’s knee and jumper’s knee.
Should I wear a knee brace?
Anyone can purchase a knee brace without a physician’s prescription. However, for best results, it is recommended that you see a Houston sports medicine doctor for an evaluation and diagnosis. Your doctor may prescribe a specific type of knee brace for treating your injury, or suggest an alternative therapy that could be better suited to your health and goals. Additionally, a doctor can properly size you for a knee brace. This is very important, as an ill-fitting or improperly positioned brace can cause more harm than good.
What else can I do to heal my knee?
Of course, one of the main advantages of seeing an orthopedic or sports medicine doctor is that you may be able to receive a comprehensive treatment plan that includes more than knee bracing. In addition to knee bracing, your orthopedic physician may advise you in:
- The R.I.C.E. method
- When and how to use ice or heat for your knee injury
- When and how to use NSAIDs for pain and swelling
- How to strengthen surrounding muscles
- Steroid injections
- Surgery (including how to know when it’s time to have a knee replacement)
Schedule With a Houston Sports Medicine Doctor
For more information about finding knee pain relief through bracing, schedule an appointment at Houston Institute for Sports Medicine & Orthopedics. You can schedule your appointment with a Houston orthopedic physician online or by calling (713) 756-5546.
Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.