The knee play a key role in walking and mobility. Knees consist of an intricate network of muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones designed to bear an individual’s full body weight. When an individual experiences weak knees or knee pain, knee support may be able to restore function and reduce discomfort. There are a variety of knee support tools, braces, and mechanisms that patients can use to reinforce weak knees.
Types of Knee Brace
When choosing knee support, patients should consider several factors. Knee support for injured patients will vary from preventative knee support. Stronger, more specialized knee support devices may be used for demanding physical activity such as sports. Generally, patients with a greater need for knee support will require more rigid devices.
Primary types of knee brace support include:
- Soft knee braces, such as compression socks and elastic bandages
- Lace-up braces, which offer adjustable levels of pressure and support
- Rigid braces, most commonly used for injury rehabilitation
Soft Knee Braces and Neoprene sleeves
Soft knee braces are the most common type of mild-to-moderate ankle support. Soft knee braces are designed to apply pressure to the knee while keeping the area warm. Soft knee braces provide less movement restriction than other types of knee support. Pull-on compression socks and elastic bandages are common types of soft kneebraces. These braces can be found in local retail stores, such as drugstores.
Lace-up braces are typically semi-rigid. As a result, they offer more knee support than soft braces without heavily restricting movement. They may consist of a leather, plastic, or canvas shell with laces along the front. Lace-up braces allow for adjustment in tightness around certain areas of the knee.
Rigid braces are the most movement-restricting type of knee support. These braces are often used for knee support after injury. Stirrup braces are a type of rigid braces that prevent knee rolling while still allowing the patient’s knee to move up and down. Rigid braces may also take the form of lace-up braces with hard supports on the sides to prevent rolling. A number of athletes use rigid braces during sports that require demanding movement such as running and jumping.
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