What are knee braces for? According to the American Family Physician, knee braces are used to support an injured or a painful knee. Some athletes use a type of knee brace to prevent injury to the knee. Knee braces come in a variety of shapes and sizes and are made of different materials, including metal, foam, plastic, and elastic straps.
There are four basic types of knee braces.
Prophylactic braces. These are used by athletes to protect knees from injuries, especially in contact sports such as football.
Functional braces. These are the most common type that are used to provide support to injured knees.
Rehabilitative braces. These are used to inhibit knee movement that might harm the injured joint while it is healing.
Patellofemoral braces. These are used to help the kneecap move smoothly over the knee joint.
Whether knee braces work and how well they work depends on the person and the nature of the injury. A doctor, for example, might suggest a particular type of knee brace after surgery to aid in its healing and to provide support. Another type of knee brace might be used instead of surgery to help the injured joint heal naturally. Knee braces can also be used to help with pain for knees that aren’t getting better with exercises. Always consult your physician when contemplating using a knee brace.
While some pharmacies and medical supply stores carry simple knee braces and sleeves, some people are able to order more elaborate models directly from the manufacturer or through the Internet. Your doctor will likely know of the best place to get the kind of knee brace you need.