The Benefits of a Knee Brace for Sport Injuries
Musculoskeletal injuries (disorders involving muscles, bones, tendons, blood vessels, nerves and other soft tissues) are one of the most common complaints made by patients, many of them being knee joint disorders. The knee is the largest joint in the body, and its exposed position makes it vulnerable to injury during athletic activities. Strength, flexibility and technique are important components to knee injury management; however, the use of sport knee braces are becoming more common in preventive and therapeutic rehabilitation. In this blog we will talk about the benefits of a knee brace for sport injuries.
There are various injuries that can occur to the knee joint, the most common being Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL), Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL), and Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries. If the injury is substantial enough, your doctor or medical specialist may recommend a sport knee brace for your injury. There are many benefits that come from wearing a knee brace; the biggest benefit being the support and stability the knee brace provides.
MCL injuries and LCL injuries are the most commonly seen knee joint injuries, especially in those who are involved in athletic activities. The MCL is one of the four main ligaments in the knee joint. It is located on the inside of the knee; with one end of the ligament attached to the femur (thighbone), while the other end is attached to the tibia (shinbone). Together with the LCL, which is in the same location on the outside of the knee, the MCL helps prevent the overextension of the knee joint from side-to-side.
MCL and LCL injuries are most likely to occur in those who play contact sports, like football and soccer. The injury happens when the outside of the knee is struck, causing it to unnaturally bend inward. This creates tension on the MCL and it stretches or breaks in half.
A sport knee brace such as the Breg Shortrunner knee brace, a hinged neoprene brace, can be most beneficial at providing support and stability in that side-to-side motion. The rigid medial and lateral hinges of the brace provide support and stability to help reduce the overextension of the knee joint in that side-to-side motion.
The length of the hinges is also an important factor in providing support and stability; the longer the hinge the more support to the knee. Most people will find that not only do they benefit from the support and stability of the brace with a torn MCL or LCL, but also they can also benefit from pain relief while wearing the brace. These braces are to be worn acutely, right after, injury and then preventatively when actively participating in a sport to help prevent future injury.
The ACL is the most important player in the knee joints stability. The ACL connects to the tibia and femur (see diagram above). The ACL works with the PCL (Posterior Cruciate Ligament), which crosses over it to form an “X.” Together, these two ligaments help keep the knee stable when rotating. The ACL keeps the tibia in place and prevents it from moving too far forward and away from the knee and femur.
Similar to the MCL and LCL those who play contact sport or sports that require swift, abrupt movements such as pivoting, stopping, or turning quickly, are most likely to get ACL injuries. People also can tear an ACL when they jump and land with their knees straight or “locked” instead of flexed. This puts pressure on the knee joint and causes the ACL to tear or break apart.
ACL injuries can be very painful and can lead to a lot of swelling and instability of the knee. Depending on a person’s age and the severity of the injury, a torn ACL may require surgery in addition to 6 to 12 months of rehabilitation. Many sedentary adults won’t undergo surgery and can live with a torn ACL provided they work on strengthening their muscles and wear an ACL knee brace during sport and/or activities that put their knee in a vulnerable position. Often times, young adults and adults participating in high level athletics will have to have their ACL’s repaired through surgery. Many surgeons will require the patient to wear to a Custom ACL knee brace, such as the Breg Fusion Knee Brace, post-operatively to help control the stability of the knee.
To review, the benefits of wearing a knee brace for sports injuries are:
- Provides medial and lateral support of the knee
- Reduces and prevents excessive rotation of the knee
- Provides proprioception and feedback
- Can be used to limit range of motion post-surgically
- Protects the graft post-surgically while healing
For more information about Breg Knee Braces please schedule a no obligation consultation with one of our many Certified Orthopedic Brace Specialists.
We offer knee braces in Halifax, NS ; knee braces in Dartmouth, NS ; knee braces in Fredericton, NB ; and knee braces in Saint John, NB.
To find a location nearest you please visit our Locations Page.
Carina Shortliffe, Orthopedic Bracing Specialist
Arthritis & Injury Care Centre
Olivia Northrup, Business Administration Manager
Arthritis & Injury Care Centre