When you’re out and about in a park, city, or gym, chances are you’ve seen someone wearing a knee brace while they run or work out. What exactly do these braces do though?

What is a Knee Brace?

Knee braces are a kind of orthopedic posture support item that helps keep the knee in place during use. Like wrist braces, knee braces keep the joints in a comfortable position during both rest and exercise. Many knee braces are worn either under loose clothing or over tighter pants like leggings, and they are made of a sturdy fabric with plastic padding around the knee. This padding helps prevent damage from a collision. Knee braces can also be made from metal, fiberglass, foam, and elastic materials as well.

Different Kinds of Knee Braces

There are four main types of knee brace, and each brace looks different depending on its use. The four types of braces are:

  • Functional Braces give support to knees that are already injured.
  • Rehabilitative Braces, limit knee movement to prevent damage after injury or operation.
  • Prophylactic Braces protect the knees from damage during sports and other intense activity.
  • Patellofemoral Braces are used to help the kneecap move smoothly over the knee joint.

What are Knee Braces Used for?

Knee braces are worn for all kinds of medical conditions and situations, although their purposes may differ depending on the kind of brace. For example, braces meant to immobilize the knee are most often used as a splint after surgery or a major knee injury. A hinged knee brace is best used when someone is recovering from minor sprains. Hinged braces are also great for helping users maintain stability.

Chronic conditions that might warrant a knee brace are common as well, especially among older people. These conditions include Rheumatoid Arthritis, Jumper’s Knee, Osgood-Schlatter Disease, and Patellar Tendonitis.

Wearing a Knee Brace

Most knee braces are worn similarly, or at least have similar steps to putting them on. To put on a knee brace, first, roll up your pant leg, and line the center of the kneecap piece with your kneecap. Then, you can wrap the straps around the brace to attach it. Always make sure that you can fit two fingers in between your brace and your leg, so you can avoid cutting off circulation.

To prevent a knee brace from slipping, you can wear clothing over it, but baggy pants or shorts are typically the best options for knee braces since they provide room for the brace to do its job while you move around. When you’re able, remove the brace to rest your leg, and avoid getting the brace itself wet. To clean a knee brace, dampen a washcloth with soapy water and rub at the dirtied areas in gentle motions.

To browse knee braces and other orthopedic items, visit Medical Supply Depot.

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