In this article, the basics of knee braces will be discussed. Millions of Americans experience knee pain for many different reasons; injury, overuse, mal-alignment, and chronic inflammation from processes such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. The knee is a complex joint and many structures can be damaged with a blow or twisting of the knee. Many athletes unfortunately may experience knee injuries which include anterior cruciate ligament tears, meniscus tear, or medial collateral ligament strain/ tears. These injuries require more lateral stabilization of the knee joint with a hinged knee brace.
Another injury commonly seen in athletes or with trauma is patella dislocation. This occurs with the patella or knee cap shifting laterally disrupting the stabilizing structures on the inside or medial aspect of the patella. In this case a patella stabilizing brace is helpful.
Patellofemoral syndrome and patella tendonitis are common problems in the knee. Pain is generated from overuse of the knee and often mechanical or alignment issues in the ankle, knees, or hips puts stress on the knee joint. In some cases, the kneecap does not move, or track, in a normal way. You may have knee pain when you run, walk down hills or steps, or do another activity. Treatment options include anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen) which reduces inflammation/pain and swelling. Exercises to strengthen your thigh muscles also help support the knee joint.
Chronic knee pain in an older patient can be due to osteoarthritis of the knee which is the thinning or loss of the articular cartilage. Osteoarthritis can cause pain, swelling, instability symptoms, and stiffness. If the loss of cartilage is localized to the medial or lateral compartment of the knee; knee unloader braces may be helpful, but often a knee compression sleeve or hinged knee brace provides comfort and support.
Knee Sleeves provide basic protection and are great for mild knee pain, sprains, osteoarthritis as described above, tendonitis, cartilage irritation, and knee swelling. Knee sleeves are simple to use and put on. The come in a few general knee support forms with the open patella or knee cap, open popliteal area in back, open over the patella and popliteal area, closed in front and back, or there are knee sleeves with side stabilizers.