Knee Brace: A friend or an enemy?

It is believed that knee braces are good to wear while in pain. This is only half truth. Knee braces are worn by many people for whole day and night and sometimes they become habituate with the same. But it is not a healthy way to cure your pain. Yes that’s true, because it is not the ultimate way to get relieved from pain. 

Knee brace should be worn for temporary purpose. And yes, regardless of your reason of knee pain. That means, whether your knee is paining due to injury or you are suffering from knee arthritis, you would be considering knee brace for short time.

Main purpose of knee brace is to provide stability to joint and to unload the joint (If you have knee osteoarthritis and structural changes). These are called Unloader or Off-loader knee braces.

If you have already an injured knee then a brace with functional support would be best suitable for you. Injured knee would make you feel pain and this can lead you to several other problems like back problem. This might be due to altered posture. Knee pain causes altered walking pattern which put your back at a task. In such case Functional Knee Braces are good for you.

Now the people, who are undergone, knee surgery after an injury, they will need Rehabilitative Knee Brace. This will help them to limit the movement at joint and this will make healing better in operated knee. 

There is also another category of knee brace, they are called Prophylactic Braces. These knee braces help the wearer to prevent injury during contact sports like football. 

Your doctor will be able to help you decide which category of the knee brace is right for your condition and circumstances.

Now let’s see the other side of the mirror. Scientifically it is proved that a kneecap after surgery for few weeks/ months will give a biofeedback to brain so that body protects the knee by muscle action and prevents reinjures. Once tissues/ ligaments have healed, kneecap or knee brace have no meaning to be worn.

Very sophisticated braces are being designed to unload the knee (unloader brace) in osteoarthritis, but no study has proved long term benefits. A knee joint takes so many forces and brunts in daily activities, that it is impossible for any brace to maintain its strength and structure for a long time. In India, most of the braces are produced not scientifically but are copied and made from economical materials so their functionality is very poor. 

A brace/ kneecap have to be a temporary phenomenon and should not be used for long term treatment of knee ligaments injuries or osteoarthritis.