If you ever deal with heavy hiking or sports then knee injuries are very familiar to you. Or you may be thinking about how athletes save their knees from the pain. In both situations, the answer is one and that is the knee braces. Wait, the matter isn’t finished yet. Braces have disadvantages too. Knee brace pros and cons, both can be your receiving service. But that doesn’t mean you can’t skip the cons.
All right. Now, this article will cover all the facts related advantages and disadvantages of using knee support with solid guides. So, keep reading and scroll below.
What Are Knee Braces?
Knee braces are both protectors and preventers of knee injuries or pain by providing extra support to joints.
Those are usually made of a combination of different materials. Plastics, elastics, straps, foam, and so on materials added here more stability. And they are available in different designs and types.
Those braces are generally used for purpose of hiking, trekking, or other sports to keep a distance from knee hurt.
Different Types of Knee Braces
Different types of leg braces are found for different situations but the purpose is one. Let’s know the major types of that.
They are classified into four categories. And they are-
1. Functional Brace: When you are in the stage of recovery from knee injuries or just got the injuries (because of sports or outdoor activities), then to support your knee damage functional braces are used. This type also worked effectively for ACL injury support.
2. Prophylactic Braces: To protect your knee from serious injuries like MCL or others during hard sports or activities (hiking), prophylactic braces work as a safety guard. They are best for hard athletes or hikers to support huge stress for preventing ligament injury.
3. Rehabilitative Braces: After the falling injury, to limit the unnecessary movements of the injured knee, rehabilitative braces are used. Rehabilitative is made with the mixing of foam and metal. They do the task to keep knees or ligaments in a fixed position without risky movements.
4. Unloader Braces: Unloader braces are built with foam, plastic, and metal which is usually used for people having osteoarthritis. They take the harmful stress from the hurt area and keep it safe.
Knee Brace Pros
A knee support can be beneficial and effective for the security of knee joints. Wearing those can ensure your safety during hiking or other activities. Let’s see, what are the advantages of braces that we can get?
1. Pain Reducer for Injured Knees
One of the main benefits of braces is to reduce the pain in the hurt area. Whether you got knee injuries from daily activities or sports, wearing those can be more beneficial for you. Those braces are designed with the structure to decrease the amount of pressure on your knee area and ensure pain-free movements. So, using these you will get the best support for your hurt area and also pain reliever as well as quick recovery.
2. Prevention for Knee Injury
An accident can happen at any time. Especially if you are a hard sportsman or love long hiking then there has a much chance for leg injuries. So, how it will be if you find easy prevention of that problem? Yeah, knee braces properly work for that. Whenever you will go for a sport (baseball, hockey, or else) outdoors, just wear it properly with your legs. And then it will protect you from any kind of unwanted step or position that can occur knee problems. Prophylactic is the type to work as good prevention braces.
3. Good for Arthritis and Ligaments Problem
Putting on braces is very helpful for many ligaments or knee-related problems. For Arthritis, those can provide great support in the wounded area. Unloader plays an important role in that term. Kneecap also finds comfortable and pain-free support from them. Like Achilles injury after the hiking, wearing those can be helpful.
Again, ligaments or leg muscles can be damaged for many reasons and an ideal brace can protect you from those undesirable injuries. Furthermore, after surgery of ACL, a brace is worked for fast recovery, and even using this is recommended by the doctor.
4. Warm-Up Guard
Everyone needs to do a warm-up or light exercise in their daily life. Though those processes are not so hard, they can occur a huge impact on the joint parts of the leg. So, for a comfortable and injury-free warm-up, one needs a protector, and where braces are presented to offer you great protection for your legs. They reduce stress and maintain an ideal balance while you are on knee exercise or light movement. And thus, they work as knee protectors in your activities.
5. Dislocation-Free Movements and Walking
The brace offers you posture movements and walking. It will provide great stability and help to keep your body in the right posture. And that can be pros for your injuries or keep a distance from injuries. Those braces keep your leg from dislocation by decreasing stress on the muscles or ligaments. Also during walking, your injured hasn’t taken any extra load by wearing those.
So, for easy and injury-free movements, hiking, or walking, the brace will play its role perfectly.
6. Easy and Comfortable
Those wear are not only good as support but also provide easy operating and comfortable feeling. Those are easy to wear and bear. And, very lightweight too. You don’t seem to wear anything with your leg during activities. They are designed with a well-fitting capacity. Again, they are made with a mixture of excellent materials like foam, plastic, and so on. So, from there you will get better stability with comfortable movements.
7. Cost Friendly
Cost friendly is another pros point to using a brace. Those knee support are very cheap. You don’t need to invest so many bucks. Additionally, good availability is also added here. You can easily get them. So, taking them in your hiking gear list or other sports will be a worthwhile thing.
Knee Brace Cons
Think both sides. The limitations of braces exist here too. The cons and facts that you may face are given below.
1. Poor in Hot Conditions
In summer or any hot condition, it might create heat on your leg. As a result, sweating can happen. Furthermore, you can suffer from skin irritation or other skin-related problem like swelling. And those things will make you uncomfortable on your way.
2. Problems with Activity
No doubt braces are effective wear to support the knee. But they also come with some limitations during your activities.
While you will in running sports, with bad fitting support you may face bad speed and also uncomfortable movements. Again, as some braces are made with metal, during running you can injure others by collision with the metal part of your braces.
During hiking, sometimes it may seem irritating or extra load with your leg while exploring the adventurous trail.
3. Not Suitable for Long Uses
For a long time uses those aren’t perfect. If you long hike or trekking, then you need to get long knee support. But in those terms, braces aren’t a good option. Wearing it for a long time can cause uncomfortable walking, muscle atrophy, swelling, and so on side effects.
As nothing is completely perfect, you need to cope with the knee brace’s pros and cons. And recent times the use of braces is increased largely for their great contribution to different circumstances. So, you just need to ensure your benefits parts and follow the path to avoid the disadvantages.
Hope you understand the topic well. For any queries don’t hesitate to hit the comment box. So, stay safe and move on your way.
Frequently asked questions
Should you hike with a knee brace?
Whether or not you should hike with a knee brace depends on several factors, including your medical history and the reason you need the brace. Here are some things to consider:
- Injury or pain: If you have a knee injury or chronic knee pain, a knee brace can help provide stability and support to the knee joint, reducing your risk of further injury or exacerbating existing pain.
- Prevention: If you have a history of knee injuries or are prone to knee pain, wearing a knee brace while hiking can help prevent injury and alleviate discomfort.
- Comfort: Some knee braces can be uncomfortable and restrictive, so it’s essential to choose a brace that fits well and allows for full range of motion.
- Medical advice: If you’re unsure whether or not to hike with a knee brace, it’s always best to consult with your doctor or a physical therapist for personalized advice.
What is hikers knee?
Hiker’s knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome (PFPS), is a common knee injury that affects hikers and other people who engage in physical activity that puts repetitive stress on the knee joint. The condition is characterized by pain in the front of the knee, near the knee cap (patella). This pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including overuse, weak muscles, improper technique, and structural issues such as flat feet or misaligned knees.
Symptoms of hiker’s knee can include:
- Pain in the front of the knee, especially when going up or down stairs, squatting, or sitting with bent knees for extended periods
- Aching or burning sensation in the knee
- Stiffness or tenderness in the knee joint
- Pop or snap when moving the knee
Treatment for hiker’s knee typically involves rest, ice, and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles around the knee joint. In severe cases, surgery may be required. Preventing hiker’s knee involves taking proper care of your knees during physical activity, including stretching before hiking, wearing proper footwear, and avoiding overuse.
What helps knee pain when hiking?
Here are some things that can help relieve knee pain when hiking:
- Rest: Taking a break from hiking and allowing the knee to recover can be an effective way to manage knee pain. This can involve reducing the frequency or intensity of your hikes or taking a complete break from hiking for a period of time.
- Ice: Applying ice to the knee for 15-20 minutes at a time can help reduce pain and swelling. Wrap a cold pack or bag of ice in a towel to protect your skin.
- Anti-inflammatory medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and naproxen can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises: Stretching and strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee can help improve joint stability and reduce the risk of further injury. A physical therapist can provide personalized exercises to help alleviate knee pain.
- Knee braces or supports: Wearing a knee brace or support can help provide stability and reduce the stress on the knee joint during physical activity.
- Proper footwear: Wearing supportive and well-cushioned hiking shoes can help reduce the stress on your knees and alleviate pain.
- Modifying your hiking technique: Making changes to your hiking technique, such as avoiding uneven terrain, can help reduce the stress on your knees and prevent pain.
It’s important to keep in mind that these tips are general recommendations and may not be appropriate for everyone. If you are experiencing persistent knee pain, it’s best to consult with a doctor or physical therapist for a proper evaluation and personalized treatment plan.
Can a knee brace do more harm than good?
While knee braces can be effective in providing support and reducing pain for some people, they can also potentially cause more harm than good in some cases. Here are a few reasons why:
- Improper fit: If a knee brace does not fit properly, it can cause discomfort and even increase the risk of injury by restricting movement or causing chafing.
- Over-reliance: Wearing a knee brace can lead to a false sense of security and cause people to engage in physical activity that is beyond their current capabilities. This can result in further injury.
- Muscle weakness: If a knee brace is worn for an extended period of time, it can lead to muscle weakness and decreased joint stability as the muscles around the knee joint become reliant on the brace for support.
- Delayed healing: By relying on a knee brace for support, people may delay the healing process and prolong the recovery time.
- Inappropriate use: Wearing a knee brace for the wrong type of injury or using the wrong type of brace can actually exacerbate the problem and cause further harm.
It’s important to remember that knee braces should be used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, and not as a sole solution for knee pain. Consulting with a doctor or physical therapist is the best way to determine whether a knee brace is appropriate for your individual needs, and to ensure that it is used correctly.
How do I know if I need a knee brace?
Determining whether you need a knee brace depends on the specific condition or injury you’re experiencing. Knee braces are often used for support, protection, and to reduce pain or swelling. Some common conditions that may require the use of a knee brace include ligament sprains or tears, meniscus tears, knee instability, and arthritis.
If you’re experiencing knee pain, swelling, or instability, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional who can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options. Your healthcare provider may recommend using a knee brace as part of your treatment plan.
When choosing a knee brace, it’s important to consider the type of activity you’ll be engaging in and the level of support needed. Some knee braces are designed for specific activities, such as running or basketball, while others are more general purpose. Knee braces can vary in terms of level of support, ranging from mild to moderate to strong support.
In general, knee braces can provide additional support and stability to the knee joint, but they should not be relied upon as a sole treatment option. It’s important to work with your healthcare provider to determine if a knee brace is appropriate for your specific condition and to develop a comprehensive treatment plan to address the underlying issue.