A knee brace for running can make the difference between continuing to enjoy running without pain or experiencing severe knee pain when you try to run. To make matters worse, continuing to be active on a damaged knee can damage your knee even more. But with our full schedules and hectic lifestyles, who has time to stop long enough to give a sore knee the care it needs to heal properly. A runners knee joint takes a beating that causes wear and tear over the lifetime of the joint making it susceptible to pain and injury. The knee is a complex joint made up of cartilage, ligaments, the meniscus, the Patella (kneecap), and various muscles and tendons in an intricate balance. Thats one reason why knee injuries are so prevalent, primarily in athletes but also in people from all walks of life. All it takes is a fall or a misstep that twist the knee to injure one or more of its parts. The fact that there are so many different parts of the knee that can be injured are also the reason why its important to choose the right knee brace for running.
The Right Knee Brace for Running
A knee brace for running provides stability and support to protect the knee during physical activity. The different parts of the knee have different functions and the member or members that are injured, sore, or painful dictate which type of knee brace for running. There are four basic types of knee injuries along with Osteoarthritis listed below.
Ligament Sprains Can cause instability in the knee
Patellar Tendinitis Inflammation of the tendon that runs from the bottom of the patella to the shinbone (Tibia).
Patellofemoral Pain Pain at the front of the knee with the patella at the center.
Patella Dislocation Causes pain in the front of the knee when the kneecap comes partly out of its groove (subluxation) or when it comes completely out of the groove (dislocation).
Osteoarthritis A chronic joint disease that manifests through pain, swelling, and stiffness when the ends of the bones in the knee joint deteriorate.
Types of Knee Braces
Some medical professionals and orthotic manufacturers categorize knee braces for running according to specific knee injuries. Four of these categories are listed below.
1. Prophylactic (sleeves)
Prophylactic knee sleeves – Are slip on devices generally used for knee pain. Theyre usually made from a soft fabric (neoprene) and provide compression. Their benefits include providing warmth to the area, compression, and enhancing balance. They may effectively treat conditions like patella dislocation, patella subluxation, and abnormal Patellofemoral movement. They do not support any of the knees ligament structures.
Rehabilitative Braces Protects ligaments and limits the range of motion the knee after severe injury
Functional Braces – Used to give stability and/or protection to the anterior cruciate ligament and other knee ligaments after repairs, reconstructions, or injury.
Unloader/Offloader Braces – Used to provide pain relief in osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. It reduces pressure in the degenerative area by redirecting forces to other areas of the knee that reduces pain and improves knee function.
The Rehabilitative, Functional, and Unloader/Offloader braces are made of a metal or plastic composite and hinges that run vertically along the inside and outside of the knee. They can be purchased off the shelf or custom made.
Rehabilitative Functional Onloader/Offloader
Professional Help with Knee Braces for Running
When you consider the complexity of the knee joint and the different types of braces to treat injuries, you can see how important it is to get the right knee brace for running. Choosing the wrong brace can make your injury worse or put you in a position to get an entirely new injury. Prosthetist and Orthotist are orthopedic specialist that work together to diagnose and treat knee injuries like the ones described above. They can build a customized brace for you or help you find the right one to help with your injury and/or rehab. Dont wait to get professional medical advice to help you get the right knee brace for running.
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