Due to the significant cost of knee braces, with some costing over a thousand dollars, there are a number of important considerations that need to be made before heading out and purchasing one. Although the benefits of these novel inventions cannot really be debated, they are not suitable for all knee injuries. Knee braces are also anything but one size fits all, coming in a wide range of different styles, each designed to solve specific problems. Therefore before heading online and ordering an expensive knee brace, make sure that you answer the following questions correctly first.
Can You Actually Benefit from a Knee Brace?
The first question, and probably the most important, is why exactly do you want a knee brace? If you are looking for an alternative to knee surgery, you will unfortunately have to look elsewhere. There are three scenarios however, in which knee braces can be highly effective.
If you are a fan of playing contact sports or other sports that tend to stress the knees, a knee brace can greatly reduce the chances of you sustaining a knee injury. They are very popular with both football players and those who enjoy hurtling down mountains on skis.
As well as being used by sports fans to prevent injuries, they can also play an integral part in the treatment of knee injuries that have already occurred. Although, they certainly cannot take the place of knee surgery, they can greatly reduce the pain that is experienced by those recovering from it.
Another group of people that can greatly benefit from knee braces are those who have had knee injuries in the past and who find themselves avoiding any and all activities that place pressure on the knee. Wearing a knee brace not only supports the knee, it also enables people not to worry so much about what their knee can handle.
What Type of Knee Brace Should You Purchase?
Although the only way to be sure that you are purchasing the right type of knee brace for you is to consult your doctor, I will now outline the four main types of knee braces and what they are generally used for.
Prophylactic braces are the simplest type of knee braces on the market and should be your first choice if you are looking for a brace to support your knee during sports activities. Although there are a number of different types on the market, the most popular ones are made from neoprene. They primarily perform two functions, the first being to protect the knee in the case of a hard hit or fall and the second, to reduce the ability of the knee to rotate out of place.
Functional knee braces on the other hand are primarily made out of elastic and are designed to be used, not in sports, but by those who have suffered minor knee injuries in the past. They have also grown pretty popular as a means of reducing pain in those suffering from arthritis. They are known to reduce both knee rotation and the risk of hyper-extension. They are also effective in increasing both agility and stability in the knee area. Although, there are many expensive versions, some can be found for as little as thirty dollars in high street pharmacies.
Rehabilitation braces on the other hand are designed for people who are recovering from knee surgery. They are generally the largest type of knee braces that you can purchase and are designed primarily to limit the amount of movement possible in the knee. Such knee braces are capable of reducing both medial and lateral movement and in doing so, can greatly quicken the healing process. Although, not their primary application, they are also occasionally used to reduce the pain in those who have suffered severe knee injuries.
Unloader braces, as the name suggests, are knee braces that are designed to take the pressure off of peoples knees while they are standing and/or walking. They are often given to people who have just undergone knee surgery as well as to those who are waiting to undergo it. They have also proven highly beneficial for those suffering from particularly painful knee problems such as severe arthritis and incorrect alignment.
How Much Should You Pay?
The cost of knee braces range from twenty dollars, for the simple elastic versions that can be purchased at most pharmacies, to those that need to be purchased online for up to a thousand dollars.
A common mistake made by those purchasing knee braces is to assume that the more money they spend, the more effective the brace they receive will be at treating their pain. Unfortunately, this is not at all the case. The likely effectiveness of a particular type of brace can only be accurately judged by consulting with a medical professional.
It’s also worth noting that before purchasing any knee brace, you should contact your health insurance provider. Although not all health insurance providers will cover the cost of a knee brace, there are many that do. They may however, place restrictions upon the specific type that you can buy. It is therefore essential to contact them before you make your purchase, rather than after.