Finding the Perfect Fit Knee Brace for Walking
Finding the Perfect Fit Knee Brace for Walking
With increasing access to products and a growing marketplace for durable medical equipment, it can be challenging to know what type of knee brace offers the best fit for your unique condition. Knee braces come in a variety of sizes and shapes and can range in price from single digits to thousands of dollars. So where do you begin when searching for the best knee brace for walking? Today we’re breaking down general use recommendations, proper application, and the most popular types of knee braces to help you make the most informed buying decision.
What is a knee brace?
Knee braces are specialized supports used to improve pain or stability of the knee joint. While most are worn following an injury, some people may use them to prevent knee injuries in contact sports. Typically these braces are made of a combination of metal, plastic, elastic, and foam components and are designed to provide support and stabilization to varying locations in and around the knee.
How do I use a knee brace?
Knee braces are worn according to the specified product instructions alongside directions from your physician or medical team. Some braces can be worn full-time, while others may only be required during weight-bearing or athletic activities. With all braces, proper positioning is the most important factor to ensure that the device’s hinges or supports line up with the natural anatomy of the joint.
Primary Types of Knee Braces
With so many knee braces on the market, it can be challenging to know where to start when finding the perfect fit for your condition. Different braces are made for varying therapeutic purposes with most products falling into one of the following categories.
Prophylactic knee braces
Prophylactic knee braces are primarily used by athletes to minimize the risk of ligamentous injuries in contact sports. Most are designed to protect the medial collateral ligament or MCL against valgus forces and can be worn by uninjured individuals looking to prevent injury or by previously injured individuals looking to prevent re-injury.
Functional knee braces
Functional knee braces are applied after a ligamentous injury and/or associated surgery. They function to stabilize the knee against excessive rotational forces and are often used during the later rehabilitative stages of ACL recovery.
Rehabilitative knee braces also known as hinged or ROM braces are applied post-operatively to control or limit specific ranges of motion. They are used for a few weeks to a few months after an injury or surgery and promote stabilization with lateral supports and protected range of motion through incorporated incremental controls.
Patellofemoral braces are used to reduce anterior knee pain and enhance the alignment of the knee cap. Depending on the individual’s condition and the specific design of the brace, they can minimize instability of the knee cap and improve overall tracking within the trochlear groove.
Offloader or unloader braces are used to reduce weight bearing through the knee joint. They can be used for individuals who have osteoarthritis or those looking to limit lower extremity weight-bearing secondary to a fracture, surgery or other lower limb injury. Their designs vary but most use specialized supports to safely transfer load past the knee to the thigh or proximal hip. The Freedom Leg is considered an offloader brace and allows for the full unloading of an injured limb while maintaining functional use of the upper extremities.
The most important factors to consider when purchasing a knee brace
Size: An ill-fitting knee brace can, in many cases, do more harm than help. Proper alignment is essential to ensure that appropriate offloading and/or force redirection can occur.
Material: When looking for a knee brace, you will want both durability and breathability. Anti-slip materials are beneficial to limit brace movement during activity and adjustable straps are helpful to ensure appropriate fit with varying clothing, swelling levels, and body mass fluctuations.
Level of support: Perhaps the most important feature is the level of support desired. For those looking to fully offload a joint, a high degree of stability will be required whereas others may find relief from a simple knee compression sleeve.
The bottom line, there are a variety of factors to consider when choosing the most appropriate knee brace for walking. With the help of the right brace, you can get back to living and enjoy the pain-free, active lifestyle you deserve.
Should I wear a knee brace for walking?
Knee braces can be worn while walking if pain, instability, or weight bearing are of concern. If knee buckling is an issue, a supportive brace can help reduce this occurrence and prevent more significant injuries. Individuals with many conditions including osteoarthritis, patellofemoral syndrome, IT band syndrome, and pes anserine bursitis turn to braces to offload various portions of the knee giving them pain relief while on the go. Note that regardless of application, bracing is only a piece of the puzzle and should be combined with a comprehensive rehab program and medical management to address both the symptoms and the cause of your issue.
Best knee support for walking
Besides pain management and stabilization, certain knee braces can be used to fully offload an injured limb. Either secondary to severe pain or after an ankle, knee or hip injury or surgery, non-weight-bearing may be advised to protect the limb from additional damage and reduce inflammation and loading during the healing process. The Freedom Leg Brace does just that, using state-of-the-art technology and durable materials to transfer forces from the ground past the injured knee and up to the proximal thigh. This effective redistribution of load allows you to continue “walking” without crutches or a cane all while keeping your injured limb fully offloaded.
With thousands of knee braces on the market today, it can be overwhelming to find the perfect fit. However, when it comes to the most effective offloading brace, the Freedom Leg is hands down the best knee brace on the market today. Whether you’re suffering from end-stage arthritis and can’t tolerate weight bearing or recently had an athletic injury that warrants non-weight-bearing, the Freedom Leg gives you both the knee protection and offloading you need to carry on with an active lifestyle. Leaving the upper extremities free, you can complete day-to-day tasks without worrying about crutches and can reinforce a normal walking pattern from day one of the healing process.
Tired of your injury holding you back from living your life? Find the perfect fit and get back to living with the Freedom Leg.
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"Family Physician, had to have both of his feet repaired and found Freedom Leg very helpful, allowing him freedom to continue particing medicine and even running his snow blower"
"Broke his ankle and had to have surgery. The surgeons put screws in his ankle and told him not to put weight on it for 90 days. He was prescibed crutches. Fortunately he discoved Freedom Leg while looking for alternatives on the internet and was able to walk again without difficulty"