Short guide- Knee braces for arthritis

The most dominant type of arthritis and a common cause of disability worldwide is osteoarthritis (OA). It is a degenerative joint disease that is characterized by joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. It is caused due to the breakdown and loss of cartilage in the joints over time. Cartilage is the tissue that protects and shields the bone in the joints. 

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When bones start to rub one against the other, the friction damages the tissue and underlying bone. Thus, causing the symptoms of swelling and joint pain. While most joints can be affected by OA, it occurs most frequently in the knees, hips, and hands. 

If you got injured in the knee for some particular reason, then you're in the right place. Because this article will tell you all, you need to know about your knee injury and how to select the right knee brace for treating it.

Symptoms of Knee Osteoarthritis (OA)

People who've had a previous knee injury to a ligament or meniscus can be prone to getting knee OA. In advanced stages of knee OA, people may experience difficulty performing everyday activities and walking. Some symptoms of knee OA include;

  • Pain during and after activities that worsens towards the end of the day. It is eventually leading to pain during periods of inactivity or while at rest.

  • limited range of motion i-e difficulty moving the knee forward or backward, usually

  • stiffness, especially in the first hour after rising

  • swollen or enlarged knee due to fluid build-up and bone damage

  • A sensation of grinding and sharp pain when moving the knee.

These symptoms can vary from minor to severe. While there's no potential cure for OA, you can still treat it via some form of pain relievers, an anti-inflammatory drug, physical therapy, and knee braces that can help reduce symptoms. Knee braces are recommended for joint stabilization, knee alignment correction, and pain relief in most cases.

Guide on choosing the best knee braces for arthritis

Many of us don't even think about getting a knee brace until we need to get one. Then we either go to the store or online to look for one. And bam, you get all these different selections to pick from. Your brain instantly stops working as you scroll through the webpage. If you're wondering how to choose the best one, don't worry; we've got your back. After reading this, you'd know what you need for whatever you got going on. Whether it be arthritis or you've tweaked your knee for some reason. So, we will go over the pros and cons of each product, so you know what you need.

Photo by JoyFit  from Amazon

Some of the most common knee products that you may find in any store include knee straps, knee sleeves, a Wraparound knee brace, and a Hinged knee brace.

Knee Straps

The first one is the jumper's knee strap. It's primarily used for patellar tendonitis or jumper's knee. It's effective in scenarios where knee pain is a minor problem, especially on the inferior portion i-e the bottom of the patella.

Photo by Serveuttam from Amazon

Its pros are adjustable, mobile, easy to clean, and low on a budget (under $15). However, the con of it is that it doesn't give you more stability than just a little bit of compression under the patella.

Knee Sleeves

Knee sleeves usually come in three different forms, i.e., a basic one, a medicated one, and a significant compression one. Medicated knee sleeve has a medication present in the sleeve itself like a topical. Knee Sleeve braces come in a wide range of colors. Generally, knee sleeves are people's go-to thing to get since it's under $15 generally. However, it's not super practical as it doesn't give you a ton of lockdown.

Photo by Boldfit from Amazon

Additionally, it's not very stable as it doesn't stop your patella from moving at all, regardless of its compression. The only situation that it may or may not help would be swelling. But even then, it is not the best solution for your knee problem.

Wrap around Knee Brace

Wrap around knee braces are considered to be all-rounders as they're versatile. They're restrictive to the point of giving stability but not to the point where you can't move. Most people who've general knee pain wear this. Sometimes, people with arthritis who've tweaked their knee a little bit go for wraparound braces. Comparatively, they're easy to wear, easy to clean, more durable, and under $25. 

However, the drawback is that sometimes they work a little too well to the point where it'll mask a particular problem. But because you wear this, it becomes less, so you end up putting off going to see a medical professional. Resultantly, you're getting more and more damage. Another downside is that these tend to be a little hotter because the material tends to be thicker than the products mentioned above. Unless you're getting an open back knee brace, in which case you'll be sacrificing some stability.

Hinged Knee Brace

You will only want to look for these if you're looking for maximum stability. So, in cases of patellar dislocation or an immense strain, these heavy-duty hinged knee braces are your solution. Their material is a lot thicker; therefore, they'll provide a ton of support from both medial-lateral and anterior, posterior i-e side to side and backward and forwards. All in all, they offer an excellent lockdown. However, it comes at the cost of mobility. Some players use it for impact protection. These tend to be pretty hot because of how heavy the material is. They're not super easy to put on. Nevertheless, they're good where maximum stability is needed.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, by now, you'll have a little bit better of an understanding of what knee brace could work for you. If you have a minor or a moderate problem, a quick summary will go with the wraparound brace. There are premium options in wraparounds as well that provide extra medial or lateral support. However, if it's more serious, your best bet is probably to go with a hinged brace. And if you're dealing with some jumper's knee or patellar tendonitis, you might want to consider a knee strap. Knee sleeves aren't a good choice unless you're trying to be fashionable. Lastly, nothing should be used without consulting medical professionals.

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