By Calvin Sim, Principal Sports Physiotherapist, Back2Sports
There are more than 10 different types of knee supports on the market at present. Which one should you get? That decision depends on two major type factors:
- Type of injury
- Type of sport that knee support is required for
A knee support should not be for long-term daily wear as this will weaken knee muscles, making one very dependent on the support. Knee support should be used as a temporary measure to manage your knee discomfort until professional advice is sought. The best way to manage your knee discomfort is to see your physiotherapist for prescribed exercises that would be beneficial for you and to strengthen your knee
Here is a simple guide to five of the more common types of knee supports.
Closed Patellar Knee Support
This knee support is generally used to help control slight swelling of the knee and can also be used for jogging or brisk walking. Commonly used with knee pain that is difficult to isolate the area of pain. However, due to the closed nature of this knee support, it is not recommended for daily use if you’ve got to climb stairs or squatting. This is because it would compress your knee cap (Patellar bone) against your thigh bone when your knee is bent more than 45o thus increasing the risk of degeneration of the knee cap and increasing your pain.
Open Patellar Knee Support
Similar indication to the closed patellar knee support but this can be used for daily use as it doesn’t compress your knee cap. Recommended for people who have pain behind their knee cap with difficulty climbing stairs or squatting.
Hinged Knee Support
Generally prescribe by orthopedic surgeons or sports physicians for athletes with ligament damage that has been repaired to increase stability and to protect the ligament. This is the ONLY type of support that should be worn every waking hour until advised to remove either by your surgeon or physiotherapist. This support however is not allowed for most sports due to the metal parts of the support.
Adjustable Stabilizing Knee Support
This type of knee support would be suitable for sports if there is no metal support. Normally recommended for athletes who have recovered from ligament injuries and are just starting to go back to sports but still have a slight fear. Gives athletes a fair amount of support.
Patellar tendon support
Commonly for people who complain of pain over the patellar tendon on running or jumping. Purpose of this support is to compress the patellar tendon to dissipate the strain to across the whole tendon and thus decreases pain.