What Are Knee Braces?

imgA knee brace (aka orthosis) is a brace that supports the knee which is weakened or suffering from some type of injury or disease. The terms Brace and Orthosis are synonymous – they mean the same thing. Something like a knee brace often helps to keep the knee from pain or further injury by stabilizing or immobilizing the leg which provides more support  and helps the person control their leg motion better. Often a good knee brace can help someone move around and walk with less pain.


A knee orthosis or knee brace is a brace that extends above and below the knee and is usually worn to support or align the knee. A knee brace helps stabilize the knee and can help realign a knee joint. There’s a lot of different reasons why someone might need and benefit from a knee brace. A person might have a recent knee injury that needs them to wear a brace until they heal up. Other people who have are experiencing a more permanent type of injury or arthritis can benefit from a knee brace. When used properly, a knee brace may help an individual live a more normal live by staying more mobile and active because the knee brace can help them walk longer with a reduced level of pain. In fact, many athletes have been known to wear various types of braces to give them support and protection even when they are participating in physically demanding sports. Many braces are used for rehabilitation purposes and often come with some additional therapies to help the health or condition of the tendons and muscles that might need strengthening.

The knee is a complex part of your body with a lot of moving parts. For someone with arthritis, which typically applies to older people, a knee brace can make life a whole lot better. Of course a lot of folks have been turning to knee surgery with knee replacement surgery skyrocketing in popularity. A number of doctors say that hip replacement surgery works very well in reducing pain but knee replacement surgery is more hit and miss. Nonetheless between 1979 and 2002, knee replacement surgery rose 800 percent among people 65 and older. Most people will experience a knee, hip or shoulder joint wearing out when you get into your 60′s. For many older people discover that at the same time their knee joints are wearing out they are also less prone to exercise and are carrying added body weight. So now they have a sore knee that is also being asked to bear more weight which only aggravates the situation. Throw in the fact that artificial joints usually last 10 to 15 years and most people think that delaying knee surgery is a smart way to go. Maybe one of the first things that people should do is try to lose weight. Couple that with doing some leg exercises to build up the leg muscles that can help support you and you’re on the right track to helping yourself out. Once again, if you talk to a professional in knee orthosis or braces they can often find a product that can help extend the life of your knee joint which is the best way to go for many people. By bracing an arthritic knee with something like an unloader brace that can help shift the stress away from the damaged part of the joint a person can often reduce pain and postpone the time when they might need to go to surgery.

There are a wide variety of knee braces. There are knee sleeves, hinged knee braces, functional knee braces, post op knee braces and unloader knee braces among others. Braces can use a wide variety of materials including: metal, plastic, rubber, cloth and advanced lightweight materials. There are off the shelf versions and highly advanced, custom fitted braces that only can be provided by an expert in the field. Some braces are flexible, some are partially flexible, some are completely rigid but a professional in othosis can help you make the best selection of braces.

When you meet with a knee brace company with experts that can help you with selecting the best knee brace or product for your needs. They have years of experience dealing with patients that have similar types of problems and can often make recommendations that you can be confident in. Just keep in mind that if you have a serious injury or disease a knee brace may not provide a totally pain free solution but should provide you with some level of benefit and comfort. Of course if you have more questions you should talk to your doctor who can more thoroughly diagnose your problems.