If you have been living and breathing for more than a minute, chances are you know someone who has experienced some type of knee injury in their lifetime. Perhaps you even find yourself in this unfortunate predicament currently. Knee injuries are a pain—both physically, and figuratively concerning the amount of headaches you can go through trying to navigate through all of the logistical constraints of things you can’t do or have to be careful of during your time of recovery and rehabilitation.
In this article, we will take into consideration both knee injuries that do and do not require surgery, and we’ll guide you through the usual tracks for knee brace use during rehabilitation. No doubt, there’s a good likelihood you’ll be using some kind of a knee brace or support at some point in the recovery process, so it’s important to know what kind of braces are out there and how to use them.
Let’s take a look at the common phase path following knee injury:
Phase 1: Consult Your Physician!
Severe or persistent knee pain signifies an injury or major dysfunction in your knee or surrounding area. Knee injuries are much more serious than say, rolling your ankle, which you may be able to walk off over the course of the day to reach full recovery. For this reason, it is extremely important to consult your physician and undergo a thorough evaluation.
Only licensed physicians and physical therapists can make a formal diagnosis and proper plan of treatment for your specific knee injury or dysfunction, so you should always follow the advice and plan of treatment from your physician above all else.
Phase 2: Understand Your Rehabilitation Track
What matters most here is YOU and your well-being; in this case it is that of your knee and how you can make a full and efficient recovery so you can get back to the things you enjoy doing most. For this reason, we must take a moment to urge that frequent communication with your physical therapist is key. In most cases, your physician will refer you to a licensed physical therapist who specializes in recovery and rehabilitation.
Ask lots of questions. Repeat what the doc told you back to the doc to confirm you understand everything properly. Do your research. Understand the cause and the solution. Most importantly, keep your chin up and follow up frequently: knee issues often require multiple appointments, so don’t let it your recovery fall to the wayside!
Always err on the side of caution, especially in the beginning. Your knees absorb a significant amount of the impact of your body weight while you are moving around during the day, so don’t overdo it - especially if you haven’t made it to your first medical appointment yet.
Phase 3: Heavy Duty Full-Function Knee Brace (if necessary)
These braces are the first step for many, and will often be the only brace that your doctor or therapist will consult with you on. Heavy duty full-function knee braces have steel or metal support bars and are mechanically adjustable to limit the range of motion of the knee joint.
If you have to undergo surgery, chances are you will be wearing one of these post-op. These work for maximum protection and only provide you with limited mobility during the recovery; you should ONLY wear one of these if prescribed by a doctor. These braces will also be provided to you by the medical facility directly.
Phase 4: Medium Duty Open Patella Brace
Medium duty open patella knee braces, such as this one here, may be either the first or second brace you wear on your path to full recovery. This all depends on the extent of your injury, and will be determined by your doc or therapist. Typically, you should start using an open patella brace after your doctor has cleared you to stop using a heavy duty full-function metal brace, or if the doc has determined that a heavy duty brace is not necessary for your case.
Click here to view the nation’s leading and best open patella knee brace. This brace will allow you to get back to moving around with full mobility, while still providing advanced support that will directly assist in the rehabilitation process and get you back to 100%.
Phase 5: Knee Support Sleeves
Once you are fully healed (or as close as you can get) - it’s time to move to using knee support sleeves as a preventative measure. Knee sleeves are the lightest category of support; they are not even considered a full brace. These sleeves will allow you to resume full physical activity while providing support that condones an injury-free training environment. For your convenience, we have also created a full article on knee sleeves and how they work, which you can view here!