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Different Types of ACL Knee Braces and How They Work


According to the NIH, Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injuries affect as many as 250,000 people in the United States every year.  A tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament is one of the most common ACL injuries.  Typically, this injury occurs in the physically active population.  Soccer, basketball, football players and others who participate in high-intensity sports have an increased risk for ACL injuries.

ACL tears may need surgical treatment to reconstruct the torn ligament and restore normal knee function. Many clinicians prescribe a knee brace after ACL reconstruction surgery. Some people wear knee braces to prevent injury during high-intensity sports. In this article, we'll look at different types of ACL knee braces, how they work to treat/prevent ACL injuries, and how to choose the right ACL brace with your doctor for your knee pain. 

Elite Medical Knee (2)

Different Types of ACL Braces

An ACL knee brace is an external device designed to be worn for a painful or injured knee. You can also wear knee braces to prevent knee injuries such as ACL. Knee braces are constructed from a combination of elastic materials, plastic, foam, metal, and straps. There are several types of ACL knee supports, and they all come in a variety of sizes, designs, and colors. Here are the different general categories of ACL braces. 

Prophylactic Knee Braces

Prophylactic braces are some of the most common types of knee braces. These knee supports are designed to lessen the likelihood of knee injuries during contact sports without limiting knee movement. Knee braces have become standard equipment in some sports. In football, for instance, collegiate and professional linemen wear braces on both knees to protect from injury. 

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Functional Braces

Functional braces are designed to protect knees that have already been injured. Doctors often prescribe a functional knee brace after the patient has regained full range of motion after ACL surgery. Functional braces stabilize the knee and control motion to prevent another injury. These braces are usually durable and suitable for participation in contact sports such as football. 

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Rehabilitative Braces

Rehabilitative knee braces are used to limit potentially harmful knee movement while you recuperate after recent knee surgery or injury. Rehabilitative braces work to protect a reconstructed or repaired ligament. These supports restrict movement to protect the injured area while you prepare for a return to activity. 

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Unloader Braces

Unloader or Offloader knee braces are a special type of knee brace used to provide pain relief for persons who have unicompartmental knee arthritis. This type of knee braces unloads stress from the affected joint by placing pressure on the opposite side. Unloader braces are specifically used by people who suffer from medial compartment knee osteoarthritis.

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Functions of ACL Braces 

Knee braces provide support and pain relief for people with ACL injuries, arthritis, and other knee problems. These knee braces are great for post-op recovery and rehabilitation of the knee joint. They support the knee joint to prevent further injury while also reducing pain and swelling. Functional braces, for instance, limit hyperextension allowing you to return to athletic activity with a reduced risk of re-injuring your knee.

Choosing the Right Brace

The type of knee brace you wear and when you wear it depends on why you are wearing the knee brace in the first place — pain relief, injury prevention, recovering after surgery, etc. Typically, your doctor will tell you if you need a knee brace and will also recommend what type of knee brace you should wear. Knee braces worn for athletic purposes should strictly be used as directed by your doctor. 

Elite Medical Supply provides different types of knee braces for Medicare and non-Medicare beneficiaries. Our staff will closely coordinate with your doctor to provide you with the right brace for your knee problems. Contact Us with your prescription to see if you qualify or have any questions about our products and services.