A hinged knee brace offers the highest level of lateral knee support and also prevents the knee from hyper extension. The most sophisticated braces of this type also offer the ability to adjust the range of motion of the knee. Patients can use these “pro level” or “range of motion” braces during rehabilitation of a knee injury to gradually increase the joint range of motion as healing progresses.
Within the general category of hinged braces, there are varying degrees of hinge rigidity. This provides for a continuum of levels of support within the category, with increasing support as the hinge rigidity increases. This, however, may happen at the expense of less wearing comfort and greater bulk.
How Do Hinged Knee Braces Work?
Hinged knee braces are specialized orthopedic devices designed to provide support, stability, and protection to the knee joint.
These braces feature hinges on the sides of the knee, allowing for controlled and limited movement while providing additional stability. The hinges are typically made of metal or durable plastic materials and are strategically placed to align with the natural movement of the knee.
Here’s how hinged knee braces work:
The primary function of a hinged knee brace is to stabilize the knee joint. The hinges provide controlled movement, allowing the knee to flex and extend within a specified range while preventing excessive sideways or rotational movements that may contribute to injury or exacerbate an existing condition. The brace provides stability by limiting excessive motion, helping to protect the ligaments, tendons, and other structures surrounding the knee.
Hinged knee braces offer protection to the knee joint and surrounding tissues. They serve as a physical barrier, reducing the risk of direct impacts or collisions that can cause injury. The brace helps absorb and distribute impact forces, minimizing the risk of contusions, bruises, or fractures.
By providing an additional layer of protection, hinged knee braces can reduce the severity of potential injuries during sports or activities that involve high impact or contact.
Hinged knee braces provide support to the knee by assisting in maintaining proper alignment and preventing abnormal movements. They can help individuals with weakened or injured knees by compensating for instability or muscle imbalances. The braces help offload stress from the injured or compromised structures, reducing pain and discomfort.
The added support provided by the brace promotes better joint alignment and contributes to improved overall knee function.
Hinged knee braces are commonly used in the rehabilitation process following knee injuries or surgeries. They provide support and protection to the healing structures, allowing controlled movement and exercise without compromising the recovery process. The hinges in the brace enable controlled range of motion exercises, allowing for gradual strengthening and flexibility improvement. The brace helps prevent excessive stress or strain on the healing tissues, facilitating a safe and effective rehabilitation protocol.
Hinged knee braces can be customized to suit individual needs and specific conditions. They come in various sizes and designs to accommodate different knee shapes and sizes.
The hinges are usually adjustable, allowing for personalized control over the range of motion and level of support. The customization options enable athletes and individuals with knee injuries to find the right fit and level of support that best suits their requirements.
It’s important to note that hinged knee braces should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional. They are typically recommended for individuals with specific knee injuries, ligament instability, or as part of a rehabilitation program. The selection and fitting of the brace should be done by a qualified professional to ensure proper function and effectiveness.
Which Types Of Injuries Can Be Treated With Hinged Knee Braces?
Hinged braces are suitable for treating the most serious ligament injuries (i.e. severely stretched, torn or even ruptured ligaments). For example, doctors may recommend them for treatment of a torn ACL or meniscus tear injury suffered by an athlete in a contact sport like football. In addition to providing the highest possible level of support, hinged knee braces allow the knee to move in the most natural way possible, i.e. as similarly as possible to a healthy knee.
How Do Hinged Knee Braces Differ From Knee Stabilizers?
In general, hinged knee braces are not as light and low profile as knee stabilizers. The latter generally used lighter materials and less bulky materials in their construction. However, for individuals suffering from severe knee instability, sprains or torn or ruptured ligaments, the additional security and support from a hinged brace more than makes up for the slight loss of mobility.