In the rough and dirty business of motocross, knee braces are a common sight. Knee braces are used to prevent new injury, give support to knees that have already been injured and to limit the movement while a knee is healing after an injury or surgery.

Three Major Types of Knee Braces and What They do

There are three major types of knee braces and each is designed with a different function in mind.

1. Prophylactic braces: Designed to prevent or reduce the severity of knee injuries (Often used in high/direct contact sports such as football)
2. Functional braces: Made to provide stability for unstable knees (Control abnormal motions)
3. Rehabilitative braces: Allow protective motion of knees that have been injured or recently operated on (Very effective in protecting against excessive flexion and extension; meant for short-term usage) Of these three types, there are also off-the-shelf knee braces and custom knee braces. For the average athlete, off-the-shelf braces do the job just fine. They are less expensive and quite easily obtained. The braces usually contain hyperextension stops to limit the range of motion. Measurements are taken based on several body factors and the braces have corresponding sizes. These braces are typically for the athlete with minimal knee instability.

For the athlete with more support and stabilization needs, a custom brace may be needed. These are generally prescribed by a doctor and are more expensive, but also may be covered under the patient?s insurance. These braces are custom molded to the athlete?s knee and often have more features or options. Custom braces are used to stabilize the knee by placing posterior force to the tibia and providing medial and lateral stability.
Of the many knee braces on the market, there are some that are specific to each area and some that cover all three in one. Depending on the sport, the chance of knee injury or re-injury and the recommendations of your physician, you can decide what knee brace is best for you.

When Should You use a Knee Brace

In motocross, it is a good idea to always wear a knee brace. Whether you are out for a Sunday run, practicing on the track or competing in a moto, the possibilities for injuries are endless and it is much better to attempt to prevent them than to deal with the pain and expense of letting the injury occur.

A simple twisting motion or unnatural movement can cause a crippling knee injury. If you come into a corner and catch your foot in a rut, you run the risk of twisting the knee and damaging the MCL, one of the most common knee injuries in motocross. In that same corner, if the front end of the bike were to push out, causing a “low side” crash, you are in prime territory for an ACL injury. In a low side crash, your leg is extended out for the corner, leaving your knee vulnerable for hyperextension. As the front end pushes out, the handlebar can, and in most cases will, fall directly on your thigh. With your heel on the ground, the force is distributed to the nearest pivot point, your knee, causing a potential tear/hyperextension of the ACL.

The knee brace market is vast and ever growing. There are options for all types and sizes of riders and braces are made from a variety of materials such as carbon fiber, metal, plastic, foam, elastics, and Velcro. With the ever-endless choices, every rider should be able to find a pair that fit their physical and comfort needs.

How to Use a Knee Brace

Most companies will be able to give you, the consumer, details on how to wear their braces properly and effectively. A few basic pointers can be followed for all braces:
* Make sure the sizing of your brace is correct by following brace guidelines and measurements set up by the manufacturer
* Be sure to try on your knee braces and where them around casually for awhile before attempting to ride in them, to ensure they are fitting properly
* Hinges should be where the knee bends
* Set extension stops to fit your needs and limit hyperextension
* Straps should be fastened correctly, tightly and in the correct place on your leg
* Check braces over before each use to make sure that all parts are in proper working order
All of these things will help to ensure the brace stays in the proper place on your leg and gives your knee the best possible protection from injury.

Is a Knee Brace Enough?

Knee braces are a very important part of protecting yourself from serious injury, but there is more you can do. Though a knee brace is a great tool in aiding in injury prevention, it is good to have healthy knees to begin with.

Make sure to always properly stretch and warm up before any riding. Also, be sure to work on strengthening and flexibility exercises for your knees. There are a number of exercises that personal trainers, physicians and physical therapists can recommend to keep get your knees in their best shape before you put them in the strain of riding and taking those sharp turns.

“EVS ? Winning with Safety”


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