THE TRUE FUNCTION OF A KNEE BRACE
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)
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.
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:
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”