The knees are designed to absorb all the shock from every step taken, every time people sit or stand, and every slip or fall. The force and pressure of just lifting the body weight out of a chair can be enough to injury the knee, depending on the circumstances. A barely noticeable twist or turn out of step can create pain, swelling, or a misalignment of the joint. Adding extra force by exercising makes the knees more vulnerable.
Ways to Protect the Knees
On a daily basis, there are a few simple things people can do to protect the knees. Regular exercise to keep muscles strong and joints limber takes some time from the day but costs no money. Going for a walk three times a week, parking at the back end of the parking lot at the department store, or doing basic exercises in the living room is enough to keep people strong and mobile.
Maintaining a healthy weight is another way. Extra pounds add to the force of walking and standing. Excessive weight will wear down the cartilage, strain the ligaments and tendons, and push the kneecap out of position. Pain, swelling, and stiffness will be the result. Even losing ten pounds will make a significant difference on the amount of pressure on the knees.
Those who enjoy participating in sports, rigorous activity or thrill-seeking behavior can provide extra support to the knees with a cost-effect knee brace. Over the counter options include simple bands or sleeves, braces that are longer and held in place with Velcro, and hinged braces for maximum support.
Custom braces can be made for those with weak knees, people recovering from an injury or knee surgery, and those suffering from a chronic or degenerative disease. Some can be customized right in the office of the orthopedist. Standard braces with room for specific fitting to each patient are readily available. Specially molded braces will require time to be made. These are often needed after surgery or for people with unique circumstances.
Which Brace is Best?
Every knee condition and injury is different for each person. Some braces have indications for use on the package. Others are recommended by a doctor or physical therapist. A personal trainer will also be able to provide suggestions. If someone is unsure which one will work best, they should consult with a doctor before purchasing one.