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Knee braces for ACLs

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
I have 2 good knees and I'd like to keep them this way. Would using knee braces ahead of time help prevent ACL injury? Anyone tried this. When I used to race dirt bikes alot of top riders would use braces even with good knees to prevent or lessen the chance of injury. Expensive yes but look at the alternative. Just wondering...

Jeff J.
post #2 of 6
Nope. Strengthen the muscles around your knee that support it.
post #3 of 6
I checked with a few PTs on this, and the answer is no. The only time the brace may be used is if somebody has had previous injuries, and their kneecap is unstable.

Here are a few precedents to prove this point. For years, every darn aerobic shoe had an anti pronation device, whether you needed it or not.
Can you guess what many long term aerobic instructors now do? Supinate!

Many weight lifters use a weight belt to prevent back injuries. This is a good idea for POWER LIFTERS. But if someone who has never had a back problem uses a weight belt when lifting moderate amount of weight, they are eseentially training their stablizing muscles not to work! There have been numerous instances of people who use weight belts hurting their backs while performing other activities, simply because they have trained their transverse abs to be lazy.

The same with knee baces. Its important for the abductor/adductor, hamstring and quad to support the knee. Use a device to do that job, and those muscle can become lazy!
post #4 of 6
as an aside...

there are a number of top skiers on the US Freestyle Team who use Don-Joy braces as a preventive measure, and Jonny Mosely is one that comes to mind. How often he uses them is yet another issue, but what I read about them is that many of the Team members use them in training.

My own experience is that the better designed models (I've used Lenox Hill, Townsend and BREG) do help stabilize the knee. Most especially, they have a physical stop that mechanically prevents excessive tibial draw and hyperextension -- two things that well-trained and strengthened hamstrings can guard against, but cannot prevent.

The experiences of ACL recon patients I know or know of have varied widely. Some never used a brace, some use them in bad conditions or in early season, and some use them always.

JohnH, who used to be a frequent poster in here but is sidelined this year with a new baby in his family, had ACL recon recently and skipped the brace entirely. He reported excellent stability last season.

I use one on each knee, but I have skied without them. Call me a 'fraidy-cat, but I've been through 2 ACL recons and I don't want to go through a 3d one. Besides, they don't seem to hinder my performance any.

post #5 of 6
It would make sense that Johnny Mosley and other freestyle skiers use them for prevention. Goes along with the concept of power lifters using weight belts, as opposed to your typical nautilus user.
But how many of us ski like Mosley?

This is an interesting topic. i spoke to this Sports med doc at the gym, and he said that for people who have already suffered from an ACL injury, the use of the brace is advisable.
However, there have in fact been incidences of people who did not need the brace in the first place getting injured. he also advised against using recommendations on the internet as to what was the best brand, especially from someone who is not a medical professional.
post #6 of 6
I agree, LM. Different braces serve different purposes and different anatomies better than others. My orthopod insists that BREG is the best on the market right now, and it is what he prescribes to all of the athletes he works with, unless they insist on something else. He likes Don-Joy 2d best.

On Bob's Knee Board, there are advocates for each major brand. The resident "researcher" on that board did extensive testing in a format he designed, and he concluded that the CTi2 is the best brace. He also said that the BREG is inferior because it relies upon only 6 measurements instead of a much larger # or a cast of the pt's leg.

My orthopod pooh-poohed that notion, and said that current braces are much more adaptable, and what matters is how comfortable the brace is (because performance is related to comfort), how well it resists migration on the pt's leg, and how well its frame tracks the pt's anatomy. Given these points, it seems that there is a good amount of room for some braces to work well for some folks but not others. All I know is that the BREG is superior to the Townsend and Lenox Hill braces I own, despite the fact that each of them was formed using a cast of my leg.

I can be a bit overbearing about suggesting the BREG, but only because it's not as well-recognized as the Don-Joy. The truth is, however, that BREG is the company started by the founders of Don-Joy, who split when the existing Don-Joy board wouldn't agree to spend money on a new design... that design was -- that's right, you guessed it -- the BREG design. The name "Don-Joy" came from the guys' wives names, Donna and Joyce. The name "BREG" comes from the guys' own names, Brian and Greg.

Anyway, that is what I know about ACL and anti-rotation braces.
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