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Knee Brace for Level 2 Protection

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I was wondering. I am starting to get degeneration in my knee but the doctor won't prescribe a brace, saying that it is normal.

Anyone know of a good brace that won't brake the bank? And will fit above my ski boot?

Seirus Nuclear Knee Brace?

I've done some searching. Used to wear a level one brace but it was so flimsy it would slip down my leg and bunch up.

So I just did the please the knee exercises from skimag.com.

But I am getting older and know my miniscus is dwindling. Any help would be appreciated.
post #2 of 7
It WILL break the bank (about $450), but about the best around is the donjoy extreme armor action. Designed specifically to fit above ski boots and provide protection for skiers - it does wonders. I'm sort of in the same boat (except I suspect I may be a bit younger - 30), knees degenerating, but no specific injuries (except competitive distance running when I was younger and lots and lots of moguls); I bought this brace last season, and, well, let's just say it was money very well spent - I'm considering getting one for my left knee this year, even though it has never caused me as much trouble as my right.

What was Warren Miller's line? Something like, "doctors say that the human heart only has so many beats in it, and when you use yours up, that's it, and some people's have more beats in them others; well the human knee only has so many moguls in it, some people get more than others, but when you use them up they're gone forever"

post #3 of 7
FWIW:Here Goes

If your having concerns about your knee & the upcoming season, now is the perfect time to see your doctor & get hooked up with the proper rehab professional. You've got the time prior to the snow flying & a team approach, You, MD, the gym, PT, & the brace (if any), will work best.

Most braces, & it does not matter what materail you have it out of, have the same issue: the thigh is too fleshy to adequately stabilize the top portion of the brace to "prevent" harm im the way most people think they would. The larger benifit from the brace mostly seems to be related to the feedback/information that the brace gives your body. In other words: event the $500 plus brace won't hold you in place from injury, but may provide some increased tactile and proprioception support to help you stay out of ranges that may lead to an injury.

I & some of the other pros I know/work with will use the simple neoprene style "knee supports" to help provide increased tactile/proprio support & keep the knee warm/padded. This is only a personal opinion. I like the one with a hole for the knee cap myself.

Best to go & see the doctor & consider a course of rehab before the snow flies!

(full disclosure: I support my skiing addiction thru employment as a PT & CSCS)
post #4 of 7
I agree with iriponsnow. I'm not a PT guy, though. my experience is 3x injuries and 2x surgery on the right knee, 1x injury and surgery on the left knee. I've had a lot of experience with knee injury, knee pain, pre-op rehab, post-op rehab, and bracing. I've used braces made by Lenox-Hill, Townsend and BREG. I've also used --only once, because it was ineffective -- a neoprene brace recommended by a non-athletic orthopod. that orthopod wasn't really good at working with athletes.

most good orthopods will tell you that the neoprene sleeve brace offers no structural support, even if it has some thin metal strips on the sides. on the other hand, the neoprene sleeve does a good job at keeping the knee warm. the downside to the neoprene sleeve is that neoprene makes you SWEAT and the moisture from your perspiration will attract cold like nobody's business. you may end up having a different knee pain from the cold perspiration next to your knee.

the DonJoy recommendation is good, but a bit limited. there are many other mfrs making braces for knees, and DonJoy's not the only one that has a brace specific to skiing. other mfrs:

Lenox-Hill (may be a different name now)

most of these braces are anti-rotation braces, which means their primary benefit is to stop the femur and tibia from rotating opposite each other. their ability to do so is fair to middlin', and some might argue it's the equivalent of using a belt while also using suspenders.

some braces also use a "positive stop" that prevents hyperextension or even mere 180deg straightening. the ACL is vulnerable at full extension, that's the reason for the "positive stop"

my orthopod believes you should use physical therapy to strengthen the supporting musculature. the more aggressive the athlete, the more varied and rigorous the therapy. the brace is there more for the athlete's mental comfort than anything.

a brace is not a "bionic knee" and cannot be relied upon as any sort of miraculous or wondrous cure for knee ailments. it is a fall-back safety device that most orthopods will admit is not as valuable as the end product of rigorous physical therapy and keeping the leg(s) fit and strong.

the very very best thing you can do for a painful knee is to see an orthopod who works regularly with athletic individuals, and helps them manage their injuries/conditions in their various athletic endeavors.

other orthopods tend to be more "daily function" oriented and don't have as much experience with the athletic implications of knee injuries.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys.....

Lets see if Kaiser will go for it.

I have to go thru the system.

Primary Care>PT and who know's how long it will take me to get in to see my primary.

I'll bump this to let you know.

Thanks for the free advice.
post #6 of 7
[quote=ski nose popsicle]I was wondering. I am starting to get degeneration in my knee but the doctor won't prescribe a brace, saying that it is normal.

Find a new doctor in your Kaiser system who will prescribe you a brace and who hasn't given up on your knees. I had a doctor tell me the same thing-I switched and the next guy has solved my problems.

I found a simple neoprene brace with the patella hole works great but nothing beats good ole' physical therapy, leg strength and weight loss for knee pain.

Riding my bike has done wonders too. Good luck.
post #7 of 7
gonzo & iriponsnow are pretty spot on in recommending pt & knee strengthening exercises, but, there are several recent studies showing that in athletic situations, with well conditioned athletes, knee braces definitely *do* prevent injuries - that it's not "just a mental thing." Of course if someone is out of shape, doesn't exercise, doesn't have a strong muscle system supporting their knee - they will gain a whole lot more by overall strengthening of the joint than they would ever get by simply putting on a brace. But, when someone is in very good condition, with a well conditioned and strong joint, that person does gain a significant edge in preventing injury by the wearing of a knee brace.

My personal experience with the neoprene braces was that they did me no good (even the ones with metal hinges in the sides), but the donjoy did. I think what it was for me more than anything was what iriponsnow was saying (I think) that it was a function of the feedback from the brace keeping me from puting more strain on the knee that I otherwise would have.

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