The knee is the articulation of the human body among the ones most subjected to injuries when practicing physical activity. These injuries can affect the different tissues that make up the joint, like bones, ligaments and cartilages. In some cases, injuries require surgical intervention: this is one of the eventualities where it is indicated to wear a brace, as explained by Dr. Andrea Bruno, orthopedic and traumatologist from Humanitas.
When the ligaments have suffered an injury or are prone to be unstable, a support can help to restore the strength of the joint: ‘Consider a patient who underwent surgery to reconstruct multiple ligaments, let’s say he underwent a simultaneous breakdown of the anterior and posterior cruciate ligament – explains Dr. Bruno. – In this case is recommended to wear a support for the first post-surgery month’.
“Even if you have undergone a meniscus repair (suture) surgery, a support can be effective in protecting the sutures on the cartilaginous disks. This device can be used with the knee locked in extension for the first 15 days after surgery’.
In addition to these rehabilitation benefits, supports may also be useful in other cases where the ligaments are once again involved: ‘It is the case of chronic ligament instability of the knee. To compensate for the functional insufficiency of the ligaments, those people wishing to perform sports in which there is a high functionality demand, like skiing or tennis, you could rely on a support able to give greater stability. This is a valid option for individuals in more advanced ages, whose ligaments are weakened after an injury and have not been reconstructed’.
In case of patella instability, can a prosthetic be useful? ‘It’s the patellofemoral syndrome – the expert continues. A simple elastic knee support that compresses the skin can improve proprioception, making the knee more stable thanks to the centralization of the patella, although it does not change much from the biomechanical point of view. However, more effective is its use for ten days for the management of pain in the event of trauma in the post-acute phase’.
Stop the overload
If you are healthy, can the support help prevent an injury? ‘In this case, its contribution is irrelevant. Some supports could be used in case of varus knee or valgus knee in order not to overload the joint, but the scientific evidence is not significant’, concludes Dr. Bruno.