Welcome to this short guide about knee support braces for seniors! In this post, you will learn what to look for in a knee brace and if you should actually use one.
Like I talked about in the post about Knee Strengthening Exercises For Seniors the knee joint is something most of don’t think about until something goes wrong with it.
And when something does, it soon becomes apparent how crucial the knees are for freedom of movement. When you have sore or inflamed knees, basic things like squatting down or walking can become impossible.
This why it’s important to do everything you can to keep your knees strong and healthy.
This includes getting any medical conditions treated, strengthening the muscles and ligaments around the knees (and everywhere else), eating a healthy diet that reduces inflammation and supports joint health, and possibly using supplements and supporting braces.
In this post, we will look at the different kinds of knee support braces and talk about their effectiveness and use.
What Is A Knee Support Brace?
A knee support brace is a device that does exactly what the name suggests, it supports the knee joint. There are several different kinds of supports ranging from very light neoprene ones to complex medical supports that are essentially an external joint.
The way a knee brace works is by offering mechanical support to the ligaments and muscles of the joint.
Lighter neoprene knee sleeves don’t offer significant structural support but they help to warm up the connective tissues and help with inflammation by offering a slight compression on the joint.
This can reduce pain significantly and light knee supports are great for seniors to use during exercise and especially strength training.
A high-quality knee sleeve will offer enough support to make you feel more confident as well, so they can be great for getting over the fear of strengthening your knees if you are not confident and feel discomfort without the supports. They can also help you feel more stable and help a bit with balance.
Knee sleeves can are also good knee support for seniors that suffer from arthritis since they help to reduce pain and inflammation by keeping the knees warm.
More complex knee supports include devices that have mechanical hinges on the side and they can include elastic bands or springs that offer resistance and support to the joint.
While there are devices like these on the commercial market, they should be considered medical devices in my opinion. Which takes us to the question if you really need a knee brace?
Do You Need A Knee Brace?
So like we established, there are different kinds of support. Ranging from light sleeves that essentially warm up your knees, to complex devices that stabilize and support the knee.
So how do you know if you actually need a more complex one? As I said, I think these should be considered medical devices and you should never use one without the recommendation by an orthopedist or a physiotherapist.
The reason is that a brace turns into a crutch very easily. Any time you take weight and strain of a biological structure, it starts to atrophy. It becomes weaker.
If you have ever broken a bone, you will know how weak your limb is after the cast is removed. Using structural support for the knees for long periods of time is just like this.
Sure, it might alleviate the pain, but it won’t address the underlying condition. Which can be medical like arthritis or it could be just a case of weak muscles and ligaments around the knee.
But using a brace without knowing the underlying condition can lead to weakening the knee on the long run, making things worse. So always consult a medical professional and never make the decision to use a complex knee brace on your own.
That said, light knee sleeves don’t really possess this issue if you use them only when doing activities that require you to use your knees a lot like strength training, home improvement, yard work, etc.
The only consideration with knee sleeves you need to make is to make sure they are not too tight and that you don’t wear them for too long at a time.
This is because knee sleeves can affect the circulation of your legs and feet. This is especially important if you suffer from diabetes or any kind of vascular ailments of the legs. That’s why it’s always wise to check with a medical professional if you have any doubts about the safety of a medical brace.
Best Knee Braces For Seniors
So what kind of knee support should you get if you don’t have an underlying medical condition and just want a bit of support and comfort for your knees?
Like I said earlier, the neoprene type knee sleeves or knee warmers are your best bet. They are cheap, they are simple and they offer just enough support, compression, and warmth to make exercising more comfortable.
I personally use knee sleeves any time I do a harder leg training that includes squats, weight lifting exercises, lunges, etc. I find that knee sleeves help keep my knees pain free and warm, preventing any issues with the tendons and ligaments under heavy loads.
My recommendation for a sleeve type of knee support are the Cambivo Knee Braces (affiliate link, I earn a small commission if you buy through it, it helps me keep the site running.)
The Cambivos are the best price quality ratio you can find in online stores. They have a 4.4 out of 5.0 rating at Amazon with over 12 000 user opinions, so you can rest asured they are a high quality product.
One of the biggest issues with the sleeve type knee braces is that they can be hard to put on if you have significant mobility issues like many seniors do.
You have to reach and pull them over your foot and up to the knees. Something that all people are not unfortunately able to do.
If you think this might be an issue for you, the second-best option is a neoprene knee support with velcro. This allows you to wrap the support around your knee, removing the need to reach to your foot.
They also allow you to adjust the amount of compression by choosing how far you fasten the velcro wraps. Here’s a good example of this type of knee support (affiliate link):
The downside to this is that this type of knee supports will wear down a lot faster. The knee joint has quite a large range of motion and the velcro will give up over time, losing the ability to keep the support fastened.
The sleeve type supports on the other hand will last you virtually forever.
I hope you found this guide about knee support braces useful and it helped you find a solution to your problem. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me in the comments section below.
Knee braces can offer great relief from knee pain and inflammation but it’s important to remember that they don’t treat the underlying issues.
That’s why any kind of more advanced knee brace should be used only if recommended and supervised by a medical professional.
Otherwise, you run the risk of making the underlying issues worse and might become dependent on the brace. Don’t create crutches you don’t need for yourself.
That said, the knee sleeve type supports are great for warming up and offering gentle support to the old knees. Just remember to use them only when you need them as they can affect the circulation of your legs and feet if worn constantly.
But they are perfect for using while you do your strength training routine or any exercise that involves using your legs a lot. The same goes for yard work or anything that involves a lot squatting for example.
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Thanks for reading and see you next time!