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The knee joint is formed where the Fibula and Tibia of the lower leg meet the Femur in the upper leg. These three bones are connected by four ligaments in that of the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL), Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL) and Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL). Ligaments are tough bands of tissues which are responsible for providing stability to joint, allowing you to walk, run and jump.
Any damage to the ligaments within the knee can compromise your mobility, with varying levels of severity and resulting rehabilitation periods.
Ligament injuries are graded one to three, with one being the least severe and three being the most. The grading refers to the damage of the ligament and whether it is a slight tear, a larger tear or a complete tear (rupture).
Grade One: a minor sprain and typically you’ll see a full recovery within a week as it is largely self-limiting. Following the injury it may be painful and you may notice inflammation of the joint.
Grade Two: where there is a tear in the ligament which will again be painful but can also result in instability of the knee joint, where you are unable to fully weight bear and there is a loss of functionality. This can take up to eight weeks to fully recover from but may require physiotherapy to help with strengthening exercises to ensure that the condition does not worsen, so it is important to manage the condition effectively.
Grade Three: the most severe and where there is a complete rupture of the ligament resulting in a loss of stability and your knee joint moving beyond its normal range of motion i.e. it moves in directions it shouldn’t. Whilst some people do avoid surgery by bracing and working on developing their quads (to counteract the instability) it is often recommend. Surgeons will take a graft from the hamstring or groin to create a new ligament in the event that they are unable to repair the existing one, resulting in a layoff of up to nine months. Post-surgery and initial recovery you will need to work on strengthening the joint to minimise the risk of the condition reappearing.
It is also worth noting that following a grade three ligament injury there is an increased likelihood of it happening again, should you not work to address the situation and also there is an increased risk of developing degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis in the future.
Statistics show that 40% of all ligament injuries occur as a result of extreme sports, of which damage to the ACL is the most common. It is also a common feature of professional footballers resulting in missing the vast majority of the season.
The Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) is a tough band of tissue joining the thigh and shin bone together at the knee joint. The ligament itself is responsible for stabilisation of the knee joint and general movement. It runs diagonally within the knee joint, attributed for managing the forward and backwards motion of the leg.
A damaged ACL can be very painful and the recovery period can be extensive depending on the severity of the injury. A strained ligament can take a few days of rest to heal combined with the use of ice to manage any inflammation, whilst a ruptured ligament can require knee surgery and up to one year on the sidelines combined with extensive physiotherapy. The latter can be career ending for professionals.
For more information on the knee joint and the ligaments within it check out the KNEEguru website.
It is designed to be worn on the knee joint. There are various types available, each with its own specific function but all work to protect the knee either as a preventative measure or post injury. Using the right option helps to increase the confidence of the patient as well as offering an additional form of protection.
Regardless of your sport or activity staying fit is always important, hence looking for the most suitable support for a specific condition can ensure you stay active for longer. Compression is another common theme among supports with many products offering compression to the affected region to help manage pain and inflammation. In managing these two elements the patient can continue being active for longer.
The best knee support for ligament damage or injury depends on the extent of the injury sustained (the grading) and the purpose of the support (do you want to walk, run, jump or do all of them?).
Products such as the Form Fit Knee Support can be used to manage mild to moderate knee ligament tears, covering the ACL, PCL, MCL and LCL. It works using a rigid hinge to help fit the knee better and give you additional support post injury, with the straps acting as external ligaments to help manage instability. The compression offered also allows inflammation and pain to be managed as part of the recovery process and making it one of the best options for mild to moderate tears.
For extreme sports you may consider the CTi knee brace, a rigid carbon fibre shell designed to protect the knee joint and associated ligaments by withstanding impact damage in conjunction with maintaining bone alignment. Protection against impact damage is very important when skiing, snowboarding or wakeboarding.
The CTi is worn by amateurs and professionals alike, both to protect the knee from serious injury and to prevent the reoccurrence of an injury. As ligament surgery can leave you out of action for up to one year before being able to train again, extreme sports stars understand the need to protect themselves so they can continue to stay at the top of their chosen sport.
The CTi is available to buy online from www.ctikneebraces.co.uk though it is also possible to have it fitted by a clinical professional (normally the best option if this is your first brace to make sure it is fitted correctly), details of which are listed online.
With so many braces on the market, making a decision can sometimes be difficult.
What is important before making a purchase is to obtain a diagnosis on the condition to understand its severity as this can have a major bearing on the brace you may select.
We also have an injury diagnosis tool on the Webshop which helps you to identify the root cause of the problem and list the associated braces you may wish to consider.
If you are struggling to make a decision then visit a clinician and discuss your requirements with them as they may be able to suggest the most suitable option for your needs. If you’re looking to spend money on a knee support then you need to ensure it is money well spent, as the wrong support may not work as required.