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There are loads of knee braces on the market and they all state different benefits, from the injury prevention ones (prophylactic) to those worn post injury with a view to returning you to your chosen activity. With so many options and so much information, selecting the right one for you can be quite difficult.
Before you open your wallet there are a number of key questions you should ask yourself. You should also check out online reviews and find out what your friends use. All of these things can help you make an informed decision.
The sport you play or want to play has a bearing on the knee brace you might need. If you play football or rugby then the respective associations will not allow you to wear one on the pitch due to the risk it poses to other players (as carbon fibre is pretty strong and your opponent will come off worse every time). Besides the rules, you’re probably best off with a soft knee support offering compression and stability (again check the rules as if it has hinges / hard bits then you're probably not going to be allowed to wear it).
If you’re into mountain biking, motocross, skiing, snowboarding etc then something like the CTi is right up your street as it is designed to withstand everything you can throw at it and more. Carbon fibre is used as a strengthening material (and is also lightweight) so if you take a tumble then your knee will be fully protected.
A CTi however can be used when walking or running to help offer additional stability following injury but you may just need a soft ligament support rather than a rigid carbon fibre model. The choice is yours and your physio may be able to offer additional advice on this.
It depends which injury you wish to manage and is linked to which sport you want to play. If you have a knee strain and want to play tennis then a CTi will protect it but what you really need is a compressive sleeve or a soft support offering ligament stability (something with straps and a hinge). Obviously if you have suffered a knee strain but want to get back out on the slopes then the CTi is going to protect the joint against subsequent injury (and any falls you might have).
The CTi is designed to offer maximum protection against injury and subsequent injury. In extreme sports many wear a knee brace as a preventative measure, the same reason you wear a helmet, protective clothing, neck guards etc. In many sports the use of a rigid knee brace is just part of the standard safety gear.
For some, only once they have suffered from ligament damage do they realise the importance of bracing up as once you’ve had one injury there is an increased risk of it happening again as there is an inherent weakness in the joint and no one wants to suffer more than one ACL rupture. In the long term those who have suffered from ligament damage are more likely to suffer from degenerative conditions such as osteoarthritis of the knee.
There are different products for different injuries.
With so many options available if you are unsure then you should seek a professional diagnosis in the first instance before making a purchase.
There are two types of knee braces available, in soft supports and rigid supports, which are a reflection of the material used in the manufacturing process.
A soft knee support is typically manufactured from compressive material such as neoprene. These are designed for active use to manage a variety of conditions but offer either compression, stability or both. A compressive knee brace is designed to manage inflammation in the joint to help you remain active for longer. A stability or ligament brace has straps which act as external ligaments whilst also offering compression for complete support of the knee.
A rigid knee brace is designed for extreme sports, the solid nature of the brace is designed to protect against impact damage and subsequent injury. Examples such as the CTi are manufactured from carbon fibre which is lightweight and super strong so that your knee is fully protected should you fall or crash.
Aside from the professionals who wear it the knee brace is manufactured from carbon fibre, a lightweight yet super strong material designed to offer maximum protection of the knee joint against impact damage. 40% of all ACL injuries incurred are as a result of extreme sports, an injury which can lead to up to a year on the sidelines so wearing a CTi can protect against injury as well as minimising the risk of a reoccurrence of the injury.
As well as offering protection against injury, the CTi knee brace also works to offer stability of the joint following ligament damage, helping you to get back on your feet and back into the action faster.
If you’re interested in getting a CTi then check out the options online.