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Regardless of which knee brace you wear it is important to keep it clean and ensure it is in perfect working order. Failure to maintain your brace can compromise its effectiveness and its ability to either prevent injury or offer the support you require during rehabilitation.
The type of brace you have will determine the type of maintenance required, with some soft knee supports being fully washable compared to rigid supports where only certain elements can be removed and washed i.e. the silicone padding.
In the world of motocross and other off-road sports a rigid knee brace is often worn in order to offer maximum protection for the knee joint and minimise the risk of ligament damage following a crash or fall. 40% of all ACL injuries are as a result of extreme sports, leading to a lengthy spell on the sidelines and why many opt to wear a knee brace prophylactically (to prevent injury).
Your brace may end up pretty dirty after a day off-roading but this mud and water can affect the quality of the brace in the long term, as can the build-up of mud which may damage the padding and hinges. The last thing you want are the hinges of the brace being compromised through corrosion or in damaging the liners, not to mention that next time you go out you don’t want to be putting on a muddy brace before you even start.
Whilst the CTi knee brace is completely rigid it has a number of silicone liners within it in order to keep it in place on your knee which can be removed and washed in mild, non-detergent soap and left to air dry. You should also look to remove any foreign objects from the hinge and clean thoroughly.
For soft supports you may even be able to put the entire brace in the washing machine, just check the instructions first. If you’re wearing it over a long period of time then it will become quite sweaty, so best to have it freshened up.
The CTi brace is non-corrosive and therefore can be used for all water sports. We do recommend that you wear an oversleeve when on the water as this will keep all your straps in place and firmly attached in high speed falls.
In the case of using it in salt water, just make sure you rinse both the brace and the straps thoroughly in clean water. It is important to remove any salt or debris which may be in place following your trip on the water otherwise this can have a negative effect on the brace long term.
Post injury knee braces are not typically designed to be worn forever and therefore the need for servicing is reduced, however with prophylactic bracing and rigid knee braces they are designed to last a long time for continued use and can be maintained accordingly.
First, check with your manufacturer to see if it can be serviced and if so, what areas can be serviced before you start taking it apart. For products like the CTi knee brace there are refurbishment packs available so you can do it yourself or simply send it off and someone will take care of it for you.
For a rigid brace you will typically be able to replace most things, excluding the carbon fibre exoskeleton, which may include the straps, pads and hinges so that it remains in top condition.
You wouldn’t buy a car and never take it for a service and the same can be said for your knee brace. If you’re unsure what needs to be done or how then simply speak with the manufacturer.