A hinged knee brace is a device used to support the knee joint and surrounding tissues while maintaining flexibility. This type of brace comes in many different designs from a large number of manufacturers. A hinged knee brace usually consists of some type of wrap that wraps around the leg at the knee, with a hole over the kneecap and hinges on either side of the knee joint.
Many professional and recreational athletes use these types of braces, both in response to injury and as a preventative measure. More than one type of injury or condition can benefit from a hinged knee brace. Most of these injuries or conditions are of the minor or low-grade type, but several types of more severe injuries or acute conditions may also benefit from a brace of this type.
Some of the injuries that can benefit from a hinged knee brace include strains of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). These are two of the most common knee injuries suffered by many athletes. Wearing a knee brace supports and stabilizes the joint, which can help with pain relief as well as preventing further injury.
A hinged knee brace can also benefit those suffering from meniscus or patellar injuries as well as tendinitis or runner's knee. Conditions that cause inflammation, like bursitis, arthritis, and myositis, or those like Osgood-Schlatter's disease can all benefit from a brace of this type. Surgery patients sometimes wear this type of brace after surgery to protect the surgically repaired tissues during the healing process.
Hinged knee braces are available in many different configurations; they can also be single-hinge or double-hinge. These types of braces may or may not have a compression sleeve or wrap that envelopes the knee, except for a window over the kneecap. Some types have only the hinges and bands that circle the leg above and below the knee. These braces provide lateral support and stability only.
Only a doctor or other qualified health professional can properly recommend a hinged knee brace. A brace of this type should not be used as a cure for any condition or injury. These types of braces are only intended as one part of treatment or to help prevent injuries and various conditions; they cannot cure or repair knee problems on their own. A knee brace should not be substituted for proper medical care as this could result in more severe injury or aggravating an existing condition.