Most of us who are into sports or fitness have had, or will have, to deal with an injury of some kind. I have some personal experiences with joint injuries. In fact, I still deal with an old knee injury from time to time and I’ve had a number of ankle sprains throughout my 40+ years as well.
Marathon Training Knee Injury
In 2000, I was training to run a marathon. During my 18 mile training run, I injured my LCL (lateral collateral ligament) which runs along the outside of the knee. I was seriously concerned that I would not be able to run the race. Luckily, with the help of a knee brace, I was able to finish the race reasonably pain free.
Different knee problems require different knee braces. Mine was a motion control brace. A motion control brace was recommended to me for sprained or overstretched ligaments on the side of my knee. Similar to the photo, my brace had a neoprene sleeve with metal supports on the inside and outside to help support the ligaments there. My doctor told me that this was a good brace to use for activity that includes turning, stopping and starting, or repetitive bending of the knee. Since I trying to run a marathon, it was an ideal brace for my needs.
While the LCL is recovering, a rigid hinged knee brace can be worn to provide extra stability and protection for the knee. Your doctor may also recommend a physical therapy program to help with rehabilitation. (Source: BetterBraces.com)
Ankle Sprain During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone known as relaxin, which is believed to help prepare the body to give birth. The relaxin loosens the ligaments in your body, making you less stable and more prone to injury. I had a fall and sprained my ankle quite badly. I used an ankle brace just like the one in the photo above. Stabilizing my ankle helped with my pain and mobility considerably.
The best way to heal an ankle sprain is through functional management. This means that the patient continues to use the ankle while recovering from injury. Ankle movement helps prevent stiffness in the ankle as the ligaments recover. The leading ankle brace for the functional management of ankle sprains is the Aircast Air-Stirrup Ankle Brace. It allows natural movement while still supporting the ankle, unlike a walking boot which would limit mobility while healing.
This style of brace worked very well for me. Being pregnant with a toddler in the house meant there was not much time for me to slow down and rest while my husband was at work. Bracing my ankle was key for continued movement without much pain or exacerbating the injury.
Have you had an injury that was helped by the use of a brace? Let us know in a comment.