Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Knee Wraps vs. Knee Braces

Any kind of injury or physical ailment can be difficult to deal with. This is often especially true for those who lead more active lives. And if there were ever a part of the body that can become a hindrance when not functioning correctly, it's the knee.

The knee is a very complex joint and is crucial in baring our weight and providing mobility. When it is not at its best, life can be difficult. Fortunately though, there are different ways that we can provide our knees with everyday relief. Aside from the obviously beneficial surgical or doctor intervention, there are two effective and very common knee-worn accessories: the knee brace and knee wrap.

Knee Wraps
Knee wraps consist of a long, stretchable wrap material, usually made of combinations of cotton, elastic, and synthetic fibers. The wrap is a single length of material that is systematically wrapped tightly around the knee joint. The wrap is kept in place by fastening Velcro at the end of the length to the rest of the wrap.
In essence, knee wraps provide effective, yet less extensive support for relatively minor knee issues. Here, wrapping can done as desired in order to achieve maximum comfort. The wearer can expect some heat build-up, slight circulation hindrance, and the need to re-wrap from time to time. The benefits though include increased support and possible pain relief.

Knee Braces
On the other hand, knee braces are somewhat different, physically holding specific, knee-conforming shapes and at times consisting of several parts. Similar to a wrap, the brace provides support and some potential pain relief. However, due to the knee brace's general design, it is considered a more extensive and longer-term relief option. Knee braces can even be prescribed before or after medical procedure.
A mild support knee brace may be made of an all-elastic material and be flimsy, yet fit tightly around the knee. This low-grade brace may even be interchangeable with a wrap and provides good support for mild issues such as a minor sprain or minor arthritic symptoms. A step up brings us to ligament and arthritis knee braces.

These mid-level braces are composed of harder support materials such as hard plastic and metal within specialized cushioning. This level of support is ideal for more severe stabilization needs such as after complete breaks or tears, or after surgery. Finally, the most specialized types of knee braces are those that are custom-made to fit a very special need. An example of this is repeated reconstructive repair of the knee and the subsequent need for more exact conform and support angles.
Both braces and wraps provide the basic function of support. But braces go a step further in providing even more support and conformity than a wrap alone can provide. These are the two most common knee-aid accessories and the differences between them. If you are ever in doubt, consult with your doctor for the best advice on your specific knee issue.

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