When is it needed?
Do I really need a brace?
What kind of brace do I need?
Are they expensive?
How long do I have to wear this? FOREVER?!
Will it make you reliant on the brace if you start to use it?
Braces can be an effective addition to treatments but should not be the sole means of rehabilitation that a person utilizes.
A brace is most effective is in stabilizing a joint that has become unstable due to stretching of the supporting ligaments. A brace can help to stabilize that joint while you are undergoing rehabiliation treatments to normalize muscle tone in the area, gain back range of motion lost by the injury and to strengthen the affected joint. Most importantly, treatment can identify the underlying cause for why the problem has taken place in the first place and provide you with the education required to prevent future injury and re-injury.
Once the ligaments have been stretched around a joint, they never really return to their original tautness. Think of an elastic band that has been overstretched, it becomes loose and harder to use. Proper bracing can provide stability, support and structure to an injured joint. For a chronically injured body part, such as an ankle, it can be used as a long term tool/aid if strengthening and rehabilitation has not resulted in 100% recovery. There may be only so much strengthening can assist with in certain cases. Failure to correct the laxity of the joint may result in re-injury and potentially arthritis due to increased rubbing of the joint cartilage.
Bracing can also be helpful is in the instance of overuse injuries. Take for example a tennis elbow or carpel tunnel syndrome. The common tendon attaching these muscles onto the bone becomes irritated and potentially inflamed due to overuse, bad posture or mechanics. A brace can help to disperse the forces of these muscles along a larger plane to take pressure off of the sore bone and tendon.
Bracing can be an essential part of the rehabilitation process, but should NOT be the ONLY component. It is important to have a proper assessment and treatment plan in place to rehabilitate the injured part as best as possible. In cases where there is significant damage to the ligaments, permanent bracing for activity as well as rehabilitation and potentially surgery may all be options to the patient.
There are many different bracing options depending on your needs. Honsberger Physio+ offers many over the counter products that are very cost effective. However, we also offer custom bracing options depending on your needs.
One of our preferred providers has an excellent catalogue to help you learn more about available options:
Not only will we help you understand what brace you need, how often you should be using it, ensure you are sized properly and teach you how to wear it and care for it effectively. If your brace effects the way you perform certain movements at work or in sport, we will help you re-learn motor patterns/give you strengthening exercises to help ensure you are on your road to recovery!
For more information on if bracing would be right for you, please see us for an assessment or email email@example.com should you have any questions!