What Knee Brace is Best for a Torn Meniscus?
The meniscus is a
tough, rubbery, crescent-shaped piece of cartilage between the bones
in the knee joint. There are two menisci in each knee, the medial and
the lateral. They act as shock absorbers, cushioning the impact of
the bones against each other, and stabilizing the joint. They also
aid proper weight distribution through the joint. The meniscus can
tear as the result of an injury, or be worn down through age and use.
Usually it is the medial meniscus (on the inner side of the knee)
that gets damaged, although both parts are vulnerable.
A meniscus tear may or may not be
initially painful. Sometimes part of the meniscus may become lodged
in an area of the knee where it doesn’t belong, causing the knee to
lock up. Any pain may be worse during twisting or squatting
movements. Often, a symptom of the injury is a feeling that the knee
might give way at any time. Whatever the pain level, it is an injury
that requires rest, ice, and support, followed by exercises to
strengthen the knee. Surgery is occasionally necessary to repair the
During healing or post-operatively, a
knee brace can provide support and stability, although it will not
treat the actual injury. If you have had surgery, or your tear was a
severe one, a hinged knee brace will give you significant support and
help to prevent rotational movements of the knee that would aggravate
the injury. A brace that provides gentle compression to the joint
would be a better choice for a degenerative meniscal tear.
A knee sleeve is what to look for if
your meniscus tear is relatively mild and you just want some
compression and warmth around the knee to relieve your symptoms.
Another benefit of wearing a sleeve is to remind the wearer that the
knee is damaged, so to avoid making movements that might make the
injury worse. These are usually made from neoprene, and are available
with or without a patellar (kneecap) cutout. The DonJoy Comfort Knee
Brace is an example of this type of sleeve.
Unloader braces are designed to
displace weight from the injured side of the knee to the uninjured
side. These are suitable for more severe meniscal tears. DonJoy make
several knee braces that help to prevent the side-to-side and
twisting movements that will cause more pain. They also provide a
greater feeling of stability. One brace that gives significant
support is the DonJoy Drytex Hinged Air Knee Brace. This brace is
particularly suitable for post-operative meniscectomies (removal of
For a brace that is somewhere in the
middle in terms of support, consider the DonJoy Tru-Pull Advanced
Hinged Patellar Knee Brace.
Bregg also has a good range of knee
braces suitable for meniscus tears.
Try on several braces to find the one
that is best for you, and remember to follow medical advice in order
to achieve optimal healing.