Meniscus tears are some of the most commonly experienced knee injuries among athletes, particularly those who play contact sports. However, anyone at any age can experience a torn meniscus. The meniscus functions as a “shock absorber” for your knee, cushioning the joint and keeping it stable. Meniscus tears can happen during sports when a player twists awkwardly from contact or when pivoting sharply or making a hard landing. Symptoms of a torn meniscus include feeling a “pop” in the knee, pain, stiffening and swelling in the joint, a “locking” feeling in the knee, the sensation that it is “giving way”, and decreased range of motion. In addition to wearing a knee brace for a meniscus tear, treatment can include rest, ice, compression, elevation, rehabilitation and physiotherapy and, depending on the severity, surgery.
Choosing The Best Knee Brace For A Meniscus Tear
Generally speaking, the best knee brace for a meniscus tear will reduce pain, provide support, and deliver compression. The following outlines the different kinds of meniscus tear knee braces available, the pros and cons of each and the best knee brace for a torn meniscus depending on your circumstances.
Hinged Knee Brace
The job that a hinged knee brace does best is providing a high level of support while preventing potentially harmful lateral knee movements. They can be either soft or rigid and also provide adequate levels of compression, which promotes healing of the meniscus. A hinged knee braces is the best knee brace for a torn meniscus for someone who has previously injured her knee.
Rigid Knee Brace
A rigid knee brace is a close cousin to the hinged knee brace as it provides moderate to maximum support for the knee in the case of a torn meniscus. It has a hard and, for the most part, inflexible exterior to keep the knee stable and to prevent harmful lateral movement. This is the best knee brace for a torn meniscus if you are reintroducing your recovering joint to contact sports or intense physcal activity, when strong protection is a must.
Offloader Knee Brace
An offloader knee brace redistributes weight bearing pressure to the healthy section of the knee. This relieves the pain of a meniscus tear. This is the best knee brace for a meniscus tear if you require another level of stability and pain reduction or if you suffer from pain in the meniscus caused by osteoarthritis.
Soft Knee Brace
A soft knee brace offers mild to moderate support for knees inflicted with a meniscus tear. It allows greater flexibility and range of motion in the knee and is therefore ideal for those who are at the recovery stage at which they are returning to basic daily activities and gentle exercise, like short walks. This is the best knee brace for a meniscus tear when continually strengthening the knee during the rehabilitation process.
While compression sleeves don’t offer the strong support and protection of a more structured brace, they redistribute weight and provide compression therapy, which in turn helps to alleviate pain and swelling, two important factors on the road to recovery from a meniscus tear. Compression sleeves are often the best knee brace for a torn meniscus if you also suffer from arthritic knees or from a degenerative condition. They are also a good choice for an athlete at the end of the rehabilitation process and requiring compression therapy to reduce pain and promote more rapid healing.