A hinged knee brace offers the highest level of lateral knee support and also prevents the knee from hyper extension. The most sophisticated braces of this type also offer the ability to adjust the range of motion of the knee. Patients can use these “pro level” or “range of motion” braces during rehabilitation of a knee injury to gradually increase the joint range of motion as healing progresses.
Within the general category of hinged braces, there are varying degrees of hinge rigidity. This provides for a continuum of levels of support within the category, with increasing support as the hinge rigidity increases. This, however, may happen at the expense of less wearing comfort and greater bulk.
Hinged braces are suitable for treating the most serious ligament injuries (i.e. severely stretched, torn or even ruptured ligaments). For example, doctors may recommend them for treatment of a torn ACL or meniscus tear injury suffered by an athlete in a contact sport like football. In addition to providing the highest possible level of support, hinged knee braces allow the knee to move in the most natural way possible, i.e. as similarly as possible to a healthy knee.
In general, hinged knee braces are not as light and low profile as knee stabilizers. The latter generally used lighter materials and less bulky materials in their construction. However, for individuals suffering from severe knee instability, sprains or torn or ruptured ligaments, the additional security and support from a hinged brace more than makes up for the slight loss of mobility.