Recovery after knee surgery is just as important as the surgery itself and it’s crucial that you get the proper kind of support, or you may find that the recovery process takes longer than expected. That’s where a post op knee brace comes in. A post op knee brace, also known as a rehabilitative brace, is a brace that is specifically designed to support a knee that is recovering from knee surgery. The knee is one of the most pressure bearing joints in the body and it may get injured from time to time. In some cases, the only way to fix the problem is by having knee surgery. Hopefully you never have to go through it yourself, but in the event that you have to, your doctor/surgeon may recommend that you start wearing some sort of post op knee support. Today we’re going to cover some important information that you need to be aware of.
Types of Post Op Knee Braces & How They Work
After undergoing a knee operation, you will most likely go through a period of physiotherapy to help you recover from the operation. Depending on the type of surgery performed, some form of knee support may be used during this therapy in order to control the movements of the knee. When the knee is in the recovery stage, it cannot flex or bend in the normal way and forcing it to do so can damage some of your knee ligaments such as the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
There are two main types of supports that you can choose from, a knee immobilizer and a post-op knee brace with locking mechanism. Both can help with the healing process however it’s important to know the differences between the two. (Important note: Discuss the options with your doctor/surgeon before you go out and by one.)
A knee immobilizer’s job, as you may have guessed already, is to completely immobilize the knee. At the same time, it compresses and comforts the area ensuring that blood flows through it. Generally it is used right after surgery because it’s crucial to give the knee time to heal before it starts to move again. A knee immobilizer is used when there is intense pain after surgery. The brace immobilizes the knee to give it room to heal. Post-op knee braces are also great at giving the knees enough room to heal by reducing the mobility of the knee. The following video provides a demonstration on how a knee immobilizer works:
One popular example is the Alpha Medical Knee Immobilizer. This knee immobilizer is available in different sizes to suit different knee lengths. It is also made with the comfort of the user in mind. It’s not only easy to use, but it also offers maximum comfort and room for healing. It comes with four straps and two side panels that can be adjusted to enhance comfort and offer the compression needed for the knee to progressively heal.
- ADJUSTABLE SIDE PANELS. Side panels can be removed from middle section and reattached allowing the brace to expand for varying sizes. For sizing questions please call us at 1-866-547-3897
- 3/8" breathable foam with canvas duct
- Alternating loop-loc style straps with hook tabs for universal sizing
The panels take care of both the lateral and medial sides of the knee while the open patella design ensures the stability of the patella. When the pressure is released from the patella, the soft tissues that were injured have a higher chance of recovering quickly. The duct is breathable for more comfort during the entire period the brace is being used.
Despite having amazing features that make the brace perfect for Universal use, you need to ensure you get the right size and attach it correctly. You have to lay down then remove the side panels from the Velcro attachment. Make sure the side panels to fit snugly then wrap the immobilizer around your knees, making sure you buckle it up.
Post-op Knee Brace with Locking Mechanism
Most post op knee braces are designed with adjustable hinges that helps you control how much your knee bends and flexes. The hinges are useful in the process of knee recovery since they control the movements of the knee depending on the stage of recovery. The hinges can be adjusted or completely locked to avoid unnecessary movements that could interfere with the recovery process of your knee. The following video will give you an idea on how it works:
These braces can be used once your doctor/surgeon/physiotherapist decides that it’s time to start moving your knee on a regular basis. These braces normally come with a “locking mechanism” that lets you control the flexion and extension in your leg. The locking mechanism is basically a combination of plates and notches that provide a wide range of motion, depending on the position you set the locks. The great thing is that they are dual-purpose, in the sense that they can act as a knee immobilizer (where you lock your leg in a straight position) or allow motion depending on your needs.
There are many types of these braces around, but one popular one is the Breg T Scope Premier Post-Op Knee Brace. This rehab knee brace can also be customized to fit different knee sizes and provides a great range of motion. It is easy to put on and adjust, and it also comes with additional features that ensure you remain comfortable while using it. One of those features is the drop lock that allows you to lock the brace in 5 different positions of knee extensions. This can be done with a simple push of a button. Another feature is the reinforced padding in the brace. This ensures you remain comfortable as it alleviates pressure from the area that was operated on.
- Universal and adjustable size, fits up to a 30.5" thigh
- Easy to use ROM hinge with quick-adjusting flexion and extension stops to control and limit knee flexion and extension
- Easy to use extension drop lock allows the brace to be locked out in 5 positions of knee extension with the push of a button
The straps are also easy to adjust making it easier for you to have the brace on in different positions. This hinged knee brace is also light enough to allow some level of mobility and reduce the time it takes to put it on. Although other features of the brace such as the clip buckles are easily adjustable, the bars are telescopic and stiff, which ensures that it works as it should in limiting mobility.
A Recap on The Benefits Of Using A Post Op Knee Brace
Wearing a post-op knee brace after undergoing an operation has numerous benefits which include:
- Controlling movement of the knee – as discussed above, you need to keep your knee still for a while so that the damaged tissues can recover properly. However, since the knee is not used to staying still you will always find yourself trying to move it which can interfere with the recovery process. However, by using a post op knee brace, you can completely lock your leg in place and prevent unnecessary movements. This is done by using a lock on the side of the brace:
- Supporting knee muscles and ligaments – the knee being one of the most active joints in the body requires some exercises so that it can recover quickly. However, after surgery, the knee muscles and ligaments are usually very weak and cannot bear any pressure. A brace helps a lot when exercising the knee since it offloads excess pressure which can cause further damage.
- Stabilizes the knee – after surgery, the knee joint is normally very weak and unstable and can barely support anything. However, wearing a post op knee brace helps in holding the parts of the knee joint in the proper position thus allowing the knee to recover quicker and faster.
Keep in mind that a post op knee brace is only useful if you buy the right one for your particular situation. It is advisable that you consult with your doctor to find out which one is the best for you. A perfect knee brace should be durable and also be made of light materials since a heavy one can cause more damage to your knee.
Hopefully you found this information useful and that it at least pointed you in the right direction. If you have any questions, or maybe you have experience and tips to share with others, just leave a comment below! We’d love to hear from you. Also, if you are considering surgery, you may want to get your hands on SimplyJnJ’s Cold Therapy Wrap with Compression (great for dealing with the swelling and inflammation):
- DESIGNED FOR THE KNEE - The gel packs and wrap were specifically designed to contour the knee area for a more focused treatment. Fits the left or right knee, up to 24 inches. (See sizing chart)
- REDUCE KNEE PAIN AND SWELLING - Our cold therapy wrap helps to reduce swelling, inflammation and pain caused by Arthritis, Runner's Knee, tendinitis, bursitis, meniscus / ACL ligament tears, knee...
- WHY COMPRESSION IS IMPORTANT - The added compression ensures that there is proper contact between the ice gel pack and the affected knee for a deeper treatment, compared to just using ice packs on...
Disclaimer – I am not a doctor and I am not qualified to provide medical advice. The information on post op knee brace and knee supports above was posted for informational purposes only and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Read full disclaimer.
Updated on 2020-01-19 -- Added additional information about knee immobilizers and suggested products.