Basketball to Skiing: Best Knee Support for Your Winter Sport
For athletes who take part in sports in the winter, there are a wide range of activities to choose from. Indoor sports that take place in the winter include ice hockey, basketball, and volleyball; while outdoor winter sports include activities such as skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.
When it comes to performing at your best during the winter season, it’s important to stay healthy and safe. Whether you’re on the ice, the court, or the slopes, each winter sport has its dangers and potential for injury, which should be prepared for ahead of time.
If you’re looking for some protection and support heading into your athletic season, there are a few things you can do to stay safe and in peak performance. Some exercises for staying strong and avoiding injury include effective warm-up routines and cool down routines, stretching before and after play, and wearing the proper equipment for your sport.
When it comes to injuries in winter sports, one of the most common areas for ailments is the knee. This is often the case because of the intense pressure put on the knee, as well as the speed and directional changes required to perform in sports like basketball, skiing, and snowboarding.
To avoid the common knee injuries of winter sports, the following are some of the best knee support options for your winter sport:
Meniscus Injury Braces
The meniscus is a common location for injury in winter sports. There are two menisci, each small and rubbery and shaped like a letter c. This cartilage is located between the bones of the knee joint, and they often tear as a result of a bad twisting motion.
Meniscus injury braces offer mild to high protection and stabilization, but almost all designs are able to immobilize the knee joint to a certain degree. More basic braces use wraparound Velcro straps to keep the knee joint in place, while more intricate designs have very specific extension and flexion limitations.
Each of these braces helps to increase stabilization of the knee so that the knee joint is relieved of some of its pressure and the meniscus can heal more easily. There are various materials and designs available to help delay surgery, improve joint function, and offer the ultimate protection.
Knee Dislocation Braces
Another common knee injury in winter sports is that of a knee dislocation. This occurs when the bones of the knee joint separate, and the painful result is often caused by a twisting or sudden movement or from contact to the knee from the side.
The best braces for this type of injury are immobilizers, which help to keep the kneecap in a very specific position while the knee repairs itself. If you do not have any breakage but you’re experiencing pain or instability, these braces are ideal for aiding in proper healing.
All of the knee dislocation braces available will help with rehabilitation in their own way. Some options will keep the knee in an extended position with straps, while others will keep the knee at a slightly bent angle with a metal caging. Their purpose is to be a substitution for surgery as well as casting, but they may also be used in the weeks after surgery if necessary.
While some designs will make it impossible for an athlete to perform physical activity, other braces have a more mobile design that allows for comfort and full range of motion. The severity of the injury will dictate the level of immobilization needed.
Basic Knee Support
If you’re an athlete who is injury-free and you’re just looking for some extra support during your winter activities, there are definitely knee braces available to you and your needs.
Knee braces and supports for winter sports are available in all kinds of materials, shapes, and designs. More specific knee braces you might consider include latex-free braces, neoprene-free braces, and even waterproof braces.
The main goals of a basic knee brace are to help keep the knee joint and its muscles in their proper positions, and to offer full protection from aggressive tackles, directional changes, excessive use of the knees, etc. Wearing a knee brace can offer some warmth and compression to the area as well, which is ideal for keeping muscles warm, flexible, and injury-free.
If you or someone you know is going to be performing in winter sports this season, be sure to know a little bit about the common injuries in the sport and how to prevent them. Sports braces can often offer injury-specific models, but there are also more general models that might be ideal for injury prevention. Consider speaking to a sports medicine or family doctor ahead of time to find out what type of knee brace is ideal for your sport and personal needs.