Do I Need a Custom Knee Brace?
One of the most common questions that our SportsBraces customer care team receives is, “Do I need a custom knee brace?” It’s actually a very good question because it is not something that most individuals have to deal with very often. It’s also not a process that most people are familiar with. So, we’ve put together some simple answers to our most commonly asked custom knee brace questions.
What Are the Differences Between Custom and Off-the-Shelf Knee Braces?
A non-custom brace, or off-the-shelf brace, is most often made from the same materials as its custom brace counterparts. If the custom brace is made from aluminum, then its off-the-shelf version is also aluminum. If the custom brace is carbon fiber, then its off-the-shelf version is carbon fiber. The quality of both brace versions is exactly the same, so don’t worry about whether you are getting a lower-quality brace for your condition if you go with the off-the-shelf model.
Why Does it Cost So Much More for a Custom Model?
The answer is simple: sizing. When you order a custom knee brace, a manufacturer representative takes the time to meet with you and take your measurements. Many patients have atrophy in their knee which causes one area to be smaller than normal. Some people have swelling due to surgery or some other medical condition. Those physical fluctuations may warrant a custom measurement so that a precise fit can be achieved. The brace is custom-created for your exact measurements and shipped out to you or the rep who did your fitting. Many times, the representative will come back out and ensure that the brace fits properly.
How Do I Know if I Need a Custom Knee Brace?
Measure your thigh, knee and calf circumference with your leg slightly bent. Always take a look at the off-the-shelf version of the brace. If your measurements fall within the same size (small, medium, large, etc.) on the chart for the thigh, knee and calf measurements, it is very likely that an off-the-shelf brace will work for you. It costs less money, so why go custom if you don’t have to?
The knee measurement is the most important for a precise fit. If your thigh or calf is slightly off or borderline to another size, an off-the-shelf brace may still work. Many times, we are able to slightly tighten the aluminum thigh or calf area by placing it on a carpeted surface and pushing the frame in or out slightly. If you can’t get it to fit, we can always exchange it for the custom version.
If your thigh measures large, your knee measures small, and your calf measures medium, it is absolutely better to start with a custom brace. A custom knee brace will always fit, but if there is an opportunity for an off-the-shelf brace to work, it’s better to start there.
What Is the Process for Ordering a Custom Knee Brace?
The custom brace ordering process is easy. As soon as you place your order online, we will contact the local manufacturer rep in your area and provide them with your contact information. Our SportsBraces.com custom brace representative will call and introduce themselves. They will be your point of contact through the process to ensure that your expectations are met. Then, you will receive a call from the manufacturer representative who will schedule a time and place to meet and take your custom measurements. Those measurements will be shared with the SportsBraces representative so the brace can be ordered.
If you want to receive a custom color or an additional product like an undersleeve, make sure to let your SportsBraces representative know. There may be an additional fee for those extra items. Usually, there is a turnaround time of 1 to 2 business days to get the brace created and out the door. If you are in a rush to get the brace quickly, SportsBraces can always send it overnight or via rush delivery.
Some manufacturers will allow a free brace resize in the first year. So if you had to get surgery, for example, and are concerned that your measurements may change, you have a failsafe. Make sure to ask your SportsBraces custom representative. There are many reasons to get a custom knee brace and many reasons to go with an off-the-shelf brace. Either way, the SportsBraces customer care team is here to make sure that you get the right product for you.