Tips for Making Your Sports Braces Last
Sports braces have become popular tools used by athletes of all levels to stay at the top of their game. They help keep certain areas of the body healthy while still allowing the player to perform to the best of his or her abilities. It is the combination of safety and functionality that sells sports braces.
But someone has to take care of the braces, too, right? Though they are built to be long-lasting and sturdy, sports braces can and will deteriorate if they are not properly cared for. When this happens, they lose the safety and functionality that make them so useful. Here are a few tips to making your beloved braces last.
Washing is one of the most important aspect of making a sports brace last. These are pieces of equipment that can oftentimes stay on the wearer for an entire day. Needless to say, this leads to a few not-so-healthy side-effects that you will undoubtedly want to avoid.
With the amount of sweat and bacteria that these things absorb on a daily basis, it is an excellent idea to wash them regularly (about once or twice per week). This can be done with soap or laundry detergent and cold water. After a good scrub, let the brace air dry. Once this process is complete, you will be left with a clean piece of equipment that has been freed of the potentially-harmful bacteria stewing between your skin and the surface of the brace.
Sometimes, athletes will get paranoid about re-injuring themselves and will resort to not taking the brace off at all. Ever. This paranoia, coupled with laziness, is what can lead to harmful skin conditions. It can get extremely humid inside the brace — a perfect climate for bacteria to form. Braces should be removed at least once per day in order to give the skin a chance to breath, as well as to air out the inside of the brace.
It is important to only remove the brace if you know you are in a safe environment for the injury, as you do not want to risk an accidental re-injury. Returning home after a long day is the perfect time to give the brace — and your skin — a well-deserved break from all the compression and heat.
Braces come in all shapes and sizes. Some extend from the foot to the middle of the thigh, while others simply cover the knee. Additionally, they have different properties and components to them, which is why some require a degree of maintenance and regular inspection.
Sports braces often have screws and straps for increased mobility and adjustability. Specifically, for hinged knee braces, screws should be checked for tightness. Loose screws cause the hinges to also loosen, which defeats the purpose of the brace limiting wearer’s flexibility. Make sure all screws remain at the same level of tightness, so as to remain consistent in your rehabilitation.
Straps are also a popular feature in the world of sports braces. They help the wearer adjust the brace to make it more comfortable and more stable. They do not last forever, though. Make sure your straps are not ripping, which limits your ability to adjust the brace. This can cause the brace to no longer fit properly. A snug fit is a key element to any sports brace, making the straps a very important aspect. Damaged straps may mean that it is time for a new brace.
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If you take care of your equipment, they will take care of you. While they may seem like they are indestructible at first, due to their design and fit, they can and will wear out if certain steps are not taken to preserve them.
Washing, regular removal and maintenance or inspection are a few ways you can make your brace last. Failure to do these things regularly can cause a laundry list of disgusting and harmful side effects that no one wants to be a part of. Sports braces can help you get back in the game as soon as possible, but only if you do what you need to do to make them last.