Several factors should be considered when deciding if a custom knee brace is your best option.
1) What is your specific injury?
There are 2 categories of injuries where a custom knee brace is the best option:
a) Custom Knee Brace for Ligament Injuries
These provide support for a stretched and / or torn knee ligament because of its metal, carbon composite or titanium made frames and unique strapping designs. These braces often have several straps (4 or more) to provide the necessary support.
Common Knee Ligament Injuries Include:
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) – MOST COMMON
Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
Lateral collateral ligament (MCL)
Posterior collateral ligament (PCL)
b) Custom Knee Brace for Cartilage Injuries/Pain
These braces support the knee joint by reducing movement and “unloading (taking pressure off)” the affected part of the joint when necessary.
Common Cartilage Injuries/Pain Include:
Osteoarthritis (knee joint arthritis)
If your injury is mild, minimal pain is present and there is no ligament sprain / tear or cartilage injury then a non custom knee brace is more than sufficient.
2) What are the specific activities you plan to participate in?
The more strenuous the activity the more likely you will benefit from a custom knee brace. With any long and fast paced walking, jogging, jumping, twisting and pivoting activities to get maximum support a custom knee brace will be necessary. If you only plan on walking at a regular pace and not often, then a non custom knee brace is sufficient.
3) What are your measurements and knee structure?
Non custom knee braces fit the more “normal” shaped individuals better than the “not normal” shaped. For example, because non custom knee brace are built straight they don’t capture knee joint angle. This brace will better fit those individuals with a 0 degree thigh to shin bone angle. Also, non custom knee braces use a range within each size and individuals with larger thigh to calf ratios, or vice versa, won’t fit as well as more “normal” ratio individuals. With a custom knee brace many measurements are taken and a brace is made from those measurements so any questions of “normal” and “not normal” shaped individuals isn’t a concern. There may be a person out there that accurately fits into the measurements for an off-the-shelf knee brace, but a custom measured brace on this same person will always be more precise and fit more comfortably.
4) What is your budget?
Another factor to look at relates to cost. Custom knee braces can cost more than double when compared to non custom knee braces. Our custom knee braces are covered under private insurance plans but individuals with no insurance, cost may be a limiting factor when purchasing a custom knee brace. Contact us for more information and to help facilitate this process so you can be fully covered for your custom knee brace.
5) What is your experience with knee braces?
If you have a history of knee pain and have tried a non custom knee brace with little success, investing in a custom knee brace will provide a much better fit and is tailored more specifically to your activity.
Custom knee braces use a much more detailed system of measurements to create a perfect fitting brace. Custom knee braces have added features such as more color selection, frame alterations for comfort, added padding and stronger buckles to name a few. If you are looking for the best option for your knee a custom knee brace, properly measured will always be more comfortable and provide better support than a non custom brace.