A garment used to protect that part of the foot which is usually prone to injuries is known as a foot and ankle medical brace. It is also useful in case of sportspersons as they are the most prone to injuries. Usually, knee and ankle braces are made of nylon or neoprene to allow limited locomotion and Velcro ensures an appropriate fitting. Sometimes, incorporation of metal plates permits enhanced immobilization.
Basketball, soccer and rugby players are easily susceptible to sprains during a game and hence use these medical braces to prevent injuries. Postoperative synovitis, joint immobilization, degenerative sprain and joint inflammations are some other medical conditions which shall not mind the usage of foot and ankle braces. However, not everyone is happy with the performance of these medical braces. The occurrence of skin irritations is common, and it should be understood that the purpose of the braces is to help improve the condition and not rectify it.
Knee braces: It helps provide comfort to an injured knee. The weight is warded off the painful knee, and hence some of the pain is alleviated. Knee braces are again of four types:
- Prophylactic: In case of contact sports, sports rehab doctors usually advise this to keep the knees safe.
- Functional braces: This is a relief provider for the already injured knees.
- Rehabilitative braces: These braces are used for knees already in the process of healing. They limit the movement of knees to a minimum.
- Patellofemoral braces: These braces are to assist smooth movement of the kneecap over the knee joint. Further injuries are avoided.
It is not necessary that the most costly braces shall serve its purpose in the best manner. Different knee problems require different types of knee medical braces.
Shoulder braces and slings: These medical braces provide support to the shoulder. The high risk of dislocation is reduced by decreasing the range of motion in a shoulder which is already injured. Shoulder braces and slings also provide a placebo effect.
Wrist support braces: Apart from wrist injuries, also responsible for carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury.