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What is a Meniscus Brace?

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  • Written By: K.C. Bruning
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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A meniscus brace is a bandage that provides support for the knee while still allowing flexibility in the area. It is most frequently used to help compress nerve fibers and stabilize the area when one or both of the menisci, which are cartilage in the knee, are injured. The meniscus brace can also be used after knee surgery to enable faster and more effective healing. Braces typically come either as a soft, stretchable sleeve — which comes as a tube or with a Velcro® closure — or with hinges that sit on either side of the knee.

Which meniscus brace to use depends upon the severity of the injury. A simple, stretchable sleeve usually works best for individuals who only need compression on the area. Patients who require more support around the knee may get better results with a hinged brace. A hinge can also give the wearer greater movement control as it holds the knee in the proper position for optimum function.

The typical meniscus brace reaches from just above the knee to slightly below. A hole in the middle of the brace holds the knee in place. The most common braces wrap around the leg and are secured by at least two straps with Velcro® closures. Braces with hinges come in a variety of strengths, from heavy duty and durable to lightweight and flexible. Some braces also have a gel ring around the knee area for massage and extra compression.

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The meniscus is a piece of cartilage that rests inside the knee joint. It is in the shape of a crescent. Injuries to the meniscus range in severity from strains to severe tears.

There are two menisci; one sits on the outside of the knee and the other on the inside. When they are healthy, these two pieces of cartilage help to keep the body properly balanced on the knee. A damaged meniscus can cause extra strain on the body by disrupting that balance.

Injuries of the meniscus are most common among athletes and elderly patients with degenerative conditions such as arthritis. Many athletic injuries to the meniscus can happen simultaneously with tears in the medial collateral anterior cruciate ligaments. Meniscus injuries in the elderly, who have much more fragile cartilage, typically occur from a twisted knee or similar injuries sustained from a fall or improper balance. Athletes tend to favor the hinged brace design, while seniors usually get sufficient support from softer braces.

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SteamLouis
Post 3

@ysmina-- I agree with this. During the healing period, a brace with hinges is best. Some hinged braces are actually comfortable.There are ones with plastic hinges or metal hinges. I use one with a plastic hinge. It does limit movement a little bit but that's exactly what I need. It helps reduce the pain and inflammation caused by my meniscus.

ysmina
Post 2

@fBoyle-- Long after healing has occurred or for preventative purposes, most knee braces will be helpful. But if you've just had meniscus surgery and if the brace is meant to be therapeutic, you need a more specialized medical brace. Your doctor should be helping you with this. Ask him or her about the exact type of brace you should be using.

Most doctors will order a brace for their patients after surgery and will direct them about how to use the brace and for how long. Unfortunately, commercial braces aren't too great for therapeutic purposes. They are better for support and prevention after healing has completed but the knee remains a little weak.

fBoyle
Post 1

Is there a difference between a regular knee brace such as a patellar brace and a meniscus brace? I have a regular knee brace, can I use it for meniscus?

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