When it hurts to move one of your joints, you may find yourself restricting your activity and becoming sedentary. While this provides short-term relief, avoiding normal day-to-day activities is not something you want to do for long. Not only are you not doing the things you should, you’re not addressing the underlying problem: What’s wrong with your joint? And what can you do to get back on track?
The basics of braces
Before you try bracing as a solution for joint pain, consult your physician. He or she can help you decide whether this is a good idea and recommend the right type of brace. Although many different types of braces are available at your local pharmacy, a brace can also be custom-fitted for you.
If you have osteoarthritis (OA) in your knee , for example, a brace should stabilize your joint, preventing pain and further injury while still allowing you to move. Some braces have cutout areas in them to keep them from pressing on sensitive areas, and some are designed for compression, gently applying pressure to the affected area to prevent swelling after activity.
Braces may be made of different materials. Typically, they’ll consist of a combination of plastic, metal, elastic, foam and fabric.
Joint braces are normally classified by category:
These braces provide support to a joint weakened by an injury. They stabilize structures within the joint to prevent straining or tearing.
As the name sounds, a rehabilitative brace restricts motion of your joint to give it time to heal. These are often worn after surgery.
These braces are intended to prevent an injury or keep it from recurring and are frequently worn by athletes.
This type of brace works by shifting the stress off the painful side of a joint—usually a knee—to the healthy side. They’re sometimes worn by OA patients or those waiting for knee replacement surgery.
The design of these braces varies by type. For example, some knee braces have hinges that lock to prevent your joint from extending too far. Getting relief from shoulder pain may require a brace with straps that cross over your upper body to provide support. Back braces are often made of molded metal to keep your spine straight and help it heal from a fracture.
Will a brace work for you?
Whether bracing is the right solution for your joint pain depends on the area in question and the nature of the problem. For example, wrist braces have been shown to be helpful for those with carpal tunnel syndrome , and rehabilitative braces are known to be beneficial after surgery. Many people with OA find knee braces helpful in providing stability.
A brace can also be uncomfortable, and if poorly fitted, can apply excessive pressure on other parts of the body, irritate your skin or cause swelling.
For these reasons, it’s essential to consult with a joint specialist before bracing to determine whether it’s the best option for your condition, and if so, to ensure you get the proper fit. There may be other, better alternatives, or additional treatments you will benefit from which your doctor can discuss with you.
Don’t try to decide this by yourself. Contact Flexogenix right away to make sure you’re getting the optimal personalized treatment for your joint pain. You’ll discover whether bracing is a good solution, or if something else might be more effective. The medical pros at Flexogenix are dedicated to helping you find the solution that works best for your situation.