ACL is one of the major and most important ligaments found in the knee. It is also susceptible to tear and injury. This kind of injury is common among athletes, particularly those playing sports which involve sudden changes in direction, stops, and jumping. ACL tear is a serious injury in the knee. If you have this, it becomes too painful and unstable for you to bear your own weight.
ACL tear can be treated in various ways, depending on the severity of the injury. However, in worst cases, reconstructive surgery is necessary. Patients undergo ACL knee surgery to fix their injury. This is followed by months of rehabilitation. After the rehabilitation, the athletes and other individuals who have undergone such reconstructive surgery will find themselves returning to their normal lives.
Many patients, particularly athletes, use knee brace to protect their knee from reinjury and to help them be quicker and stronger in doing functional activities like jumping, pivoting and running. So the question now is: should one wear a custom knee brace after ACL knee surgery?
There is no scientific data that supports this. It is true that wearing functional ACL brace helps protect the knee from twisting forces. It may also protect the implanted ACL graft particularly during the rehabilitation period. Some athletes feel more confident and safe when they are wearing a brace. They feel that it helps joint position and lowers their fear of reinjury. They believe that the ACL brace will prevent reinjury during the transition back to their normal lives and activities.
However, there is no scientific evidence that supports this belief. Based on scientific data, it is not yet proven that ACL brace help decrease the rate of reinjury. Not to mention the fact that the effectiveness of the brace diminishes as the activity levels increase.
Nevertheless, braces do increase the patient’s confidence in themselves, which psychologically helps them live and functionally normally again. Braces also protect healing tissues during the rehabilitation period.
Going back to the question, should one wear a custom knee brace? Yes, though it does not totally guarantee that you will be free from reinjury. Knee brace definitely helps in promoting a smoother and more efficient transition back to work or sport. In fact, in selected patients, ACL braces are prescribed as part of the rehabilitation program. They are advised to use ACL brace 3 to 12 months after the reconstructive surgery.
If you still have doubts whether to use custom knee brace after the ACL knee surgery, you can simply ask your orthopaedic surgeon. Make an appointment with our “knees only” orthopaedic surgeon so we can cater to your needs and concerns.