What does fact checked mean?
At SportsRec, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
Knee Braces to Limit Hyperextension
Knee hyperextension injuries can create a painful and temporarily debilitating situation for athletes and exercise participants of all levels. The damage from a hyperextended knee can leave a knee feeling unstable and susceptible to repeat hyperextension or dislocations. As a result, many individuals may choose to wear a knee brace to limit hyperextension. A functional knee brace is the type of brace that limits hyperextension.
Knee hyperextension can occur as the result of a fall or direct blow to the knee during sports, exercise or daily activities. A knee hyperextension occurs when excessive force is placed on the knee causing it to bend backwards outside of its normal range of motion. Mayo Clinic indicates knee hyperextension injuries are common in gymnastics, volleyball and basketball. Hyperextension injuries can lead to ligament and cartilage damage along with knee instability. A hyperextended knee can cause pain, swelling, bruising, limited range of motion and instability. Treatment includes rest, immobilization, use of crutches, physical therapy and possible surgical repair.
Functional Knee Braces
Functional knee braces are often given to an individual following a hyperextension of the knee. They allow an individual to return to athletic activity with a reduced risk of re-injuring the knee. They are often marketed as knee braces for individuals returning from injury and for those athletes with knee instability. Functional knee braces are available in custom sizes and pre-sized models. They are made of plastic and foam and are strapped around the thigh and calf muscles. They are often made in a hinge model, which allows for controlled movement of the knee.
Functional knee braces can be placed on a setting that reduces the occurrence of hyperextension of the knee joint. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, placing a functional knee brace on a 10 to 20 degree extension limitation can help reduce knee hyperextension. Functional knee braces are durable and suitable for participation in contact sports -- including football. They offer knee stability while reducing excessive stress placed on the knee during athletic participation. Athletes that use functional knee braces have reported a decrease in pain along with increased confidence and athletic performance.
The American Academy of Family Physicians also reports limitations when it comes to the use of functional knee braces. The hard shell of the functional knee brace can injure other players that come into direct contact with the brace. The American Academy of Family Physicians also reports athletes have to increase their energy expenditure to perform at the top of their game while wearing a functional knee brace.
- American Academy of Family Physicans; Knee Braces; Scott A. Paluska, MD; 2000
- Mayo Clinic; Hyperextended Knee; Edward R. Laskowski MD; March 16, 2010
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Knee pain: how to choose the right knee brace for your child. Updated October 10, 2019.
- American Academy of Family Physicians. Knee bracing: what works?. Updated May 11, 2017.
- Moyer RF, Birmingham TB, Bryant DM, Giffin JR, Marriott KA, Leitch KM. Valgus bracing for knee osteoarthritis: a meta-analysis of randomized trials. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2015;67(4):493-501. doi:10.1002/acr.22472
- Petersen W, Ellermann A, Rembitzki IV, et al. The Patella Pro study - effect of a knee brace on patellofemoral pain syndrome: design of a randomized clinical trial (DRKS-ID:DRKS00003291). BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2014;15:200. doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-200
- Squyer E, Stamper DL, Hamilton DT, Sabin JA, Leopold SS. Unloader knee braces for osteoarthritis: do patients actually wear them?. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2013;471(6):1982–1991. doi:10.1007/s11999-013-2814-0
Michelle Zehr started writing professionally in 2009. She has written on health, fitness, fashion, interior design, home decorating,sports and finance for several websites. Zehr possesses a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts in professional writing from Chatham University and a graduate certificate in health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania.