Knee injuries are among the most common orthopedic problems, and are all treated in similar fashion. Whether your injury is subacute from a fall, a twisting injury or direct impact, the first steps in treatment are always the same. The limb should be rested, elevated, ice applied and a compression dressing applied to reduce swelling. The other important component is taking anti-inflammation medication such as ibuprofen at least three times a day for a couple weeks. Most injuries will resolve on their own, but certain issues red flag the situation and mandate a medical evaluation.
When to See the Doctor
Certain factors require a knee injury to be evaluated by a physician. Of course an audible pop or cracking noise heard at the time of injury suggests either a fracture or cartilage or ligament tear. These will often swell and bruise immediately within thirty minutes of the injury. After the acute recovery, knees with soft tissue internal tears will often have a sense of slipping or instability. An unstable joint that seems to feel like it is wobbling in certain positions may have internal structural damage such as an anterior cruciate ligament tear. Knee pain with sense of instability must be evaluated, and used to require crutches with little weight bearing. Now, medical equipment is so advanced that standard knee supports are designed to be dispensed at acute care settings.
What Knee Brace is Necessary
When a knee is initially injured, and compression with reduced swelling are the goals, a simple knee sleeve or Durable Medical Equipment sold in most pharmacies such as ACE bandages or patellar cut-out sleeves are appropriate. When a knee remains unstable, a physician will need to order or dispense a knee support that promotes stability or prevents further injury. Immobilizer braces are used in the subacute phase to prevent painful movement of the joint, and relieve discomfort. Immobilizers should only be used short term, as they can promote poor circulation and blood clot formation. They are not appropriate for cases of simple knee arthritis where continued mobility is critical.
When a person with a knee injury has persistent pain, and/or instability, x-rays are done to rule out fracture, and then an MRI is requested to document the ailing anatomy. Regardless of diagnosis, physical therapy is initiated for all issues to either increase strength or promote mobility. Likewise, the anatomy derangement calls on specific braces. Now, universal knee braces with standard hinges that can be locked, opened, or set for certain ranges of motion have decreased the need and expense for a custom made Medicare approved knee brace. However, custom made knee braces are slimmer, have little fabric/neoprene allowing the skin to breathe, and do not need size adjustment each time they are applied.
The availability of numerous knee braces at medical supply companies both physical and virtual have increased access and consumer knowledge of options available everywhere.
About the author:
This article is penned by Lora Davis for ?Century Orthotics & Medical Equipment LLC who are a Cypress, Tx based company that deals in medical equipment. The company is a family owned local business that sells industry leading medicare knee brace and variety of orthotic equipment . Century Orthotics & Medical Equipment is committed to partnering with clients, caregivers, Home Health Agencies, Physical and Occupational Therapists and Practitioners to provide effective options for treatment.